New Advances in Excitonics Promise Faster Computers


By Dario Borghino in Gizmag, October 1, 2009

Much of today's research in electronics is geared towards obtaining faster computing and higher communication speeds. Researchers at UC San Diego are no exception, and have recently announced they have made another important step towards achieving exciton-based computation at room temperatures. Excitonics exploits the unique properties of excitons instead of the usual electrons, and promises much faster performance by interfacing more naturally with optical communications such as fiber optics.

The findings were published in the advance issue of the journal Nature Photonics, and are a follow-up on the team's previous work on the subject, in which they demonstrated an exciton-based integrated circuit working at 1.5 K (around -272 °C), a temperature that can only be achieved in specialized research laboratories.

This time, the team managed to build an integrated circuit operating at temperatures of 125 K (about -148 °C). While this is still far from the general idea of warm, it is nonetheless a big step towards the ultimate goal of making exciton-based devices work at room temperatures. Temperatures around 100 K are, in fact, within the reach of a much broader community of researchers, because they can be easily reached with commercially-available liquid nitrogen.

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