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Can we develop computer chips that run on light?

Illustration by Sarah Rieke

Just beyond the horizon of practicality, researchers are trying to develop a new generation of chips that would control photons as reliably as today’s chips control electrons. Jelena Vuckovic has already devoted some 20 years to this pursuit for a simple reason: Photonic chips could become the basis for light-based quantum computers that could, in theory, break codes and solve certain types of problems beyond the capabilities of any electronic computer.

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