Integrated optics

Among the most recent applications of quantum optics have a prominent place the miniaturization techniques of circuits in which optical elements are inserted on the same substrate. Complete computers have been experimentally produced in which the signals traveling in the arithmetic, logic and memory circuits are not electrical signals, but light signals. Semiconductor lasers, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), light modulators, and photodetectors of microscopic size have been produced for this purpose.

Miniaturized components for integrated optics are made of different materials. The light-beam guiding functions of modulation and detection can be integrated on the same element by means of hybrid thin-film technologies used to produce hybrid integrated circuits. However, the future of this interdisciplinary field of optics, electronics, and computer science lies in the development of optical circuits in which all functions can be realized on the same material, such as gallium arsenide; monolithic integrated circuits are produced in a similar manner.

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