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IBM optical chip heading into standard manufacturing

IBM have been working on new optical communications advances. They are due to outline today how this is possible with a standard 90 nanometer semiconductor manufacturing process. ZDnet posted an article on this today which makes for interesting reading.

IBM have called the technology ‘silicon nanophotonics’ which they outlined in a 2010 proof of concept paper. Silicon Nanophotonics uses pulses of light to communicate and moves large data volumes rapidly.

An angled view of the IBM silicon nanophotonics chip. The blue optical waveguides are transmitting high-speed optical signals. Yellow copper wires carry electrical signals. Credit: IBM

IBM are saying that the technology will be used in servers, supercomputers and datacenters. IBM released information claiming that the breakthrough could be used to strengthen big data cases.

A paper was presented by Dr Solomon Assefa at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM): “The first sub-100nm technology that allows the monolithic integration of optical modulators and germanium photodetectors as features into a current 90nm base high-performance logic technology node is demonstrated. The resulting 90nm CMOS-integrated Nano-Photonics technology node is optimized for analog functionality to yield power efficient single-die multichannel wavelength-mulitplexed 25Gbps transceivers.”

Kitguru says: An interesting technology we will be hearing more of in the future.

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