Skip to comments.A Chip That Can Transfer Data Using Laser Light
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 Moores law that has driven the computer industry for the last four decades.
The development is a result of research at Intel, the worlds 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 snails 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 spiders 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 ...
As a former hybrid guy, my guess is the thermo-mechanical folks will have a big job to do.
Double-bladed sword can kill raped sister and infidel at same time.
What's different about this relative to the normal read device for CD's, DVDs?
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.
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.
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.
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 $ ;-)
A culture that covets death and destruction cannot create wealth and prosperity.
Intel announced this over a year ago.
Hybrid computer?? I haven't heard that term in a few decades.
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.
My take on this is that within your computer it has two primary benefits:
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.
- facilitate making data paths across a cpu
- facilitate communication of data from one chip to another, bypassing - probably eliminating - 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.
Perhaps they wanted to re-announce it to help the markets today, cause I think that's what's going to happen.
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.
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).