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Light beams show the future of chip design

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Researchers from Stanford University have come up with a way of using light to power computer chips.
Using new computer algorithms, they have designed a prism that beams light across silicon channels within a chip.

This technique would overcome the major problem caused by increasing the processing power of ships by producing almost no heat. And it could increase data transmission as much as 10-times is current speed.

The technology probably won’t be available in actual products for about 10 years, but the theory was published this week in the journal Nature Photonics.

The research was led by Jelena Vuckovic, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford.

In the Nature Photonics article, the researchers demonstrate the use of an inverse design method that explores the full design space of fabricable devices.

“This would allow for the design of devices with previously unattainable functionality, higher performance and robustness, and smaller footprints than conventional devices,” it states.

The research project resulted in the design of a silicon wavelength demultiplexer that splits 1 300nm and 1 550nm light from an input waveguide into two output waveguides, and fabricated and characterised several devices. The devices display low insertion loss, low crosstalk and wide bandwidths.