Luminous silicon nanowires reveal how optical devices can be put into a CPU

Luminous silicon nanowires reveal how optical devices can be put into a CPU

  • 2020-04-15
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Luminous silicon nanowires reveal how optical devices can be put into a CPU

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  • 2020-04-15
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Silicon - germanium alloy luminescence, may be the future of CPU optical communication laser

The key term in an integrated circuit is integration. The ability to build facilities to integrate things limits the processes available and the materials that can be used safely. Once you come up with a different material or process, the whole bar is broken, and anyone suggesting it should expect people to question your suitability for the current position. Compatibility is why you can't find a laser-powered IC in your laptop.
But demonstrations using luminous (but not yet laser-emitting) silicon could improve the ability to make lasers from materials compatible with integrated circuits.
It looks like the light side
Optics and lasers are the basis of high-speed data transmission. Do not use copper wire to transmit data at 1Tb/s. Instead, you'll use glass and some fine-tuned and very expensive laser diodes. However, the fabrication process and materials of laser diode are not compatible with that of IC. Therefore, while you can create an optical interconnect between the RAM module and the CPU, you must somehow bond the optics correctly to the silicon chip. Research LABS are happy to sacrifice doctoral students for such ventures, but doctoral robots don't scale well, are expensive to maintain, and their deployment can lead to a bleak appearance.
A better solution is to make the silicon glow, but it doesn't really like to do that. The reasons are not that complicated, but they do require a few words to explain.
Light is produced by charged particles, such as electrons, which release energy to emit photons. In semiconductors, electrons can't just have any old energy - they must have as much energy as the material structure allows. The number of available electronic states in semiconductors is limited, which can cause problems. For example, an electron may have a considerable amount of old energy, but because all the lower energy states are already occupied by electrons, it cannot be emitted.

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