Engineers from Stanford University have designed a device capable of splitting a beam of light into different colors using an ‘optical link’ that has the potential to replace computer wires and use optics to transfer data as opposed to electricity.
The engineers developed the optical link using a small slice of silicon, referred to as a silicon prism, that has been etched with a specific, bar-code-like pattern. The etching on the silicon prism is created using an algorithm developed by the team to design, build, and test for link compatibility. As the beam of light shines onto the optical link, it is then split into two different colored wavelengths.
“Light can carry more data than a wire, and it takes less energy to transmit photons than electrons,”