Small Size, Big Speed

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Something smaller than the width of a human hair could make computers faster and more energy efficient, thanks to a team of electrical engineers from UT Arlington and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Led by professors Weidong Zhou of UT Arlington and Zhenqiang Ma in Wisconsin, the researchers have devised a 2-micrometer-tall laser for on-chip optical connections. The laser has a vastly lower profile than current versions, which could make it cheaper and easier for manufacturers to integrate high-speed optical data connections into the microprocessors powering the next generation of computers. The research findings, published in Nature Photonics in July, have received worldwide attention.

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