Intel silicon lasers reach 40Gbps

By Shaun Nichols on Jul 30, 2007 4:33 PM
Filed under Hardware

Photonics project hits new benchmark.

Intel's project to create an optical modulator from standard silicon has reached a new milestone. 

The chip giant revealed today that its Silicon Photonics researchers have clocked the silicon laser modulator at 40Gbps. The previous high was 30Gbps. 

The company hopes eventually to use the optical modulators to transmit data between the components on a motherboard. The optical lines would operate at higher speeds and require less power than current copper wire lines.

The speed increase could allow Intel to create chips that optically transmit one terabit of data every second.

Optical modulators using more expensive materials have been able to reach 40Gbps for several years. Intel's device, however, uses cheaper silicon materials and manufacturing processes, making mass deployment more practical. 

Replacing electrical data lines with optical lines is a major part of Intel's Terra-scale Computing initiative. The company hopes to pair up the optical lines with its 80-core processor to achieve computational rates of one terabyte per second.



 
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