Dr. Nader Engheta uses complicated composites called metamaterials to make computers that operate with light, rather than electricity. Boundary conditions are set by the phases and magnitudes of the light shining into a block of dielectric material with a carefully crafted distribution of holes, and the light that leaves the device solves the family of equations. "Even at this proof-of-concept stage, our device is extremely fast compared to electronics," Engheta says. "With microwaves, our analysis has shown that a solution can be obtained in hundreds of nanoseconds, and once we take it to optics, the speed would be in picoseconds."
The research was supported by the Basic Research Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering through its Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowship program and by the Office of Naval Research through Grant N00014-16-1-2029.
The full article is available at: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-03/uop-ped031319.php