Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Signal control with light frequencies

12.03.2014

In a review article in Nature Photonics Ferenc Krausz and Mark Stockman discuss the prospects, recent experimental and theoretical findings open for the future of signal processing

Light waves have the potential to boost the efficiency of conventional electronics by a factor of 100,000.


In the future it might be possible, that electric currents (green) will be switched with the frequencies of light waves (up to the peta-hertz region) that are bouncing on a chip. (Graphic: Christian Hackenberger, MPQ, Attosecond division)

In a review article that appears in “Nature Photonics” on March 14th, Prof. Ferenc Krausz of the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) at the Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and his co-author Prof. Mark Stockman of Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta describe how this vision may one day come true.

In their scenario, one would exploit the electric field of laser light to control the flow of electrons in dielectric materials, which, in turn, may modulate transmitted light and switch current in electronic circuits at light frequencies. Visible light oscillates at frequencies of about 10 to the 15 cycles per second, opening the possibility of switching light or electric current at rates in this range.

And since both signals can also carry information, innovative optoelectronic technologies would enable a corresponding increase in the speed of data processing, opening a new era in information technology. The authors review the novel tools and techniques of attosecond technology, which may play a crucial role in making the above advances actually happen.

Light is likely to become the tool of choice for controlling electric currents and data processing. After all, its electric field directs the behavior of electrons, which are the stuff of electric current and encode the information in our computer and communications networks. The ability to manipulate electrons with light would open up a new era by permitting switching rates of 10 to the 15 per second, for light waves oscillate at frequencies of that order.

But turning this vision into a reality will require essentially perfect control over the properties of light waves. In a new review article in Nature Photonics, Ferenc Krausz and his American colleague Mark Stockman (a specialist in solid-state physics) discuss their visionary concepts and point to possible ways of achieving this goal.

Their ideas are based on initial theoretical and experimental investigations which suggest that the oscillating electric field of light may switch electric current (doi:10.1038/nature11567) and modulate light (doi:10.1038/nature11720) flowing in and transmitted/reflected by solid-state devices, respectively (Nature, 3 January 2013).

This type of interaction between optical fields and electrons provides the technical basis for the field of attosecond physics, and has made it possible for the first time to observe the motions of electrons within atoms in real time, with the aid of attosecond light flashes. An attosecond is a billionth (10 to the minus 9) of a billionth of a second, in other words 10 to the 18 times shorter than a second. Moreover, one can precisely mold the shape of these attosecond flashes (i.e. how their intensity varies with time), provided one has exquisite control over the behavior of the lasers that produce them.

In their article, Krausz and Stockmann describe the techniques that have been developed to accomplish this feat. A more detailed history of attosecond physics is available on LAP’s homepage: http://www.attoworld.de/Mainpages/Attoworld/index.html#279).

The new issue of Nature Photonics also includes a report on the latest work done by Prof. Krausz and his team, in collaboration with Mark Stockman and Vadym Apalkov from GSU. They have shown that the current generated in an insulating material (silica) by the electric field of an intense and ultrashort laser pulse provides information about the precise waveform of the pulse that produced it (doi:10.1038/nphoton.2013.348, Nature Photonics, 14 March 2013). This finding represents the first step towards the realization of a detector that can visualize the shape of light waves, just as an oscilloscope “reproduces” microwaves.

This breakthrough means that attosecond technology is at least on course to extend the domain of electron metrology into the optical frequency range. Whether or not this will lead to a corresponding increase in signal processing rates remains an open question. “Our goal is to develop a chip that allows us to switch electric currents on and off at optical frequencies. This would increase rates of information processing by a factor of 100,000, and that is as fast as it gets.” The published experiments are still in the realm of basic research. But the scientists have begun to breach the limits of conventional electronics and photonics, thus opening the route to a far more efficient, light-based, electronics. Thorsten Naeser 

Original publications:

Ferenc Krausz und Mark I. Stockman
Attosecond metrology: from electron capture to future signal processing, Nature Photonics, 14 March 2014, doi:10.1038/nphoton.2014.28

Tim Paasch-Colberg et al.
Solid-state light-phase detector, Nature Photonics, 14 March 2014, doi:10.1038/nphoton.2013.348

Agustin Schiffrin et al.
Optical-field-induced current in dielectrics, Nature, 3 January 2013, doi:10.1038/nature11567

Martin Schultze et al.
Controlling dielectrics with the electric field of light, Nature, 3 January 2013, doi:10.1038/nature11720

For more information please contact:

Prof. Ferenc Krausz
Chair of Experimental Physics, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Laboratory for Attosecond Physics
Director at the Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics
Hans-Kopfermann-Straße 1
85748 Garching, Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89 / 32 905 -600
E-mail: ferenc.krausz@mpq.mpg.de

Thorsten Naeser
Munich-Centre for Advanced Photonics
Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics
Phone: +49 (0)89 / 32 905 -124
E-mail: thorsten.naeser@mpq.mpg.de.de

Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng
Max-Planck-Institute of Quantum Optics
Press & Public Relations
Phone: +49 (0)89 / 32 905 -213
E-mail: olivia.meyer-streng@mpq.mpg.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.attoworld.de/Mainpages/Attoworld/index.html#279

Dr. Olivia Meyer-Streng | Max-Planck-Institut

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches
25.05.2018 | Universität Ulm

nachricht Supercomputing the emergence of material behavior
18.05.2018 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>