Roland Piquepaille writes "Today, we're using basically two ways to move data in our computers: transistors carry small amounts of data and are extremely small, while fiber optic cables can carry huge amounts of data, but are much bigger in size. Now, imagine a single technology combining the advantages of photonics and electronics. This Stanford University report says a new technology can do it: plasmonics. (For more about plasmons, read this Wikipedia article.) Theoretically, it is possible to design plasmonic components with the same materials used today by chipmakers, but with frequencies 100,000 times greater than the ones of current microprocessors. There is still a challenge to solve before getting plasmonic chips. Today, plasmons can only travel a few millimeters before dying, while today's chips are typically about a centimeter across. Read this overview for more details and references about plasmonics, and to discover why it's one possible future for chips' circuitry."
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