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A Chip That Can Transfer Data Using Laser Light
NY Times ^ | September 18, 2006 | JOHN MARKOFF

Posted on 09/17/2006 9:58:03 PM PDT by neverdem

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 17 — Researchers plan to announce on Monday that they have created a silicon-based chip that can produce laser beams. The advance will make it possible to use laser light rather than wires to send data between chips, removing the most significant bottleneck in computer design.

As a result, chip makers may be able to put the high-speed data communications industry on the same curve of increased processing speed and diminishing costs — the phenomenon known as Moore’s law — that has driven the computer industry for the last four decades.

The development is a result of research at Intel, the world’s largest chip maker, and the University of California, Santa Barbara. Commercializing the new technology may not happen before the end of the decade, but the prospect of being able to place hundreds or thousands of data-carrying light beams on standard industry chips is certain to shake up both the communications and computer industries.

Lasers are already used to transmit high volumes of computer data over longer distances — for example, between offices, cities and across oceans — using fiber optic cables. But in computer chips, data moves at great speed over the wires inside, then slows to a snail’s pace when it is sent chip-to-chip inside a computer.

With the barrier removed, computer designers will be able to rethink computers, packing chips more densely both in home systems and in giant data centers. Moreover, the laser-silicon chips — composed of a spider’s web of laser light in addition to metal wires — portend a vastly more powerful and less expensive national computing infrastructure. For a few dollars apiece, such chips could transmit data at 100 times the speed of laser-based communications equipment, called optical transceivers, that typically cost several thousand dollars.

Currently fiber optic networks...

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Japan; News/Current Events; Technical; US: California
KEYWORDS: computerchips; intelcorp; silicon

1 posted on 09/17/2006 9:58:06 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
With the barrier removed, computer designers will be able to rethink computers, packing chips more densely both in home systems and in giant data centers.

As a former hybrid guy, my guess is the thermo-mechanical folks will have a big job to do.

2 posted on 09/17/2006 10:05:14 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are REALLY stupid.)
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To: neverdem
I wonder what the jihadists have invented lately.
3 posted on 09/17/2006 10:06:26 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The issue of whether cheap labor makes America great should have been settled by the Civil War.)
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To: Moonman62
I wonder what the jihadists have invented lately.

Double-bladed sword can kill raped sister and infidel at same time.

4 posted on 09/17/2006 10:09:01 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (The state board will meet in closed session to discuss whether it violated an open meetings law)
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To: neverdem

What's different about this relative to the normal read device for CD's, DVDs?


5 posted on 09/17/2006 10:09:31 PM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder (North Korea's Slogan: World Peace Through Hunger!)
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To: neverdem
Alternately we could stone women and wear robes.

6 posted on 09/17/2006 10:13:05 PM PDT by I see my hands (_8(|)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

Read devices for CD's and DVD's use a laser to read off of a spinning disc. This sounds like a new interface between computer chips, one which can be operated at a higher frequency (thus sending more data in less time) than current interfaces.


7 posted on 09/17/2006 10:31:47 PM PDT by Sofa King (A wise man uses compromise as an alternative to defeat. A fool uses it as an alternative to victory.)
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To: neverdem

bump


8 posted on 09/17/2006 10:36:58 PM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder; Sofa King

In traditional systems, signals are sent and amplified electrically, but here they are talking about replacing the electrical circuitry within the chips, and between chips, with light...atleast that's what I inferred from scanning the excerpt.


9 posted on 09/17/2006 11:40:48 PM PDT by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder
What's different about this relative to the normal read device for CD's, DVDs?

IMHO, CDs and DVDs are just storage devices for data. This stuff claims: "The breakthrough was achieved by bonding a layer of light-emitting indium phosphide onto the surface of a standard silicon chip etched with special channels that act as light-wave guides. The resulting sandwich has the potential to create on a computer chip hundreds and possibly thousands of tiny, bright lasers that can be switched on and off billions of times a second."

"In the past it has proved impossible to couple standard silicon with the exotic materials that emit light when electrically charged. But the university team supplied a low-temperature bonding technique that does not melt the silicon circuitry. The approach uses an electrically charged oxygen gas to create a layer of oxide just 25 atoms thick on each material. When heated and pressed together, the oxide layer fuses the two materials into a single chip that conducts information both through wires and on beams of reflected light."

This is a transmission interface between light and electricity, IMHO. My question is it in one direction or both? It appears both. I could be wrong.

10 posted on 09/17/2006 11:58:01 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: PatrickHenry; b_sharp; neutrality; anguish; SeaLion; Fractal Trader; grjr21; bitt; KevinDavis; ...
FutureTechPing!
An emergent technologies list covering biomedical
research, fusion power, nanotech, AI robotics, and
other related fields. FReepmail to join or drop.

11 posted on 09/18/2006 12:05:24 AM PDT by AntiGuv ("..I do things for political expediency.." - Sen. John McCain on FOX News)
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To: Carry_Okie

Ask my girly she's soldering metall to glas with a glas ceramic material... she can jsut add a magic oxide to the glass to make it breath with the chip... just give her institute 5 years and 16 million $ ;-)


12 posted on 09/18/2006 2:13:04 AM PDT by Rummenigge (there's people willing to blow out the light because it casts a shadow)
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To: Moonman62

A culture that covets death and destruction cannot create wealth and prosperity.


