A light database

Published: Wednesday 15 August 2001

A group of scientists at the University of Rochester, USA, have devised a simple system that can perform a database search of 50 items using light. Ordinary computers use electrons in their circuits to compute. A single pulse of light is generated with many colours. The pulse is split into tow identical pulses each half as powerful as the original one. One pulse goes into an optical element called the Oracle that shifts the phase of certain colours. The other pulse passes untreated. The two pulses are then combined and split again into two output beams. By analysing the output pulses, the researchers are able to determine the location of the item in the database ( www.osa.org/mtg_ conf/CLEO )

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