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IBM Research set to break 100Gps barrier with silicon photonics chip

Chip uses pulses of light to move data over longer distances.


IBM Research has unveiled the first fully integrated wavelength multiplex chip, which uses pulses of light to move data.

The solution will leverage the production of 100Gbps optical transceivers working with optical and electrical components side-by-side using sub-100nm semiconductor technology.

IBM Research explained its silicon photonics chips use four distinct colours of light travelling within an optical fiber, each with a 25Gbps optical channel.

The chips bandwidth has been estimated to download an HD movie in two seconds and digitally share 63 million tweets or six million images every second.

IBM engineers in New York, Zurich and the IBM Systems Unit revealed their ambition to develop a solution that will connect data centre interconnects within a range of up to two km.

Arvind Krishna, senior VP of IBM Research said: "Making silicon photonics technology ready for widespread commercial use will help the semiconductor industry keep pace with ever-growing demands in computing power driven by Big Data and cloud services.

"Just as fiber optics revolutionised the telecommunications industry by speeding up the flow of data — bringing enormous benefits to consumers — we’re excited about the potential of replacing electric signals with pulses of light.

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"This technology is designed to make future computing systems faster and more energy efficient, while enabling customers to capture insights from Big Data in real time."


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