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Category: Computers

‘Silicon Photonics’ is the Future of Electronics

Written on August 02, 2010 by Adam Eve

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Intel made another innovation by creating "Silicon Photonics." This fiber optic technology can replace the copper wiring in device-to-device networking. One day, this can replace the electronic system, and something that tech-lovers should look forward to.

has reached a milestone in its efforts to replace wiring with light. This was done by creating a stable, 50Gbps - link between two devices. The “ ,” that is theoretically scaled to , is the basis for an interconnecting fiber optic device-to-device and wide-area networking. This innovation can be used one day to replace the copper interconnects in electronic system. Research conducted by the UC Santa Barbara, and the developer of hybrid silicon lasers, is one of the key innovations that drives this .

How It Works

Using a unique process, they bond the Indium phosphide to Silicon with a carefully etched gratings to form waveguides. By merely manipulating the pattern, designers were able to create variable-wavelength solid state laser emitters.

The light emitted from these tiny lasers is guided by waveguides, and modulated by silicon modulators. Separate channel are mixed together and sent in a single fiber optic cable. The composite light is unmixed into separate wave lengths on the receiving end, and fed in different photodetectors for decoding. A single chip includes the entire transmit-and-receive modules with aligning pins, connecting the fiber on each end.

Four hybrid silicon lasers of different wavelengths is used for current implementation. Each is encoded at 12.5Gbps for a total of 50Gbps. The link was tested continuously for 27 hours, transferring over a petabyte of data with an error rate less than 3e−15.

The increased number of lasers operating at distinct wavelengths and encoding speed are used to scale the bandwidth. Intel believes that a 1Tbps speed is possible. To give you an idea, imagine that you can transfer a whole HD feature length film in less than a second at 50Gbps. You can move up to three seasons of Law and Order series, or download the entire Library of Congress in less than two minutes with 1Tbps. Great, isn’t it?

The company is planning to make a volume production of this technology, and deploy it by 2015.

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