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Better 'photon Loops' May Be Key to Computer and Physics Advances


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University of Maryland, Harvard University, and U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) researchers are close to developing a method for steering photons accurately through microchips, which could lead to more efficient information processors and eventually quantum computing.

Though it is easy for scientists to send photons hundreds of miles through fiber-optic cables, it has been much harder to design a system that can send photons just a few nanometers across computer chips. "We run into problems when trying to use photons in microcircuits because of slight defects in the materials chips are made from," says NIST researcher Jacob Taylor.

The researchers used multiple rows of resonators to build alternate pathways into the delay devices, which allow the photons to easily find their way around the defects. "We hope these devices will allow us to sidestep some of the problems with observing the physics directly, instead allowing us to explore them by analogy," says NIST researcher Mohammad Hafezi.

From National Institute of Standards and Technology
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