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May 20th, 2005
One day our electronic technology, which is based on the manipulation of electrons, could be supplanted by photonics, which is based on the manipulation of light waves (photons). If the promise of photonic technology is realized, the high-speed processing and movement of data today will seem so sludgelike, people of the future will wonder how we ever got anything done. Photonic technology is still a long way down the road but the goal is a few steps closer now.
Scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley, working with free-standing, chemically synthesized nanowires and nanoribbons, have been able to guide pulses of laser light through a variety of complex structures. They have even, for the first time ever, been able to send those pulses within a liquid.
“I think we could soon be seeing commercial application of nanowires and nanoribbons in areas that require less integration, such as sensing and energy conversion,” Yang said. “However, for applications that require a high level of integration, it will take much longer.”
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