Intel tries to get devices to communicate faster

Intel on Sunday is expected to detail advances in silicon nanophotonics technology that could boost optical communication speeds.

Intel on Sunday detailed advances in an emerging field of technology that it said will boost optical communication speeds, allowing for faster data transfers between devices.

The company has developed a device, the Avalanche Photodetector (APD), that senses light pulses and amplifies output signals for faster data transfer over long distances, the company said.

Researchers claim this is a big advancement in the field of silicon photonics, in which silicon is used to transfer light pulses for data exchange between chips and devices. As computing power grows, researchers in the field are developing cheaper and faster technologies like APDs that could enable high-bandwidth applications like 3D virtual reality and telemedicine.

The APD device is an advancement over earlier photodetector technologies, which are less sensitive in detecting light signals, use more power and offer slower data rates. The APD is also made of standard silicon material, instead of the more expensive materials such as indium phosphide, Intel said.

APD can detect light at higher frequencies and moves data at rates of 40G bits per second (bps), making it more sensitive and quicker than earlier photodetectors, Intel said. The APD consumes less electrical power than standard photodetectors and is capable of saving more power over shorter distances.

Researchers at Intel said that this is the first time a photodetector made of standard silicon betters the performance of devices made from more expensive materials. By using standard silicon, Intel also hopes to provide economies of scale for high-volume production of such devices in existing fabs.

In the future, telecommunication providers could use APDs to amplify long-distance phone calls, said Mike Morse, principal engineer in the photonics technology lab at Intel. Telephone signals are converted to optical signals that go through fiber in the ground, and APDs could sit in exchanges to amplify those signals.

However, the chips are not ready for implementation as additional research is needed, Morse said.

"This is still in development so we still have a lot of learning to do. I can't predict how all of that will play out," he said.

Intel's research results is expected to be published in the Nature Photonics journal on Sunday. The company is working with Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Numonyx, University of California at Santa Barbara and University of Virginia on this research.

Many companies, including Sun and IBM are involved in silicon photonics research. Earlier this year, Sun received a US$44 million contract from DARPA to boost computing performance by enabling chip communication using lasers over silicon and to reduce power consumption by placing chips close to each other. IBM is also trying to speed up data transfers between chip cores through silicon photonics research.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags researchphotonics

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?