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Passive Optical Diode Created

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 12:09PM

There is a good chance that the data of Overclockers Club traveled through a fiber optic cable on its way to your computer. Before your computer could use the information though, it had to be translated from the photons, used in the cable, to electrons which computers understand. This extra and required processing slows the data transmission system and is a potential target to hackers. Researchers at Purdue University have devised a passive optical diode with the potential to replace the conventional devices used. This would allow a fiber optic cable to be connected directly to a computer, increasing both bandwidth and security.

The key achievement of the design is its one-way transmission. When photons enter it, they can either continue forward or be dissipated. This opens the door to directly processing the optical information. The researchers achieved this by using two rings of silicon and a waveguide. Light passes through the waveguide, which then directs the light through both rings, sequentially. Whether the light keeps going or is dissipated is dependent on which ring it enters first.

Large scale data transmission is not the only area which may benefit from this design, but also supercomputers. These computational giants have a great number of processors all linked together, and using optical instead of electrical transmission could greatly increase their performance.

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