The “light sail” – a spacecraft powered by the pressure of photons streaming from a handy star – might still be science fiction, but researchers in the US have demonstrated that photons can flip switches at the nano scale. The University of Minnesota research published in Nature Communications (abstract here) describes a nano- …
This is a big deal
Could the development of this technology be as important as the development of the transistor?
What's the switching speed like?
I know these things are initial proof of concept devices, but they must have done the maths to at least estimate how fast they could make these things. The best I can see from the abstract is just over 1MHz in one of the pictures. Anyone know the actual figure?
Can I haz Terabit Ethernet?
It has moving parts!!!! Why not use a Raman ring amplifier? We have been using those for ages now, our fibre-multiplexers can operate purely in the photon world without the use of "nano relays"
Not just sci-fi
The “light sail” – a spacecraft powered by the pressure of photons streaming from a handy star – might still be science fiction, but researchers in the US have demonstrated that photons can flip switches at the nano scale.
It's become science-fact, albeit on an experimental basis.
Best advance in science...
It's probably not that new, but the "Contributions" section of the abstract is my favorite part.
I used to look at the authors list on technical papers and wonder just how involved all 3248 of the authors could have been. This gives a better idea of which people did the heavy lifting, who rode along on the coattails (um yea dude, I'm like really busy the term, so...), and who was the supervising PhD who got their name on the paper all for having three meetings with the grad students over the course of a semester.
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