Electron movements form the basis of electronics as they facilitate the storage, processing and transfer of information. State-of-the-art electronic circuits have reached their maximum clock rates at some billion switching cycles per second as they are limited by the heat accumulating in the process of switching power on and off.
The electric field of light changes its direction a trillion times per second and is able to move electrons in solids at this speed. This means that light waves can form the basis for future electronic switching if the induced electron motion and its influence on heat accumulation is precisely understood. Physicists from the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics at the MPQ and the LMU already found out that it is possible to manipulate the electronic properties of matter at optical frequencies (Nature, doi: 10.1038/nature11567, Nature, doi: 10.1038/nature11720, both published 5.Dezember 2012).