TPU scientists have demonstrated the effectiveness of a new optical switch for superfast computers: Search

09/20/2022

Scientists from the Tomsk Polytechnic University, together with colleagues from the Institute of Design and Technology of Applied Microelectronics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, experimentally demonstrated the effectiveness of the new optical switch. It is a diffractive element based on an off-axis zone plate and allows changing the direction of light waves. In the future, such a switch may be used in superfast optical computers. This work was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research. The results of the study are published in the journal photonics (Q2; SE: 2,536).

Creating an efficient quantum computer is a task that scientists around the world are working on. Its peculiarity is that the data will not be transmitted by electrons, but by photons – quanta of light. In this technique, it is important to change the signal at high speed, that is, to change the direction of the light. This requires efficient optical switches that do not use mechanical switching.

The variant of the optical switch proposed by Tomsk Polytechnic University scientists is a small off-axis Wood’s zone plate of several wavelengths in size. Their work is based on the “photon hook” effect, an artificial bending of a light beam using particles of a dielectric material.

“We carried out experimental studies of one of the variants of the prototype of this type of switch. The experiments were carried out in the millimeter wavelength range, which is of interest for 5G-6G communication systems, as well as serving as a scale model of an optical switch. The achieved characteristics proved the effectiveness of their work. Janus particles made of a special dielectric material affect the change in the wavelength of light. When the wavelength of light passing through the particle changes, the direction of the “hook” changes That is, there is a rapid switching of the signal, which consists of a change of direction”, comments the project manager, a professor in the Electronic Engineering Department of the School of Non-Destructive Testing and Security Engineering of the TPU. Oleg Minin.

The optical switch proposed by the polytechnic has a number of advantages compared to similar devices currently being developed. It has sufficient switching speed, does not require the creation of new special materials and control methods, does not require the use of metals and mechanical scanning devices.

Tomsk Polytechnic University Press Service

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