The mantra of our electronic age has been 'faster, smaller, better' for over two decades now. Today, computer lies at the very core of our society. As we try to squeeze more from a silver of silicon, the cost of chip making has become prohibitively expensive. Chip barriers are now down to three or four atoms apart. So far the ride has been good, but at some point, something has to give.
At that point, incremental approach to silicon technology would not be enough - we will need a new approach. Many new technologies abound, but the most promising among them is the use of light.
An Optical Computer is a hypothetical device that uses visible light or infrared beams, rather than electric current, to perform digital computations.
An electric current flows at only about 10 percent of speed of light. By applying some of the advantages of visible and/or IR networks at the device and component scale, a computer can be developed that can perform operations very much times faster than a conventional electronic computer.