Recently, researchers have developed a novel photonic switch capable of controlling the direction of light passing through an optical fiber. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, achieved the fastest optical switch that has never been achieved before. One-day “traffic cop” will revolutionize the way information travels through high-performance and data centers. The information is widely used for artificial intelligence and other data-intensive applications.
Traffic Cop When Connected to Optical Fiber is 10,000 Times Faster than Electrical Switch
It is for the first time that a silicon switch has reached the larger switches, which was until now only built using bulk optics. Ming Wu, senior author of the paper stated that the switch is not only large but it is also 10,000 times faster. He added by saying that it can switch data networks in different interesting ways. Until now, only one optic switch that controlled hundreds of light beams at once. It is built lenses or mirrors that are physically turned to switch the direction of light. The new photonic switch uses tiny integrated silicon structures, which goes off and on within a fraction of microseconds.
Data centers that stores videos, photos, and documents comprise of hundreds of thousands of servers. These servers constantly send information back and forth. Here electrical switch act as a traffic cop that sends information from one server to the target server and does not get lost on its way. But electrical switch generates a large amount of heat, which is now started to pose certain limits.
On the other hand, when server networks are connected to optical fiber, photonic switches will act as the traffic cop. The photonic switch requires very little power and do not release any heat. But current photonic switch can’t accommodate multiple connections. Moreover, it also faces the signal loss that dims light as it passes through the switch. This constraint makes the encoded data harder to read while it reaches its destination.