Electronics part supplier ROHM has announced that it has achieved a wireless data transmission speed of 1.5 gigabits per second in experiments conducted with Osaka University. The technology involved the use of terahertz frequencies at 300GHz, but current plans could result in speeds of up to 30Gbps.
Chances are you haven't heard of ROHM unless you are in the semiconductor industry. The electronic parts supplier based in Kyoto, Japan is one of the top 25 semiconductor firms in the world by sales.
ROHM's breakthrough involves the use of a new micro-antenna that integrates the oscillation device and the detection element onto the semiconductor baseplate. The company plans for mass production of the technology within the next 3-4 years. 30Gbps chips would require production using advanced lithographies, but would result in chip costs of less than $5.
The terahertz range goes from 100GHz to 10THz, and has wave-like and particle-like characteristics. Terahertz radiation is similar to microwave radiation and can penetrate most non-conductive materials, but is stopped by water and metallic substances. Its range is pretty short and requires line of sight, but development for medical and security scanners is already underway.
The most alluring use is in high speed radio transmission, possibly leapfrogging wired connections. Computer networks using terahertz technology could be a reality within this decade, but they will have to compete with the WiGig Alliance and their own 7GHz standard.