Researchers at Tomsk Polytechnic University, in collaboration with colleagues from the UK, have presented the physics concept of a new optical switch that causes light waves to change direction. In fact, it is a glass particle about 1 micron in size, with an unusual shape. It can find application in super-fast computers, which in the presentation and transmission of information will go from electrons to photons.
Work on the creation of an efficient optical quantum computer has been going on for several years in different countries of the world. However, while prototypes of such computers can solve a very limited range of problems. To create a photonic computer of applied value, it is necessary to solve many intermediate problems. In particular, to create an element capable of switching the signal at a very high speed, that is, changing the direction of light. In contrast to slow mechanical switches and crystal switches based on nonlinear effects, for which it is necessary to create new materials and control methods, scientists from Tomsk suggested using particles made of a dielectric material of a special shape. Their work is based on the “photon hook” effect, previously discovered by the authors of the study.
The essence of the effect is in the curvature of the light flux passing through a dielectric particle in the form of a cube with a prism attached to it. Scientists were able to show that changing the wavelength of light passing through a particle leads to a change in the direction of the “hook”. In other words, it is possible to “switch” the signal.
A series of experiments is currently being prepared to test the calculations in practice, which will be carried out in the UK.