Through TheFLY's Eyes: Intel
Intel, U. California-Santa Barbara Claim Chip Breakthrough
Intel (INTC) and University of California-Santa Barbara Monday claimed they achieved a breakthrough in creating lasers on computer chips by building the world’s first electrically-powered hybrid silicon laser using standard silicon manufacturer processes – a breakthrough that could substantially lower the cost of data communications.
The researchers were able to combine the light-emitting properties of Indium Phosphide with the light-routing capabilities of silicon into a single hybrid chip. When voltage is applied, light generated in the Indium Phosphide enters the silicon waveguide to create a continuous laser beam that can be used to drive other silicon photonic devices. A laser based on silicon could drive wider use of photonics in computers because the cost can be greatly reduced by using high-volume silicon manufacturing techniques.
Shares of Intel were up 18c to $19.69 on the news in early Monday afternoon trading.
Currently, a common method used to transmit lasers is a fiber optic network. However, fiber optic networks are expensive. Silicon-based laser transmission would improve performance while also substantially decreasing data communication costs.
Commercial deployment of the silicon-based technology is still several years off, but Intel believes that one day dozens, perhaps hundreds of hybrid silicon lasers could be integrated with other silicon photonic components onto a single silicon chip.