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December 10, 2012

IBM develops silicon nanophotonic chip to speed up internet services

The new technology can feed a number of parallel optical data streams into a single fiber

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM has developed a new chip which will use light rather than electrical signals to transmit the data for future computing speeding up internet data transmission.

The new technology, dubbed silicon nanophotonics, will integrate electrical and optical components on a single silicon chip, using the sub 100nm semiconductor process.

IBM said that silicon nanophotonics will use pulses of light for communication and provides a highway for large volumes of data to move at rapid speeds between computer chips in servers, large datacenters, and supercomputers.

According to the company, silicon nanophotonics technology offers answers to Big Data challenges by connecting various parts of large systems, whether few centimeters or few kilometers apart from each other, and move terabytes of data through pulses of light through optical fibers.

The technology can transmit about 25Gbps per channel and can feed various parallel optical data streams into a single fiber by using compact on-chip wavelength-division multiplexing devices.

IBM Research senior vice president and director John Kelly said that the researchers have been working on the new technology for more than 10 years.

"This allows us to move silicon nanophotonics technology into a real-world manufacturing environment that will have impact across a range of applications," Kelly said.

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In October this year, IBM researchers had demostrated a new way of carbon nanotechnology which will help in commercial fabrication of smaller, faster and more powerful computer chips with transistors made of carbon nanotubes which will replace silicon chips in computers.

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