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Bringing Fiber Optics to Computer Chips

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: August 20, 2014 05:57AM
Author: Guest_Jim_*

More and more, fiber optic cables are being installed for carrying information across networks and across the Internet, because they are great speed and capacity. Many would like to see fiber optics enter our computers as well, but shrinking the cables has been proving difficult. Researchers at the University of Alberta though, have managed to create nano-optical cables that could enter our computer chips.

Presently copper wires are used within computer chips as interconnects, because the metal does a decent job. Optical fibers could do better, but their diameter has been limited to the micrometer range, which is too large. By turning to metamaterials however, the Alberta researchers were able to go an order of magnitude smaller, without losing data, slowing the signal, or creating heat. As you can no doubt guess, bringing fiber optics into chips would also bring significantly greater speeds and efficiencies than what we see now.

Source: University of Alberta



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AkakmanH on August 20, 2014 06:23AM
I understand the premise of using fiber optic cabling instead of copper but I did not know that fiber optics carry electricity. Are the chips going to produce their own light and what would be the source of such small traces?
Guest_Jim_* on August 20, 2014 07:47AM
My guess is there would still be copper wires to deliver the electricity to the chips. The fiber optics would just be for transmitting data.

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