Can IBM connect cores in a chip with light?

IBM has come up with a technology that could one day let different cores on a processor exchange signals with pulses of light, rather than electrons, a change that could lead to faster and far more energy efficient chips.

The device, known as a silicon Mach-Zehnder electro-optic modulator--converts electrical signals into pulses of light. The trick is that IBM's modulator is 100 or more times smaller than other small modulators produced by other labs. Eventually, IBM hopes the modulator could be integrated into chips.

Here's how it works. Electric pulses, the yellow dots, hit the modulator, which is also being hit with a constant beam of light from a laser. The modulator emits light pulses to correspond to the electrical pulses. In a sense, the modulator is substituting photons for electrons.

Since the beginning of the decade, several companies--Intel, Primarion, Luxtera, IBM--have been coming up with components that, ideally, will let chip designers replace wires in computers and ultimately chips with optical fiber. Wires radiate heat, a big problem, and the signals don't travel as fast as light pulses. (The research in this area is known as silicon photonics and optoelectronics.)

The problem with optical technology, however, is making it small. Optical components historically have been tricky to produce and tend to be fairly large. Computer makers need components that measure only a few millimeters on a side. The idea is to come up with a way to produce modulators, lasers, waveguides and other devices on silicon manufacturing lines.

Right now, it remains an open question when these products will come to market. Still, the plethora of prototypes is a strong indication that progress is moving along well.

Source: News.com

Tags: IBM, Intel

Comments
Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
or
Your comment:


Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party


Last news

 
Apple has discovered that a "limited number" of laptops have a problem
 
Twitter has since confirmed the ban in an email to Reuters
 
This is not the first time this name has been suggested
 
Samsung is said to have developed a prototype that has three OLED panels measuring 3.5 inches each
 
You might not see card-free phones for a while
 
The good news is that iOS 12 could continue to support your device
 
LG can’t meet Apple’s requirements just yet, report reveals
 
$550 does seem like an outright steal at almost half the price
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review
The evolution of the successful smartphone, now with a waterproof body and USB Type-C
February 7, 2017 /
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /
 
 

News Archive

 
 
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930     




Poll

Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments (9)