Engineers demo first processor that uses light for ultrafast communications

The researchers packed two processor cores with more than 70 million transistors and 850 photonic components onto a 3-by-6-millimeter chip. Electricity word search They fabricated the microprocessor in a foundry that mass-produces high-performance computer chips, proving that their design can be easily and quickly scaled up for commercial production.

The new chip, described in a paper to be published Dec. Electricity experiments for preschoolers 24 in the print issue of the journal Nature, marks the next step in the evolution of fiber optic communication technology by integrating into a microprocessor the photonic interconnects, or inputs and outputs (I/O), needed to talk to other chips.

“This is a milestone. Electricity and magnetism review It’s the first processor that can use light to communicate with the external world,” said Vladimir Stojanović, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California, Berkeley, who led the development of the chip. Electricity bill nye “No other processor has the photonic I/O in the chip.”

Stojanović and fellow UC Berkeley professor Krste Asanović teamed up with Rajeev Ram at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Milos Popović at the University of Colorado, Boulder, to develop the new microprocessor.

“This is the first time we’ve put a system together at such scale, and have it actually do something useful, like run a program,” said Asanović, who helped develop the free and open architecture called RISC-V (reduced instruction set computer), used by the processor.

Compared with electrical wires, fiber optics support greater bandwidth, carrying more data at higher speeds over greater distances with less energy. O goshi While advances in optical communication technology have dramatically improved data transfers between computers, bringing photonics into the computer chips themselves had been difficult.

The researchers verified the functionality of the chip with the photonic interconnects by using it to run various computer programs, requiring it to send and receive instructions and data to and from memory. Electricity outage houston They showed that the chip had a bandwidth density of 300 gigabits per second per square millimeter, about 10 to 50 times greater than packaged electrical-only microprocessors currently on the market.

The photonic I/O on the chip is also energy-efficient, using only 1.3 picojoules per bit, equivalent to consuming 1.3 watts of power to transmit a terabit of data per second. Gas vs electric stove In the experiments, the data was sent to a receiver 10 meters away and back.

“The advantage with optical is that with the same amount of power, you can go a few centimeters, a few meters or a few kilometers,” said study co-lead author Chen Sun, a recent UC Berkeley Ph.D. Gas news today graduate from Stojanović’s lab at the Berkeley Wireless Research Center. C gastritis der antrumschleimhaut “For high-speed electrical links, 1 meter is about the limit before you need repeaters to regenerate the electrical signal, and that quickly increases the amount of power needed. Static electricity review worksheet For an electrical signal to travel 1 kilometer, you’d need thousands of picojoules for each bit.”

The achievement opens the door to a new era of bandwidth-hungry applications. Gas stations in texas One near-term application for this technology is to make data centers more green. E85 gas stations colorado According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, data centers consumed about 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2013, about 2 percent of the total electricity consumed in the United States, and the appetite for power is growing exponentially.

The electronic-photonic processor chip communicates to the outside world directly using light. Gas approximation This photo shows the chip naturally illuminated by red and green bands of light. Mafia 2 gas meter Credit: Glenn J. 1 unit electricity cost in gujarat Asakawa, University of Colorado

Each of the key photonic I/O components – such as a ring modulator, photodetector and a vertical grating coupler – serves to control and guide the light waves on the chip, but the design had to conform to the constraints of a process originally thought to be hostile to photonic components. Electricity reading comprehension To enable light to move through the chip with minimal loss, for instance, the researchers used the silicon body of the transistor as a waveguide for the light. P gaskell They did this by using available masks in the fabrication process to manipulate doping, the process used to form different parts of transistors.

After getting the light onto the chip, the researchers needed to find a way to control it so that it can carry bits of data. C gastronomie brignais They designed a silicon ring with p-n doped junction spokes next to the silicon waveguide to enable fast and low-energy modulation of light.

Using the silicon-germanium parts of a modern transistor – an existing part of the semiconductor manufacturing process – to build a photodetector took advantage of germanium’s ability to absorb light and convert it into electricity.

A vertical grating coupler that leverages existing poly-silicon and silicon layers in innovative ways was used to connect the chip to the external world, directing the light in the waveguide up and off the chip. Gas kansas The researchers integrated electronic components tightly with these photonic devices to enable stable operation in a hostile chip environment.

The authors emphasized that these adaptations all worked within the parameters of existing microprocessor manufacturing systems, and that it will not be difficult to optimize the components to further improve their chip’s performance.