A soft photopolymer cuboid that computes with binary strings of white light
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Next-generation stimuli-responsive materials must be configured with local computational ability so that instead of a discrete on-off responsiveness, they sense, process and interact reciprocally with environmental stimuli. Because of their varied architectures and tunable responsiveness to a range of physical and chemical stimuli, polymers hold particular promise in the generation of such "materials that compute". Here, we present a photopolymer cuboid that autonomously performs pattern recognition and transfer, volumetric encoding and binary arithmetic with incandescent beams. The material's nonlinear response to incident beams generates one, two or three mutually orthogonal ensembles of white-light filaments, which respectively self-organize into disordered, 1-D and 2-D periodic geometries. Data input as binary (dark-bright) strings generate a unique distribution of filament geometries, which corresponds to the result of a specific operation. The working principles of this material that computes with light is transferrable to other nonlinear systems and incoherent sources including light emitting diodes.
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