Building Better Photonic Crystals

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Science  29 Mar 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5564, pp. 2399
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5564.2399

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Researchers are using self-assembly techniques to grow photonic crystals, devices in which a regular array of tiny holes or other features patterned into a material steer light beams exactly where researchers want them to go. By building such beam-steering devices into computer chips, technologists hope to simplify and speed the conversion of digital information from photons--used to carry data over communications networks--into electrons, which process information on chips.