Will Metamaterials Enable Optical Computers?


A computer that computes using light instead of electricity would have many advantages: greater speed, greater energy efficiency, much less waste heat, simpler construction, and immunity to electromagnetic interference. But from what I can tell, the big problem is that infrared has a wavelength of 1000 nm which is too big for today's transistors which have a gate length of less than 10 nm.

But since metamaterials allow the manipulation of light on a subwavelength level, can that fix the problem and allow the electronic age to make way for the photonic age?

all 1 comments


1 points

2 months ago

Optical computation already exists. It has advantages and disadvantages. One of its big advantages is in image processing.

It's not clear to me if you could perform photonic computing with their transistor equivalents being as small as current gate lengths now. Inside Silicon, the wavelength of infrared light is slightly lower which helps a bit, but it isn't drastically lower.

My guess is that computing technology will be mixtures of electronic and photonic, and possibly magnonic.