The new technology could pave the way for faster, more powerful computing systems and network infrastructure. "Light based integrated circuits could lead to radical changes in computing and network chip architecture in applications ranging from smartphones to supercomputers to large data centres, something computer architects have already begun work on in anticipation of the arrival of this technology," said Milos Popovic, assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in US.
    
Traditional microprocessor chips - found in everything from laptops to supercomputers - use electrical circuits to communicate with one another and transfer information.
    
In recent years, however, the sheer amount of electricity needed to power the ever-increasing speed and volume of these data transfers has proven to be a limiting factor.
    
To overcome this obstacle, the researchers including Rajesh Kumar also from CU-Boulder turned to photonics, or light-based, technology. Sending information using light rather than electricity reduces a microchip's energy burden because light can be sent across longer distances using the same amount of power.