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Intel researchers unveil superfast silicon chip for optical networking

By Staff

Washington, June 25 : Intel researchers claim to have developed a superfast silicon chip for optical networking.

While the fastest optical networks made of non-silicon material operate at speeds of 100 gigabits per second, the researchers claim that their prototype chip can encode 200 gigabits of data per second on a beam of light.

The researchers say that the fact that silicon has been overlooked by the photonics industry to date, because its optical properties are inferior to those of other semiconductors, makes the creation of the new chip even more interesting.

They have revealed that their test chip splits an incoming beam of light into eight channels, and within each channel is a modulator, a device that encodes data onto light.

The beams are recombined once they are encoded with data, reports Technology Review.

Mario Paniccia, director of Intel's silicon-photonics lab, revealed that each modulator ran at a rate of 25 gigabits per second during the tests conducted by his team, and that their performance was nearly identical.

He said that only one modulator was tested at a time during the tests, but added that his team would publish the results from running multiple channels simultaneously in a future paper.


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