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Optical Chip Self-Configures to Perform Various Functions


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A microscope image of the chip.

The optical chip is based on a quadrilateral Mach–Zehnder interferometer network and is easy to reconfigure for various functions.

Credit: Jianji Dong/Huazhong University of Science and Technology

A team led by researchers at China's Huazhong University of Science and Technology developed a self-configuring optical chip that could be used in applications requiring optical neural networks.

The chip features a network of Mach–Zehnder interferometers arranged in a quadrilateral pattern and can configure itself to perform optical routing, low-loss light energy splitting, and positive real matrix computations.

Adjusting electrode voltages produces different light propagation paths in the quadrilateral network, allowing the chip to be reconfigured.

Said Huazhong University's Jianji Dong, "Our new chip can be treated as a black box, meaning users don't need to understand its internal structure to change its function. They only need to set a training objective, and, with computer control, the chip will self-configure to achieve the desired functionality based on the input and output."

From Optica
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