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One Graphene Device Makes Three Amplifiers

Logic device could be even more multipurpose

3 min read
One Graphene Device Makes Three Amplifiers


Illustration: Bryan Christie Design
Power of Three: This simple graphene circuit makes three amplifiers.

Graphene devices are showing amazing flexibility, and not just the mechanical kind. Researchers at Rice University and the University of California, Riverside, recently demonstrated an amplifier, based on a single graphene transistor, that can do the job of three different amplifiers. The device could lead to smaller, lower-power analog circuits, such as Bluetooth radios, they say. Separately, scientists at IBM are developing a type of graphene device that can be reconfigured, on the fly, into six different logic gates. Despite this, engineers agree that practical graphene logic is many years away.

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Two Startups Are Bringing Fiber to the Processor

Avicena’s blue microLEDs are the dark horse in a race with Ayar Labs’ laser-based system

5 min read
Diffuse blue light shines from a patterned surface through a ring. A blue cable leads away from it.

Avicena’s microLED chiplets could one day link all the CPUs in a computer cluster together.


If a CPU in Seoul sends a byte of data to a processor in Prague, the information covers most of the distance as light, zipping along with no resistance. But put both those processors on the same motherboard, and they’ll need to communicate over energy-sapping copper, which slow the communication speeds possible within computers. Two Silicon Valley startups, Avicena and Ayar Labs, are doing something about that longstanding limit. If they succeed in their attempts to finally bring optical fiber all the way to the processor, it might not just accelerate computing—it might also remake it.

Both companies are developing fiber-connected chiplets, small chips meant to share a high-bandwidth connection with CPUs and other data-hungry silicon in a shared package. They are each ramping up production in 2023, though it may be a couple of years before we see a computer on the market with either product.

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