Researchers have demonstrated how neural networks and synapses in the brain can be reproduced using special glass fibers made that are sensitive to light, known as chalcogenides.
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Using conventional fiber drawing techniques, microfibers can be produced from chalcogenide glass based on sulfur that possess a variety of broadband photo-induced effects, which allow the fibers to be switched on and off.
This optical switching or light switching light, can be exploited for a variety of next generation computing applications capable of processing vast amounts of data in a much more energy-efficient manner.
In the proposed optical version of this brain function, the changing properties of the glass act as the varying electrical activity in a nerve cell, and light provides the stimulus to change these properties. This enables switching of a light signal, which is the equivalent to a nerve cell firing.