13 posted on 09/18/2006 3:06:03 AM PDT by Stallone (Dealing with Democrats IS the War on Terror.)
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To: neverdem

Intel announced this over a year ago.

http://news.com.com/Intel+unveils+silicon+laser/2100-1006_3-5577959.html


14 posted on 09/18/2006 3:29:58 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: Carry_Okie
"As a former hybrid guy..."

Hybrid computer?? I haven't heard that term in a few decades.

15 posted on 09/18/2006 5:04:12 AM PDT by norwaypinesavage
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To: neverdem
"But in computer chips, data moves at great speed over the wires inside, then slows to a snail’s pace when it is sent chip-to-chip inside a computer."

ARRRGGHHHH--dumb journalist. The data moves JUST AS FAST either inside the chip or in the wires outside the chip. The difference is that the distance to be traveled is greater, so it takes more time to get there.

16 posted on 09/18/2006 5:07:54 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder
My take on this is that within your computer it has two primary benefits:
  1. facilitate making data paths across a cpu

  2. facilitate communication of data from one chip to another, bypassing - probably eliminating - the motherboard.
It would appear that it could make distributed processing transcendently more practical than at present. You might abandon the concept of a "central" processing unit and make an array of smart RAM chips instead - each with its own on-chip processing capability, and each better able to communicate with each of the others than present electronic communication between the CPU and RAM chips on the motherboard.

You would package the chips in a 3-D array rather than restricting yourself to a plane. The only electrical connections would be dc power to the chips; you would pack the chips in a roughly spherical clump - as tightly together as heat dissipation requirements allowed.


17 posted on 09/18/2006 5:43:58 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (The idea around which liberalism coheres is that NOTHING actually matters except PR.)
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To: Right Wing Assault
Intel announced this over a year ago.

Perhaps they wanted to re-announce it to help the markets today, cause I think that's what's going to happen.

18 posted on 09/18/2006 6:24:44 AM PDT by marvlus
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

The interconnects between chips is the primary bottleneck in data transmission on a motherboard. When you use copper traces (the current method) you have to deal with transmission loss due to heat (higher resistance) as well as high frequency "crosstalk" between trace lines. Both are driving factors on board layout. Using light will eliminate both variable which should free up board designers to consider possibility they had once discarded because of interconnect problems.


19 posted on 09/18/2006 6:42:12 AM PDT by SkiHatGuy
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To: norwaypinesavage
Hybrid computer?? I haven't heard that term in a few decades.

Hybrid microelectronics. Multiple chips directly bonded to a ceramic substrate within a hermetically sealed package. The circuitry on the substrate is either screen printed (thick film) or deposited, plated, and etched (thin film).

20 posted on 09/18/2006 7:04:06 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are REALLY stupid.)
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To: Rummenigge
BeO?
21 posted on 09/18/2006 7:04:58 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are REALLY stupid.)
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To: Carry_Okie

naaa it can't be that easy - I bet you have to melt up a whole cocktail off stuff to tailor the glass ceramic to the steel used... but I am not an expert in these things.


22 posted on 09/18/2006 7:16:31 AM PDT by Rummenigge (there's people willing to blow out the light because it casts a shadow)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
facilitate communication of data from one chip to another, bypassing - probably eliminating - the motherboard.

Oops, my computer is down... I'll have to go in and blow out the dust...

23 posted on 09/18/2006 7:32:32 AM PDT by CommandoFrank (Peer into the depths of hell and there you will find the face of Islam...)
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To: Right Wing Assault
Intel announced this over a year ago.

http://www.intel.com/pressroom/archive/releases/20060918corp.htm

24 posted on 09/18/2006 8:19:35 AM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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To: neverdem

Sonds like they are doing the transmitter---one direction---here.


25 posted on 09/18/2006 9:02:54 AM PDT by strategofr (When a man speaks of his strength, he whispers his weakness---John M. Shanahan)
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To: CommandoFrank
"Oops, my computer is down... I'll have to go in and blow out the dust..."

Nah--fiber optics (shades of "Stargate-SG1" with all those cute (but BIG) light-transmitting cables).

26 posted on 09/18/2006 9:42:28 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: neverdem
Good stuff...BBC article:

'Sticky' silicon could speed data

And:

Intel unveils laser breakthrough

27 posted on 09/18/2006 9:52:52 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (History is soon Forgotten,)
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To: neverdem
Posted this from Warketwatch:

Intel researchers claim chip breakthrough: WSJ

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Researchers at Intel Corp. and the University of California, Santa Barbara, are claiming a breakthrough in creating lasers on computer chips, a development that could lead to sharp reductions in the cost of ultrafast data communications, according to a media report Monday.

***************************

Closing statement:

"This hybrid approach addresses the last major hurdle," The Journal reported Paniccia as saying. "We now have all the building blocks."

28 posted on 09/18/2006 1:08:04 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (History is soon Forgotten,)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Thanks for the links.


29 posted on 09/18/2006 1:30:57 PM PDT by neverdem (May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows that you're dead.)
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