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IBM’s First ‘Holey Optochip’ Can Transfer One Terabit Of Information Per Second

Researchers at IBM have developed a prototype optical chipset which they call ‘Holey Optochip.’ Holey Optochip is the first parallel optical transceiver which is able to transfer 1 terabit of data per second. Guys! 1 terabit of data per second means equivalent of downloading 500 High Definition (HD) movies in a second or the entire U.S. Library of Congress Web archive in an hour. Engineers are trying to manufacture it in high volumes for commercial implementation.


IBM continuously was giving effort to use light rather than electrons over wires to transmit massive amounts of data. The chip they used was a standard 90nm CMOS chip. They drilled 48 tiny holes at the back of this chip. By drilling the holes, it allows access for 24 receiver and 24 transmitter channels. Each receiver and transmitter channel was capable of moving 20 gigabits of data per second. And at the end, the product was able to move 960 gigabits (nearly 1 terabit) of data per second. The Holey Optochip is capable of data transfer at up to eight times speed compared to present parallel optical components. It means, it is able to transfer 30,000 HD movies each minute. Only a single chip can transfer the entire Library of Congress in just one hour. The chips are powered by less than 5 watts of electricity.

IBM said, “The Holey Optochip module is constructed with components that are commercially available today, providing the possibility to manufacture at economies of scale. Consistent with green computing initiatives, the Holey Optochip achieves record speed at a power efficiency…that is among the best ever reported… The transceiver consumes less than five watts; the power consumed by a 100 watt light bulb could power 20 transceivers. This progress in power efficient interconnects is necessary to allow companies that adopt high-performance computing to manage their energy load while performing powerful applications such as analytics, data modeling, and forecasting.”

The company plans to show off its research on the new chip at the Optical Fibre Communication Conference in Los Angeles today. For more information, click here

Source : IBM, Image Credit : IBM

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