Ultrafast laser pulses can speed up computers 100,000 times

Any computer can run 100, 000 times faster than it is now if it uses a new type of "electricity" in it. An international team of researchers from the University of Michigan has proven the possibility of moving individual electrons using ultrashort laser flashes, instead of electric current. The research could lead to the emergence of completely new light-wave electronics and the creation of a quantum computer.

Silicon-based semiconductor technology has long been exhausted. In fact, we got to the physical limits of these systems. The density of the components and the number of operations in the chip are so great today that if you send an electron "with a task" to the target, then it often collides with a colleague. This generates the release of energy in the form of excess heat and negates all efforts to further miniaturization - instead of orderly movement, we get chaos.

But you can go for a trick, make the electron move so fast that it will outstrip a negative event. This is quantum mechanics - imagine that two cars did not collide at an intersection, because at the calculated moment the accident was already far from it. Of course, new difficulties arise, so for now we are talking about a discovery in the field of fundamental physics, and not about applied technology.

The true reason for jubilation among scientists is different. To "push" an electron, it is pumped with energy, by means of femtosecond pulses from a terahertz laser, to the level of separation from the nucleus and the beginning of movement along the atomic bonds of the crystal. This laser turned out to be so fast that it was possible to capture and hold an electron between two energy states. The quantum effect, as it is, is not simulated, but in reality.

The working name of the technology is "light-wave electricity". In addition to replacing semiconductors, it is going to be used to optimize chemical reactions and create quantum cryptography tools.