Short, on-chip light pulses to boost data transfer speeds on computers

November 25th, 2010 - 3:28 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 25 (ANI): University of California - San Diego electrical engineers have designed ultra compact, low power pulse compressor on a silicon chip, which will enable ultrafast data transfer within computers.

This miniaturized short pulse generator eliminates a roadblock on the way to optical interconnects for use in PCs, data centers, imaging applications and beyond.

They will have far higher data rates and generate less heat than the copper wires they will replace.

“Our pulse compressor is implemented on a chip, so we can easily integrate it with computer processors,” said Dawn Tan at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering who led development of the pulse compressor.

“Next generation computer networks and computer architectures will likely replace copper interconnects with their optical counterparts, and these have to be complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) compatible. This is why we created our pulse compressor on silicon,” he said.

The pulse compressor will also be a cost effective method for a variety of imaging technologies such as time resolved spectroscopy - which can be used to study lasers and electron behavior, and optical coherence tomography - which can capture biological tissues in three dimensions.

They will reduce power consumption caused by heat dissipation, switching and transmission of electrical signals.

“In the future, this work will enable integrating multiple ’slow’ bandwidth channels with pulse compression into a single ultra-high-bandwidth OTDM channel on a chip. Such aggregation devices will be critical for future inter- and intra-high speed digital electronic processors interconnections for numerous applications such as data centers, field-programmable gate arrays, high performance computing and more,” said Yeshaiahu Fainman.

The study is published in Nature Communications. (ANI)

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