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World's smallest laser cracks open the door to THz CPU race

Vlad Savov

So you thought 100nm was about as narrow as lasers could get, huh? Well think again brother, because scientists at Norfolk State University have now demonstrated a 44nm 'spaser' that performs a laser's functions by the alternative means of surface plasmons. By using such an unorthodox technique, the researchers have been able to overcome the minimum size limitation to lasers, and they even claim spasers could be made as small as 1nm in diameter. Peeking into the (not too near) future, this could improve magnetic data storage beyond its current physical limits, and even lead to the development of optical computers that "can operate at hundreds of terahertz" -- and here you were, thinking that your brand spanking new Core i7 system with Blu-ray was future-proof.

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