[extropy-chat] Taiwan

Dan Clemmensen dgc at cox.net
Fri Apr 1 02:16:27 UTC 2005

Mike Lorrey wrote:

>I was under the impression we were going to shift to photonic circuits
>within 3-5 years. That alone is a huge reduction in size and power
>requirements. What gives?
This is a very common misconception.

Photonic circuits are bigger than electronic circuits, because photons are
bigger than electrons.

The photons we know how to manipulate easily are visible (850nm) and
infrared (1300nm and 1500nm.)  We cannot easily manipulate higher-frequency
photons: the semiconductor industry abandoned the effort to use 157nm 
for lithography for the next generation.

By contrast, the electrons are "small." they can be treated as being 
localized to
about 10nm before quantum tunneling becomes a serious issue (if I recall 

Photons are superior to electrons in several important ways, but circuit 
size is not
one of them. chip-to-chip electronic connections require high power to 
capacitance. There is a speed at which it will take less power to 
convert the signal
to light, and that speed is rapidly approaching.

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