Monday, April 23, 2018

MIT: a new technique for assembling on-chip optics and electronics separately

A team of researchers led by groups at MIT, the University of California at Berkeley, and Boston University, have developed a technique for assembling on-chip optics and electronics separately using existing manufacturing processes.

The work, which is described in an article in the latest issue of Nature, allows the addition of optical communication components onto chips with modern transistors.

“The most promising thing about this work is that you can optimize your photonics independently from your electronics,” says Amir Atabaki, a research scientist at MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics and one of three first authors on the new paper. “We have different silicon electronic technologies, and if we can just add photonics to them, it’d be a great capability for future communications and computing chips. For example, now we could imagine a microprocessor manufacturer or a GPU manufacturer like Intel or Nvidia saying, ‘This is very nice. We can now have photonic input and output for our microprocessor or GPU.’ And they don’t have to change much in their process to get the performance boost of on-chip optics.”


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