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In an effort to make computer chips even faster than those of today, many researchers have recently been investigating the possibility of optical computing. In an optical computer, information is encoded as photons rather than electrons, allowing large amounts of data to be processed simultaneously. But before an optical computer can be realized, researchers need to design a 3D structure that can sufficiently manipulate light. Electronic computers switch electric current on and off using semiconductors with band gaps for electrons, in which electric current is forbidden to pass through. By analogy, optical computers are expected to require optical semiconductors with photonic band gaps, in which light of a range of wavelengths is forbidden to pass through.

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