Researchers already knew that metamaterials could manipulate visible light waves and force them to act in new ways, not possible under the laws of nature. That, however, led scientists to groundbreaking advancements like super-high-resolution imaging. Now, scientists from UMass Lowell, King’s College London, Paris Diderot University, and the University of Hartford came up with a new metamaterial to harness the power of the light.
The new material can actually tune itself to change the color of light, and, someday, this technology could make optical on-chip communication in computer processors a reality, which can make possible the development of smaller and faster processors with a broader bandwidth and higher data storage.
“Today’s computer chips use electrons for computing. Electrons are good because they’re tiny. However, the frequency of electrons is not fast enough. Light is a combination of tiny particles, called photons, which don’t have mass. As a result, photons could potentially increase the chip’s processing speed,” explained Professor Viktor Podolskiy from the Department of Physics and Applied Physics.
New Metamaterial That Harness The Power Of Light Might Lead To On-Chip Communication
According to Podolskiy, on-chip communication would soon substitute old copper wiring that is now common in silicon processors. That on-chip communication would make possible the chip-to-chip optical communication and core-to-core communication inside the same CPU.
“The end result would be the removal of the communication bottleneck, making parallel computing go so much faster. The vast majority of everyday objects, including mirrors, lenses and optical fibers, can steer or absorb these photons. However, some materials can combine several photons together, resulting in a new photon of higher energy and of a different color,” said Podolskiy.
“The enhancement comes from the way the metamaterial reshapes the flow of photons. The work opens a new direction in controlling the nonlinear response of materials and may find applications in on-chip optical circuits, drastically improving on-chip communications,” the researcher added.