Intel Creates Super-Spiffy New Chip
The latest prototype from Intel involves some very popular buzzwords – “silicon,” “hybrid,” and “laser” are all present, and the company’s Silicon Hybrid Laser (HSL) chip could act as “a breakthrough that will propel the world of computers into the light-based transmission era.”
That may sound like a line from a press release, but it was written by Tuan Nguyen, a blogger for DailyTech.
Nguyen was extremely optimistic about the chip’s potential; CTOs may want to pay attention.
A key material in the project was Indium Phosphide, which, according to Wikipedia, “is used in high-power and high-frequency electronics because of its superior electron velocity with respect to the more common semiconductors silicon and gallium arsenide . . . . Indium phosphide also has one of the longest-lived optical phonos of any compound with the zincblende crystal structure.”
“Intel researchers were able to integrate Indium Phosphide into traditional silicon chip manufacturing techniques, thereby creating a silicon-Indium Phoshide hybrid chip – one that could process traditional electrical signals and transmit laser light,” Nguyen wrote. “The laser light generated by an HSL chip could be used to transmit data and thus power other silicon photonic devices . . . ”
“Intel said that HSL could bring along terabit-capable transmission processors that are low cost and easy to produce,” he continued. “Computers would be a multitude more powerful than those we use today.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise, though, that “the technology . . . is still a number of years off.”
It seems like remarkable products and technologies are always, according to their developers, just ten or fifteen years down the road.
Nguyen seemed to realize this, but wasn’t at all cynical about the silicon hybrid laser chip.
“The application potentials for HSL chips are truly exciting,” he wrote.
“The industry in general has been talking about laser or light based electronics for a number of years already. With the development from a company like Intel – and hopefully others like AMD – the industry is getting the right push it needs.”