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First Room-Temperature Germanium Laser Completed 80

eldavojohn writes "MIT researchers have built and demonstrated the first room-temperature germanium laser that can produce light at wavelengths suited for communication. This achievement has two parts: '[U]nlike the materials typically used in lasers, germanium is easy to incorporate into existing processes for manufacturing silicon chips. So the result could prove an important step toward computers that move data — and maybe even perform calculations — using light instead of electricity. But more fundamentally, the researchers have shown that, contrary to prior belief, a class of materials called indirect-band-gap semiconductors can yield practical lasers.' While these are only the initial steps in what may become optical computing devices, the article paints it as very promising. The painful details will be published in the journal Optics Letters."
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First Room-Temperature Germanium Laser Completed

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  • they were talking about photons supplanting electrons in the '80s. and it was supposed to be imminent, right around the corner

    AI, tablet computers, rocket cars, fusion power, natural speech computing:

    eternally 10 years away

    wake me up when it actually happens

  • yes, it would be (Score:4, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 05, 2010 @09:14AM (#31033620) Homepage Journal

    it would be cool. it would have no resistance. and it would be faster

    so no heat sink problems, it would run at much lower power levels, and optical computing would make today's fastest electronic computers look like a texas instruments calculator from the 1970s

    additionally, since we're running fibre everywhere today, there's no real interface/ translation between the photon on the line and the photon going into the processor, ideally. the promise is that the internet would become this woven intelligent network, soaring into the stratosphere in terms of speed, interconnectivity, intelligent routing, etc. it would really open up some amazing barely imaginable implications and avenues in terms of what the internet could possibly do. or maybe it would just mean 10^100 spams per picosecond ;-P

    assuming of course they tackle the bazillion fabrication issues facing the cheap, easy production of photonic computers. we're a long way away, but i hope to see a rudimentary setup before i kick the bucket

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