A team of scientists from the ITMO UNIVERSITY have published findings of their study in Advanced Optical Materials wherein they have described how insights into silicon nanoparticles can be gained using mining hardware.
For their study scientists first developed a three-dimensional dynamic model of an interaction between light and nanoparticles. They used a supercomputer with graphic accelerators for calculations. Results showed that silicon particles exposed to short intense laser pulses lose their symmetry temporarily. Their optical properties become strongly heterogeneous. Such a change in properties depends on particle size, therefore it can be used for light control in ultrafast information processing nanoscale devices.
Improvement of computing devices today requires further acceleration of information processing. Nanophotonics is one of the disciplines that can solve this problem by means of optical devices. Although optical signals can be transmitted and processed much faster than electronic ones, first, it is necessary to learn how to quickly control light on a small scale. For this purpose, one could use metal particles. They localize light efficiently, yet weaken the signal eventually causing significant losses. However, dielectric and semiconducting materials, such as silicon, can be used instead of metal.
Silicon nanoparticles are now actively studied by researchers all around the world, including ITMO University. The long-term goal of such studies is to create an ultrafast compact modulators for optical signal. They can serve as a basis for computers of the future. However, this technology will become feasible only once we understand how nanoparticles interact with light.
Scientists found that an electromagnetic disturbance caused by interaction between light and particles has a more complex structure. This leads to a light distortion, varying with time. Therefore, the symmetry of particles breaks and optical properties become different throughout one particle.
In order to create a tool to study processes inside nanoparticles, scientists from ITMO University joined forces with colleagues from Jean Monnet University in France.
Devices based on such nanoparticles may become basic elements of optical computers, just as transistors now are basic elements of electronics. They will make it possible to distribute and redirect or branch the signal.