In the long run, such photonic circuits could help us approach or even overcome the generally accepted limits in computing. Theoretical work in photonic information processing shows that light can be converted to heat and vice versa, which opens up some remarkable opportunities for all-optical energy storage — essentially. are photon-generated batteries — and alternative computer architectures.
Many of these projects are still happening primarily in the academic sector, but we are slowly moving towards building larger scale, fully integrated systems. If we can keep thinking about how these ideas can be integrated into complete computer systems, the coming years will see even more advancements than traditional chips and towards a variety of computers.
Starting in July, Prineha Narang is the Howard Reiss Chair Professor of Physical Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles (and 35 Innovators Honored in 2018).