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'photonic Transistor' Switches Light Signals Instead of Electronic Signals

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A photonic transistor demonstration using a Michelson Interferometer with a fring component separating mask placed between the beam combining optics and the viewing screen.

Researchers say a "photonic transistor" they're working on will be able to control light signals in optical interconnects similarly to electronic transistors.

Credit: techCYN

A*STAR Data Storage Institute researchers say they are developing a practical "photonic transistor" for optical interconnects that can control light signals similarly to electronic transistors.

The researchers note the most recent photonic transistor design is based on common semiconductor technology and offers high switching gain, low switching power, and high operating speed. The new design enables a switching gain of greater or equal to two, which means the output signal is more than double the strength of the input signal. As a result, the transistor can be cascaded, meaning the output signal from one photonic transistor is sufficiently strong that it can be split to feed several others.

In addition, the design consumes 10 to 20 times less power than conventional all-optical switching technologies and can operate at very fast speeds, according to A*STAR's Vivek Krishnamurthy.

The researchers now are working to experimentally realize their optical transistor. "Once we experimentally verify the prototype, we could further integrate it into large-scale optical switching systems for optical interconnects," Krishnamurthy says.

From A*STAR Research
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