Researchers Develop Optical Device For On-Chip Communication, Closer to Supercomputers!

IBM, Intel and NEC have aligned forces and At the International Solid-State Circuits Conference scheduled for February next year, their top researchers will be discussing ideas of how to make mainstream products with optical chip-to-chip interconnections. Optical chip-to-chip interconnections are not exactly the freshest apples in the basket, as the problem has been tackled before in an attempt to make backplane technology a reality.

Recently however this research has led to new ideas in the field, regarding the role of embedded optics for chip-to-chip communication on printed circuits boards. IBM seems to have picked things up where they were left off with Germanium Avalanche Photodector – which is a component able to receive optical information signal at 40GB/sec and multiply them tenfold using a mere 1.5V supply. Now the company has unveiled its latest creation a new chip technology, integrating electric and optical devices. And it all comes in one piece of silicon. IBM thinks that this technology will be able to enable one million trillion calculations per second.

“The major factor limiting supercomputers today is the speed and bandwidth of communication between the individual superchips in the system,” Varghese said. “Our optical diode may be a component in optical interconnect systems that could eliminate such a bottleneck.”

The technology has been baptized CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics and it wants to revolutionize the way chips communicate.

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