Each 10-[micro]m-wide S-SEED device, the optical equivalent of an electronic transistor, can turn on and off a billion times a second, AT&T says.
In a separate project, Hinton, one of the S-SEED inventors, is using the chips to make a telephone switching machine compatible with fiber optics.
The S-SEEDs have found many uses, both inside and outside Bell Labs.
Companies such as Honeywell Inc., Minneapolis, are buying S-SEEDs (which cost $14,000 per 32- x -64-element array), hoping to speed up their electronic products by connecting chips and processing units with light instead of wires, Hinton says.
Inside the optical processor are Symmetric Self-Electro-optic Effect Devices (S-SEEDs).
Again, the S-SEEDs are used as either logic devices, or memory cells, or crosspoints switches.