The transistor is an electronic device that is used to control the flow of current in a circuit. For example, the metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET), one of the most popular types of transistor, can be used to regulate current by applying an electric field to the MOSFET’s gate, changing the device’s conductivity. Researchers think that photonics platforms—emerging technologies that perform computations using light—could also benefit from transistor-like devices, but ones that control the propagation of electromagnetic waves. Now, Sylvain Lannebère of the University of Coimbra in Portugal and colleagues predict a transistor-like response to light from a 3D nonlinear metamaterial subject to a static electric field . These devices could be used for fast information transmission and computation via photons.
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