View Full Version : Intel unveils laser breakthrough

17-02-05, 12:09

Intel has unveiled research that could mean data is soon being moved around chips at the speed of light.

Scientists at Intel have overcome a fundamental problem that before now has prevented silicon being used to generate and amplify laser light. The breakthrough should make it easier to interconnect data networks with the chips that process the information. The Intel researchers said products exploiting the breakthrough should appear by the end of the decade.

Cheap as chips

"We've overcome a fundamental limit," said Dr Mario Paniccia, director of Intel's photonics technology lab. Writing in the journal Nature, Dr Paniccia - and colleagues Haisheng Rong, Richard Jones, Ansheng Liu, Oded Cohen, Dani Hak and Alexander Fang - show how they have made a continuous laser from the same material used to make computer processors.

Currently, says Dr Paniccia, telecommunications equipment that amplifies the laser light that travels down fibre optic cables is very expensive because of the exotic materials, such as gallium arsenide, used to make it.

Telecommunications firms and chip makers would prefer to use silicon for these light-moving elements because it is cheap and many of the problems of using it in high-volume manufacturing have been solved. "We're trying to take our silicon competency in manufacturing and apply it to new areas," said Dr Paniccia.

While work has been done to make some of the components that can move light around, before now silicon has not successfully been used to generate or amplify the laser light pulses used to send data over long distances. This is despite the fact that silicon is a much better amplifier of light pulses than the form of the material used in fibre optic cables.

This improved amplification is due to the crystalline structure of the silicon used to make computer chips. Dr Paniccia said that the structure of silicon meant that when laser light passed through it, some colliding photons rip electrons off the atoms within the material. "It creates a cloud of electrons sitting in the silicon and that absorbs all the light," he said.

But the Intel researchers have found a way to suck away these errant electrons and turn silicon into a material that can both generate and amplify laser light. Even better, the laser light produced in this way can, with the help of easy-to-make filters, be tuned across a very wide range of frequencies. Semi-conductor lasers made before now have only produced light in a narrow frequency ranges.

Full story bbc.co.uk (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4271825.stm)

Capt. Murphy
17-02-05, 13:28
What new fandangled contraption will they come up with next? http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-8/349578/Yokel.GIF

Sounds Cool. :cool: Too bad it's a long ways away. :(

17-02-05, 19:39
My god, i cannot wait for the years to come.

18-02-05, 01:29
May i add THIS, Neteru. Another exciting new developement.



Sorry, no pictures. :( But the point is this: </font> conventional hard disk drive today: turns at very high speed, so the read/write-head can read/write it. Takes noticeable time.</font> New procedure: the double-side written data-platter vibrates between two write/read platters. Takes no noticeable time.</font>
Source: www.dataslide.com (http://www.dataslide.com/)

18-02-05, 02:17
the advantage of laser light over electricity is that laser light can cross paths without interfering with other laser signals. Electricity cannot do this. This is why it will be faster ... and more expensive...and make all your software obsolete so you'll need to buy more...etc, etc...

18-02-05, 02:28
Yes we will buy more etc, wantafanta.

PC's today just aren't fast enough. It is all high-tech for today's standards, but they are só young! In 10 years we will laugh about what we thought is 'high-tech' today:
When you put a cd in the drive, it has to load at least 5 seconds before you see anything happen on your screen. :D When you start a game, it has to load into the memory first before you see the game. :D When you search for a file on your hdd via Explorer, it can take minutes! :D Surfing on a forum is slowed down by the loading of pages, especially when they contain pictures! :D

[ 18. February 2005, 03:45: Message edited by: joseph ]