|Optics and Photonics|
The work is exciting because insulators that can quickly change into conductors (and back into insulators again) could be used for signal switching. Today's fastest semiconductor switching is measured in terahertz, but light-induced switching in insulators, such as demonstrated in these papers, could work at petahertz rates—more than 10,000 times the rate of current electronics. In the near-term, it could also make possible petahertz (1015 hertz) metrology.
Optics an Photonics: Ultrafast Light Turns Insulator into a Conductor, Yvonne Carts-Powell