Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Intel's advancement in Silicon Photonics

The latest Intel's press release - entitled "Intel's Silicon Photonics Advancement Aims to Accelerate Future Computing, Communications" - unveils a major achievement in Silicon Photonics, an emerging technology using standard silicon to send and receive optical information among computers and other electronic devices, allowing ultra-fast data transfer for future bandwidth-intensive computing applications, such as remote medicine and lifelike 3-D virtual worlds.

A team led by Intel researchers created the silicon-based APD (Avalanche Photodetector), a light sensor that achieves superior sensitivity by detecting light and amplifying weak signals as light is directed onto silicon. This APD device used silicon and CMOS processing to achieve a "gain-bandwidth product" of 340 GHz -- the best result ever measured for this key APD performance metric. 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 the performance of a device made with traditional, more expensive optical materials such as indium phosphide.

Mario Paniccia, Ph.D., Intel Fellow and director of the company's Photonics Technology Lab declared "In addition to optical communication, these silicon-based APDs could also be applied to other areas such as sensing, imaging, quantum cryptography or biological applications."

Numonyx, a leading maker of NOR, NAND, RAM and phase change non-volatile memory technologies, provided manufacturing and process expertise.

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