Scientists at Duke University said they have created an ultrafast light emitting device that can switch on and off at 80 billion times a second.
And this, they said, could well form the basis of very fast optical computing.
Scientists have known for a while of the concept using lasers but they need too much energy and they’re not suitable for integrating into chips.
At Duke, researchers made semiconductor quantum dots emit light at over 90 billion gigaherz and they believe the “plasmonic” device could form the basis for optical computing chips.
The team is working to sandwich a single quantum dot in the gap between a silver nanocube and gold foil – the quantum dots are six nanometres wide and create a directional efficient emission of photos that can be switched on and off.
They explained that when a laser shines on the surface of a 75 nanometre silver cube, free electrons oscillate together and create their own light.
Gleb Akselrod, a postdoctoral researcher at Duke said that the scientific community has shown interest in replacing lasers with LEDs for short distance optical communications. Akselrod said the team has made an important step towards solving these problems.