The era of light-powered “optical computers” is fast approaching

Demand is increasing explosively for computers that can calculate and process large amounts of information quickly in recent times, as artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, drones and metaverse technologies are attracting attention as key industries of the future. However, solid-state electronic logic gates, which today serve as the brains of computers, have limited high-speed computing and data processing capabilities and have drawbacks in that they consume a lot of power. and generate considerable heat.

The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) have announced that their research teams, led by Dr. Yusin Pak of the Sensor System Research Center (KIST) and Professor Gun Young Jung from the School of Materials Science and Engineering (GIST), has developped an ultra-fast, high-efficiency optoelectronic logic gate (OELG) using organic-inorganic perovskite photodiodes.

The OELG has high speed and high efficiency characteristics; it uses light as the input signal, which demonstrates low physical energy loss and can only work with light energy without power supply. The research teams implemented a stacked perovskite optoelectronic logic gate. Two layers of perovskite thin films are stacked vertically like a sandwich and proved that the desired binary logic operation is possible by entering two lights of different wavelengths and intensities.

Since the perovskite optoelectronic logic gate can freely change the polarity of the photocurrent using light, it is possible to perform more than one logic gate operation result for the same input value. Therefore, compared to the existing logic gate which can only perform one logic operation on a single device, the new gate can implement the five different basic logic operations such as AND, OR, NAND, NOR and NOT. It allows the development of optical processors with high spatial efficiency and integration, because one logic gate can function as five logic gates.

Pak said, “Perovskite optoelectronic logic gates that perform multiple logic operations in response to optical input are expected to be used in the future for ultra-small, low-power universal optical sensor platforms.” Jung expected that “the optoelectronic logic gate developed through this research will be the result of optical computing R&D that realizes five basic logic operations in a single device, and will greatly contribute to next-generation optical communication, network optics and R&D in the field of health”.

– This press release was provided by the National Research Council of Science & Technology