Superfast optical switch for future lidar systems developed: Page 3 of 3

November 20, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Superfast optical switch for future lidar systems developed
Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich have developed an electrooptomechanical "switch" for light beams that is significantly smaller and faster than today's models. This is relevant for self-driving cars - and perhaps even for optical quantum technologies.

To this end, the switches could be used in optical neural networks that are modelled on the human brain. There they would then be used as weighting elements with which the network "learns" to recognize certain objects.

Optical implementations of circuits which normally work with electric current, are also a hot issue in other areas. For the realization of quantum computers, for example, optical quantum circuits are intensively researched. So far, optical quantum circuits have been supported by classical optical switches.

However, this works only slowly and in the long run is incompatible with the low temperatures at which other quantum elements usually function. A fast switch that practically doesn't heat up at all - like the one developed by Swiss researchers - could therefore be most welcome for such applications.

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