Switch on quantum computing, thanks to Canadian researchers. (News Briefs/Nouvelles en Bref).
"This switch allows a photon -- the smallest unit of light -- to influence the flow of other photons in the same way that transistors inside a PC control the flow of electrons," says Aephraim Steinberg, physics professor and co-author of a paper published in Physical Review Letters last fall.
"It will be necessary if future generations of computers become reliant on photons instead of electrons."
Steinberg, along with PhD students Kevin Resch and Jeff Lundeen, discovered the switch when they shone one strong beam and two weak beams of light on a special optical crystal. When two photons -- one from each weak beam -- approached the crystal simultaneously, they collided and prevented each other from passing through, thereby switching each other off. When a single photon shot out from only one beam without another photon to switch it off, it passed through the crystal unimpeded. "This allows us to manipulate photons so they can transmit data in a computer -- a task that was previously almost impossible," Resch says.
"By using a switch to manipulate photons, optical transistors can be created which could pave the way to a new generation of quantum computers and solve problems that traditional computers would have difficulty with," Resch says, including database searches and the ability to crack codes on the Internet. "This switch might serve as the fundamental basis needed to turn quantum computing into a reality," Steinberg adds.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||at the University of Toronto|
|Comment:||Switch on quantum computing, thanks to Canadian researchers. (News Briefs/Nouvelles en Bref).(at the University of Toronto)|
|Publication:||Canadian Chemical News|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2002|
|Previous Article:||Syncrude sees growth in 2002. (News Briefs/Nouvelles en Bref).|
|Next Article:||Getting your computers talking to each other. (Chemputing).|