The transition of thinking from the use of all-optical logic arrays, to optoelectronic smart-pixel arrays, within digital information processing is described. Detectors with low conversion energies and fast modulators, developed from devices originally intended as bistable elements, now provide one of the technologies being pursued for the optics-electronics interface. The key advantage provided by optics is the huge bandwidth off-chip (THz); electronics provides high density locally interconnected (on-chip) logic devices. Applications that exploit this combination are being sought. One possible area is in the sorting of data sets, where non-local interconnections between stages and modest logic functionality per stage, are required in order to implement fast algorithms. The expected performance of a smart-pixel sorting module, such as that under construction by the Scottish Collaborative Initiative in Optoelectronic Sciences (SCIOS) is summarized. The move from all-optical to hybrid technologies does not eradicate the need for further advances in materials and in the processing control of materials with nonlinear optical (electro-absorption and electro-optic) responses. © 1996 IOP Publishing Ltd.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Pure and Applied Optics: Journal of the European Optical Society Part A|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 1996|