Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder, University of California and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a microprocessor chip that uses light rather than electricity to transfer data at rapid speeds without consuming much energy. The technology could pave way for faster and more powerful computing systems and network infrastructure.
Light–based integrated circuits could revolutionise computing and network chip architecture in applications ranging from smartphones to supercomputers to large data centres. Traditional microprocessor chips found in laptops and supercomputers use electrical circuits to communicate with one another and transfer information. This, however, has limitation because of limited electricity that is used to power the ever increasing speed and volume of data transfers.
Researchers therefore, replaced electricity with light as that would reduce microchips’ energy burden to send across data by using the same amount of power. The new chip has a bandwidth density of 300 gigabits per second per square millimetre, which is about 10 to 50 times greater than the current electrical microprocessors.