Recently we reported about Russian scientist being arrested for mining Cryptocurrency using supercomputers at the Federal Nuclear lab at Sarov,  a major military research center located in Western Russia.

Soon after that fellow researchers from ITMO University have claimed to find that silicon particles exposed to short and intense laser pulses lose their symmetry temporarily. Therefore, its optical properties become very heterogeneous.

Scientists were reportedly conducting experiments on the optical properties of silicon nanoparticles using equipment generally used in the mining of digital tokens to perform mathematical calculations. The analysis was done based on findings from the size of the particles and their refractive index.

These findings published in the journal Advanced Optical Materials determine that silicon can be used to control light in nano-scale devices for ultra-fast information processing

The person in charge of the laboratory that is carrying out experiment commented that they used devices with graphic accelerators that are usually used to mine cryptocurrencies. He mentioned in a humorous way that they preferred to enrich the world with knowledge instead of enriching themselves

We proposed analytical methods to determine particle size and refractive index, which could provide a change in optical properties. Subsequently, with powerful computational methods we trace the processes within the particles.

Our colleagues did calculations on a computer with graphical accelerators. These devices are generally used for cryptocurrency mining. However, we decided to enrich humanity with new knowledge, instead of enriching ourselves. What is more, bitcoin rate just started to fall then.

Sergey Makarov 
Head of the Laboratory of Hybrid Nanophotonics and Optoelectronics, ITMO University

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