Wednesday, November 24, 2010
On-Chip Light Pulses / Nature Communications
The idea of using light to carry information around within computers has been around for a long time, but making it happen has been difficult. Electrical engineers from UC San Diego took an important step forward when they created a light pulse compressor that works on silicon chips. Compressing light pulses on chips will be necessary to realize optical time division multiplexing or OTDM.
“In communications, there is this technique called optical time division multiplexing or OTDM, where different signals are interleaved in time to produce a single data stream with higher data rates, on the order of terabytes per second. We’ve created a compression component that is essential for OTDM,” said electrical engineering PhD student Dawn Tan, the first author on a new Nature Communications paper that describes the work.
The UC San Diego electrical engineers say they are the first to report a pulse compressor on a CMOS-compatible integrated platform that is strong enough for OTDM.
“In the future, this work will enable integrating multiple ‘slow’ bandwidth channels with pulse compression into a single ultra-high-bandwidth OTDM channel on a chip. Such aggregation devices will be critical for future inter- and intra-high speed digital electronic processors interconnections for numerous applications such as data centers, field-programmable gate arrays, high performance computing and more,” said Yeshaiahu Fainman, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering and the last author on the new paper.