The white light beam is drawn later for the purpose of illustrating that the chip can use light directly to communicate with the outside world.
American scientists have said that they have developed the worldâ€™s first optoelectronic chip that uses light to process information. It still uses electrons to calculate, but it can use light directly to process information. This result may open the door to ultra-high-speed, low-power data processing. The results of the study were published in the journal Nature on December 24th.
According to the official website of the University of California, Berkeley, this chip was developed in cooperation with researchers from MIT and the University of Colorado. The chip has a width of 3mm and a length of 6mm. The data processing speed per square millimeter can reach 300 gigabits per second (Gbps), which is 10 to 50 times faster than that of an ordinary electronic microprocessor. The power consumption of this kind of chip to process data is very low too, only need to consume 1.3 picojoules of energy to process each bit of data.
Although the development of optical fiber communication technology has greatly enhanced the data transfer between computers, it is very difficult to apply photonic devices to the computer chip itself. The reason is that no one has ever known how to integrate photonic devices into this complex and expensive manufacturing process without changing the manufacturing process of computer chips. This is critical because it does not further increase the cost or risk of manufacturing computer chips.
To achieve this goal, researchers have experimented with a variety of innovative ways to use photonic devices on the chip. They use photonic devices such as photodetectors and vertical grating couplers to control and guide the light waves on the chip. In order to minimize the loss of light waves on the chip, they use silicon transistors as lightwave waveguides. In addition, they also designed a silicon ring next to the waveguide to control light waves quickly and with low energy consumption. Ultimately, the researchers fixed two microprocessor cores with 70 million transistors and 850 photonic devices to the microchip.
The report believes that this research result marks an important progress in optical fiber communication technology, and will accelerate the advent of high-bandwidth era. "This is a milestone. It is the first processor that can use light to communicate with the outside world," said research director Vladimir Stoyanovich, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the university. (Reporter Liu Yuanyuan)
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