VOLKER STEGER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY VOLKER STEGER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Optical computing. Coloured light micrograph of a section through a hybrid electronic-optical circuit board. Optical waveguides (red) are used to transmit data in the form of light pulses. This allows data transfer at faster speeds than is possible through the electronic connections of an ordinary printed circuit board (PCB). Such an increase in data transfer speeds is required to take full advantage of the processing power of the fastest microchips, the calculating components at the heart of a computer. The optical waveguides are 0.001-millimetre-wide plastic strips. This technology has been developed by Siemens and the University of Paderborn, Germany.
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