Intelligent Machines

When Electron Met Photon

One of the largest bandwidth bottlenecks on the Internet occurs in the modulators and switches that translate the electrons used by computers into the photons that speed data through long-distance fiber-optic “backbone” lines. University of Washington, Seattle chemist Larry Dalton has found a way to accelerate this translation process with a new polymer. Modulators made from the polymer draw very little electrical power, are easy to integrate into electronic devices, and could improve communications speed tenfold. A new subsidiary of Microvision, called Lumera, owns an exclusive worldwide license on the polymer technology from the University of Washington; the Bothell, WA, outfit hopes to market polymer-based telecommunications devices in one to two years.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly magazine delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.