The Buggy Future Of Computer Chips

The Buggy Future Of Computer Chips

Amazonian beetles, to be more precise. Researchers have long understood that if they could produce a photonic crystal, a diamond-like structure that would allow light to be shunted around inside instead of electricity, that they would be able to make superfast optical computers that used little power and wouldn't generate heat the way your current chip does. They could even envision the structure necessary, they just couldn't produce it. But then someone noticed that the iridescent scales of a lowly beetle had the structure they were seeking all along.

When the researchers scoped the scales, they noticed something strange: No matter the angle of viewing, the scales always appeared in the same shade of green.

That's unusual for iridescent surfaces, which derive their color from light refracted through semi-transparent layers. Further study revealed that the quality came from the scales' molecular arrangement, which had the same pattern as the atoms of carbon in a diamond.

Diamonds themselves are too dense to serve as photonic crystals, but researchers long ago identified their configuration as perfectly suited for manipulating light in a three-dimensional space.

"You can take the light, criss-cross it and it doesn't interfere. It allows you to build more complex and compact architectures," said Paul Braun, a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign photonic crystal specialist. The crystals' transmission purity would also eliminate waste heat generated by traditional electron-based circuits. That heat is a limiting factor on traditional microchip capacities.

So perhaps in the future you'll be able to put a big horseshoe magnet on the side of your computer tower, but you won't be able to shine a flashlight into the case. OK. As always: faster, please.
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 Super optical computers would really be soemthing. Let's hope this is a breakthrough that doesn't break our pockets....and that is highly improbable

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Were you able to make sense of it?  Hah, the article mostly blew my mind.  But at least I picked up that they are looking for ultra fast computing.  And that the green of beetles helps somehow.  Seems like a red herring. 

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It's not about the color, but about making transistors and circuit paths for light. They are hoping to glean some knowledge on how to do this from the naturally occurring scales on the beetle.

This is excellent news. I certainly hope they can figure out how to utilize this.

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Crisis Causer:

Were you able to make sense of it?  Hah, the article mostly blew my mind.  But at least I picked up that they are looking for ultra fast computing.  And that the green of beetles helps somehow.  Seems like a red herring. 

 

 

Sorta, I think instead of using electricty to pass data around it will pass thru light, like digital audio aka toslink cable or like verzion fios.

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Whatta ya think 10 years before it's introduced to the market. Wow I hope so that would be truely sweet. Think about it this way it is 3d completely which would actually mean it was 3d to the 3rd power which would mean 27 if my calculation is right. So 27 times the power of a quad core zeon processor which would be 108 x 4gigs which is 432% 17280 gig cpu with almost no energy use. Can you say turn it down it's so bright it's burning my eyes.

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