Optical Computing Definition | What Is Optical Computing

In this article, You’ll learn what Optical Computing is, advantages of optical computing, and how does it work.

What is Optical Computing?

Optical Computing is also known as optoelectronic computing and photonic computing. It’s a computing technology used to make a computer that completely relies on photons instead of electrons to do computing. Because electrons are taking bigger sizes, photons are incredibly small and increase potential computing power. 

How does Optical Computing work?

The working principle of Optical Computing is similar to traditional computers with electrodes, but the major difference can be seen in the operations performed in Optical mode. Photons are generated by LEDs, lasers, and other previously used devices for electrons. So it’s easy to understand the working process of Optical Computing.

Any information sent from the keyboard, mouse or other devices goes to the Optical Computing processor, and the processor sends the information through logic gates and switches to be programmed. 

And the information is sent through different optical fiber cables based on its final location. Some information is sent to holographic memory and saved. Once the information is saved, it’s going to the program to execute by sending a request to the processor. The processor responds to a request and sends a signal back to the processor to show the task completed.

What are the Advantages of Optical Computing?

The demand for Optical Computing emerged from the fact that the time response limits traditional computers, and in this fastest-growing world, technology must be growing. There are numerous other benefits of Optical Computing:

  • High density, small size, low junction heating, high speed, dynamically scalable and reconfigurable into smaller/ more extensive networks, massively parallel computing, and AI applications. 
  • One of the major advantages is a high speed, but apart from the speed, Optical Computing can save from electrical short circuits and electromagnetic interference.
  • They’ve low-loss transmission and large bandwidth, so it’s easy to allow them to communicate multiple channels simultaneously without any interference. Optical Computing can transmit signals without any interference and is more convenient than magnetic materials. 
  • Optical Computing data processing can be done parallel more easily and cheaper than electronic data processing. It means optical computers can perform multiple operations simultaneously without any workload. Electronic computers are sequential and process data one by one, but Optical Computing can do parallel work faster by using different wavelengths.
  • Optical materials have better accessibility and storage density as compared to magnetic materials.
  • The light speed in the photonic circuit will be close to light speed in a vacuum.
  • There’s no power loss even after excessive heating.

How much faster is Optical Computing?

Optical computers can replace traditional transistors with optical switches to operate more quickly because photons travel at the speed of light. Optical switch transistors operate between 100 to 1,000 times faster than traditional transistors. Optical Computers will become a new generation of computers that works based on light instead of electricity in upcoming years. The optical transistor is very useful in maintaining coherence between caches in the CPU.

And, there are numerous benefits of optical switch because it can act as a component for optical data or as an amplifier with a gain factor of up to 23,000. One of the major reasons for its high performance is, Optical Computing requires low energy and no bulky cooling elements.

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