IBM creates first cheap, commercially viable, electronic-photonic integrated chip

By Sebastian Anthony on December 10, 2012 at 12:01 am

IBM has become the first company to integrate electrical and optical components on the same chip, using a standard 90nm semiconductor process. These integrated, monolithic chips will allow for cheap chip-to-chip and computer-to-computer interconnects that are thousands of times faster than current state-of-the-art copper and optical networks. Where current interconnects are generally measured in gigabits per second, IBM’s new chip is already capable of shuttling data around at terabits per second, and should scale to peta- and exabit speeds.

After more than a decade of research, and a proof of concept in 2010, IBM Research has finally cracked silicon nanophotonics (or CMOS-integrated nanophotonics, CINP, to give its full name). IBM has proven that it can produce these chips on a commercial process, and they could be on the market within a couple of years. This is primarily big news for supercomputing and the cloud, where the limited bandwidth between servers is a major bottleneck.

Read more: IBM creates first cheap, commercially viable, electronic-photonic integrated chip | ExtremeTech.

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