Glass to power superfast computers

Glass of tea, Wikimedia CommonsScientists at the universities of Cambridge, Southampton and Surrey believe they’ve cracked a glass problem that has eluded researchers for decades.

They say they have made a breakthrough using amorphous chalcogenides, used in CDs and DVDs, that will allow the creation of all optical computer systems.

Dr Richard Curry, project leader of the team, said: “The challenge is to find a single material that can effectively use and control light to carry information around a computer. Much how the web uses light to deliver information, we want to use light to both deliver and process computer data.”

He said the team shows how a widely used glass can conduct negative electrons as well as positive charges, meaning that pn-junction devices can be made.

The team thinks that its research will be integrated into computers within a mere 10 years.  But the glass is already being manufactured and used for a memory technology called CRAM.