An international group of researchers has demonstrated a way to transport electrons at the speed of light. The latest discovery might pave the way for data processing and computing in the future.
The team consisted of researchers from the University of Konstanz, the University of Luxembourg, CNRS-Université Paris Sud, the Center for Materials Physics, and Donostia International Physics Center in San Sebastián, Spain. In their research, the group had set up an experiment to manipulate ultrashort light pulses at femtosecond scales below a single oscillation cycle. Moreover, they created nanostructures that are suited for highly accurate measurements when it comes to manipulation of electric charges.
As you might already know, contemporary electronic components can be switched on and off within a fraction of second. As a result, the researchers’ methods would provide highly accurate results. The group used a specific type of laser that was able to push out one hundred million single-cycle light pulses every single second in order to generate a measurable current. This enabled the scientists to switch electric currents under a femtosecond or less than the time required for half an oscillation of electric field.
The researchers expect that their demonstrations regarding the fast oscillations of light will help to push discovery in the field of quantum computing. As present day’s computing systems have their limitations, plasmonic nanoparticles and optoelectronic devices could help us to overcome these limitations to pave ways for quantum computing in future.
Apart from that, the scientists are expecting that the study might open up opportunities for others to understand how light interacts with condensed matter that would enable observation of quantum phenomena on new temporal and spatial scales. At the moment, the group is set to investigate ways to transport electrons at atomic time and length scales in even more sophisticated solid-state devices with picometer dimensions.