First Germanium Laser

Lasers made of silicon-compatible material could bring optical data transmission onto computer chips

3 min read

10 February 2010—A laser made of germanium may open the door to optical interconnects on computer chips that have multiple processing cores, say researchers at MIT, who recently demonstrated such a laser.

The group, led by Jurgen Michel, a research scientist at MIT’s Microphotonics Center, achieved low-level lasing at room temperature with a laser built from layers of germanium grown on a silicon wafer and powered by pulses from a separate laser. The paper is set to be published soon in Optics Letters.

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The Ultimate Transistor Timeline

The transistor’s amazing evolution from point contacts to quantum tunnels

1 min read
A chart showing the timeline of when a transistor was invented and when it was commercialized.

Even as the initial sales receipts for the first transistors to hit the market were being tallied up in 1948, the next generation of transistors had already been invented (see “The First Transistor and How it Worked.”) Since then, engineers have reinvented the transistor over and over again, raiding condensed-matter physics for anything that might offer even the possibility of turning a small signal into a larger one.

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