An international team of researchers has developed and tested optical molecules which could be used in components to make the next generation of the internet faster.
The team from Washington State University (WSU), the
The molecules were synthesised by chemists in
‘To our great excitement, the molecules performed better than any other molecules ever measured,’ said WSU physicist Mark Kuzyk.
In 1999, Kuzyk discovered a fundamental limit to how strongly light can interact with matter. He went on to show that all molecules examined at that time fell far short of the limit. The newly developed molecules break through this long-standing ceiling and are intrinsically 50 per cent more efficient at converting light energy to a useable form than any previously discovered.
The new design parameters call for a molecular structure that increases a property known as the ‘intrinsic hyperpolarisability,’ which reflects how readily electrons in the molecule deform when the molecule mediates the merger of two photons into one, an action which is the basis of an optical switch.
Kuzyk said that for use in optical switches or other products, the molecules would probably be embedded in a clear polymer that would provide structural assets such as the ability to be formed into a thin film or into fibres, moulded into other shapes or used to coat circuits or chips.