[AI] 'Light chip breaks speed records'

Renuka Warrier erenuka at gmail.com
Sat Jun 19 10:55:31 EDT 2010

The Hindu : Sci-Tech / Technology : 'Light chip breaks speed records'

Washington, June 19, 2010

Scientists claim to have created an incredibly fast photonic chip, bringing computers a step closer to working entirely with light.

An international team, led by Sydney University, has developed the optical integrator - a fundamental building block equivalent to those used in multi-functional electronic circuits - on a CMOS compatible silicon chip.

According to the scientists, the device, a photonic chip compatible with electronic technology (CMOS), will be a key enabler of next generation fully integrated ultra fast optical data processing technologies for many applications including ultra fast optical information-processing, optical memory, measurement, computing systems, and real time differential equation computing units.

It is based on a passive micro-ring resonator and performs the time integral of an arbitrary optical waveform with a time resolution of a few picoseconds, corresponding to a processing speed of around 200 GHz, and with a "hold" time approaching a nanosecond.

This represents an unprecedented processing time- bandwidth product (TBP) -- a principal figure of merit, defined as the ratio between the integration time window to the fastest time feature that can be accurately processed - approaching 100 - much higher than advanced passive electronic integrators where the TBP is less than 10.

Prof David Moss, who led the team, said using light for ultrahigh speed information processing, computing, and storage on a silicon chip was an important breakthrough.

"With society's demands for even faster technology, ultra fast optical computing and signal processing are important. This on-chip optical integrator is a key to enabling many optical functions on a chip, including ultra high speed signal processing, computing, and optical memory.

"This technology will ultimately provide the consumer with cheaper and faster computers," he wrote in the 'Nature Communications' journal.
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