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On-Chip Light Speeds up Computing
Feb 2010
SYDNEY, Australia, Feb. 1, 2010 – A new laser that allows light to be used on a computer chip has been realized by an international team of researchers, led by David Moss, associate professor and senior researcher at The University of Sydney. The group developed a multiple wavelength laser on a silicon chip that produces light to process and transmit information, and in doing so, will speed up computing.

"The on-chip light source will be key to enabling the simultaneous transmission of multiple data channels either on-chip or between chips in a single optical fiber, each at a different wavelength," said Moss, adding that this technology will ultimately provide the consumer with cheaper and faster computers.

"Currently information on a chip is shuffled around using electronic signals over copper wires, or interconnects. We know that metal is prone to 'choking' on the bandwidth bottleneck," said Moss, adding that using light for simultaneous multiple information processing is an important breakthrough.

The paper titled, "CMOS-Compatible Integrated Optical Hyper-Parametric Oscillator" was recently published in Nature Photonics (concurrently with a report from Cornell University on a similar device).

With society's demands for even faster technology, ultrafast on-chip and chip-to-chip optical data communications are important. More efficient methods to transmit vast amounts of data around circuit boards are needed to keep up with these requirements.

Though multiple wavelength sources are already known, the team has developed them on a chip that, in principle, can not only be integrated with silicon computer chips (i.e. CMOS) but can be also fabricated using the same methods. The device, based on high index doped silica glass, is low loss and has a high degree of manufacturability and design flexibility.

This makes it an ideal integrated multiple wavelength source not just to improve computing power, but for a wide range of applications including telecommunications, high-precision broadband sensing and spectroscopy, metrology, molecular fingerprinting, optical clocks, and even attosecond physics.

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The science of measurement, particularly of lengths and angles.
optical fiber
A thin filament of drawn or extruded glass or plastic having a central core and a cladding of lower index material to promote total internal reflection (TIR). It may be used singly to transmit pulsed optical signals (communications fiber) or in bundles to transmit light or images.
Asia-PacificAsia/Pacificattosecond physicsBiophotonicsCMOSCommunicationscomputer chipDavid Mossmetrologymolecular fingerprintingmultiple wavelength laseron-chip light sourceoptical clocksoptical dataoptical fiberOptical Hyper-Parametric OscillatorResearch & Technologysensingsilicon chipsilicon computer chipspectroscopythe University of Sydneylasers

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