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For the first time, scientists at IBM Research have demonstrated a complex quantum mechanical phenomenon known as Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC), using a luminescent polymer (plastic) similar to the materials in light emitting displays used in many of today's smartphones.

This discovery has potential applications in developing novel optoelectronic devices including energy-efficient lasers and ultra-fast optical switches—critical components for powering future computer systems to process massive Big Data workloads. The use of a polymer material and the observation of BEC at room temperature provides substantial advantages in terms of applicability and cost.

IBM scientists around the world are focused on an ambitious data centric exascale computing program, which is aimed at developing systems that can process massive data workloads fifty times faster than today. Such a system will need optical interconnects capable of high-speed processing of Petabytes to Exabytes of Big Data. This will enable high-performance analytics for: energy grids, life sciences, financial modelling, business intelligence and weather and climate forecasting.

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