IBM manufactures light-based 'nanophotonic' chips to let the terabytes flow

IBM's taken a large step toward computer chips that use photons instead of electrons by manufacturing the first 90nm silicon-based optical processing modules. It did so using the CMOS nanophotonics technology we first saw back in 2010, creating tranceivers capable of 25Gbps transfer speeds. By multiplexing a large number of those streams to a single fibre, "terrabytes of data" per second could flow between distant computer systems," according to IBM. The 90 nanometer light circuits should allow data-hungry servers or supercomputers to scale up rapidly in speed "for the next decade, and at the desired low cost," according to the researchers. It's now primed for commercial development, meaning we could see an end to bottlenecks in systems "a few centimeters or a few kilometers" apart from each other. Check the PR for the detailed technical skinny.

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