(Optics&Photonics) A lightning-fast electro-opto-mechanical switch developed by a team of researchers in Switzerland, the United States and Sweden reportedly could substantially advance a number of emerging optics- and photonics-based technologies, including quantum computing.
The ability of the new opto-mechanical switch to route high-speed optical data streams might find more immediate use in supercomputers, but it also provides great potential for optical computing including one day optical quantum computing. “Current optical quantum technologies—including the vision of realizing an optical quantum computer—are in need of classical phase-shifting elements that are compact and feature low energy consumption,” says project leader Christian Haffner of the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the University of Maryland, USA, and ETH Zurich. “Prior-art optical switches, he notes, suffer from large energy consumption, are bulky and the heat they produce can reduce the purity of the quantum state. “Implementing our switches in these applications could overcome these limitations enabling quantum circuits of larger complexity,” Haffner says.