In Praise of the Photon

In Praise of the Photon

The human retina was totally designed to detect photons. And that makes sight. In fact, a rod cell in the retina can detect a single photon. It's incredibly sensitive.

Then we have photons shooting down tiny filaments of glass. That's fiber optic cable, which has revolutionized data connection speed on the internet. So a 1 Gig internet connection is now routine and cheap.

So what's the next frontier for photons? It's computing itself. Could photons replace electrons is computer chips? That would be truly amazing. Perhaps even more amazing that quantum computing. So if you want to build an optical computer the first thing you need to do is develop a photon logic gate.

Now a research group says they have done just that.. photon gates

And let's not forget Quantum Mechanics. Photons are spin 1 bosons, while electrons are spin 1/2 fermions. Meaning photons play by a whole different set of rules than electrons.

Content written and posted by Ken Abbott