Feeds

Intel trumpets world's fastest silicon photonic detector*

*Ladybird not included

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Intel researchers are claiming "world record" performance with their latest push in silicon photonics — or chips with friggin' laser beams.

The vendor published results from a new silicon-based photodetector, which uses light pulses to make stupidly fast connections rather than more conventional (and slower) electrical interconnects.

A team lead by Intel researchers created a silicon-based Avalanche Photodetector (APD), a fancy bit of atom-wrangling in a light sensor that can amplify weak signals directed on to silicon. The research was (naturally) published in the trade journal Nature Photonics

Intel said it uses standard silicon and CMOS processing to achieve a "gain-bandwidth product" of 340 GHz. That figure is the best result ever measured for a APD performance metric, the company claims.

"This opens the door to lower the cost of optical links running at data rates of 40Gbps or higher and proves, for the first time, that a silicon photonics device can exceed performance of a device made with traditional, more expensive optical materials such as indium phosphide," said Intel.

Chipzilla expects affordable photonic kit to play a major role in its schemes to cram 10's, even 100's of cores into future processors. All the compute capability Intel is dreaming up will require speedy links, and using standard fabbing technology may help bring volume economics to optical communication.

Other companies like Sun Microsystems and IBM are also hard at work to chip the light fantastic with less exotic materials, although the work is still in the early stages.

The research was jointly funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), with manufacturing and process aide from the memory firm, Numonyx.

Intel has provided a handy Flash animation to explain how the APD detects and amplifies optical signals.

There's also publicity shot of a ladybird/ladybug crawling across the experimental chip. Someone apparently made this insect a unit of measurement without telling us.

We approve wholeheartedly and hope it becomes standard by the time silicon optical on-chip interconnects may actually show up in kit five or ten years down the road. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.