Light at the End of the Chip

IBM's low-power germanium photodetectors may bring optical interconnects to microprocessors

3 min read
Light at the End of the Chip

Image: IBM
Germanium Juxtaposed: IBM integrated nanoscale germanium-based avalanche photodetectors on a silicon chip.

A better photodetector could bring optical data transfer between computer chips closer to reality, according to the IBM researchers who created the device. Such an advance could overcome a looming speed limit—the rate at which data can move between a processor’s cores, or from one chip to another, over copper wire.

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