Research project could help create computers that run on light

Attosecond technology -- tech that enables light pulses to be fired every billion-billionth of a second -- could be the key to making computers that run on light. A team of physicists at the University of Bath in the UK are to carry out research into this high frequency technology which could potentially bust through the upper limit of Moore's Law. The ultimate aim of the research is to find a way of manipulating light waveforms into different shapes, and expanding the area known as "photonics" (in other words, getting light to usefully convey information). Currently it's only possible to create lightwaves in a conventional sine form: the hope is to create waves that are square or triangular, which have far greater value for communication within a computer. The fine details of the research project go way above our heads, but it's safe to say that it involves a bunch of crystals, fibres, and friggin' lasers (minus the sharks). Right now attosecond tech isn't the only platform that looks to light to solve problems like Moore's Law's limit: check out previous posts where we look at condensing light for super storage, using lasers to boost computing power, and slowing light to create photonic computers. From where we're sitting, the future of computing is full of light: whether or not that light is full of hot air is still unconfirmed.