Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > No limits to silicon integrated circuits

New semiconductor microlasers with silicon wave guides will speed up data transfer
 Shutterstock
New semiconductor microlasers with silicon wave guides will speed up data transfer Shutterstock

Abstract:
Microchip processing technology is being updated at faster and faster rates in our age of silicon chip wizardry. By the time you unpack your smart new laptop or digital camera the technology that went into making it is already becoming outdated. But a solution to the problem is now at hand. Researchers working on a project called PICMOS, with EU funding of EUR 2.5 million, have developed new technologies to produce and combine semiconductor microlasers with silicon wave guides for new, efficient and powerful optical connections.

No limits to silicon integrated circuits

Europe | Posted on February 13th, 2008

Traditionally tiny copper wires connect different areas of integrated circuits, but these are limited in their use as they will soon start limiting microchip processing speeds. Since the birth of microchip technology, the miniaturisation of microchips has continued relentlessly with the number of transistors able to be fitted into an integrated circuit doubling on average every two years.

Microchips that are based on silicon wafers are now nearing their limits because the physical properties of near nanoscale silicon integrated circuits are beginning to interfere with their performance. The speed of data transfer in the integrated circuits is slowing down because the data is currently being sent as electrons through copper wires known as copper interconnects.

'Copper wire interconnects place serious limitations on the performance of silicon integrated circuits,' Dries Van Thourhout from Ghent University's Photonics Research Group and Belgium's IMEC, a micro- and nano-electronics research centre, told ICT Results.

'It is hard to transmit data down these interconnects in a sufficiently fast power-efficient way. It is a problem of bandwidth and copper will not be able to cope with the processing power of tomorrow's microchips.'

Using optical connects would be far more convenient than copper ones as opticals use light instead of electrons to relay data. They also have the capacity to be far more efficient at transmitting data, but using the same or less power. Instead of traveling along copper wires, they travel along wave guides that are made of silicon rather than glass.

'Lots of research has shown that you can etch wave guides for photons into silicon,' Van Thourhout is quoted as saying. 'This is great because you are using the same materials and fabrication technologies as you do to make integrated circuits. But there is one significant drawback: it is extremely hard to get light out of silicon.'

Part of the project research involved the development of indium-phosphate lasers etched with a diameter of just 7m which is small enough to integrate several thousand onto a 2cm x 2cm silicon chip. These could be used in many ways, for example in miniature optical sensors such as strain detectors or they could be used to build inexpensive, but powerful optical biosensors.

At the moment the cost of producing the lasers is too high for mass production although the results of the research are encouraging. A follow-up project called WADIMOS which is also EU-funded is to carry on the PICMOS research.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
DIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR RESEARCH
European Commission
SDME 2/2
B-1049 Brussels - Belgium
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/research/index_en.html

Copyright © European Commission

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor January 18th, 2017

Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting January 18th, 2017

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

Nanoparticle exposure can awaken dormant viruses in the lungs January 17th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor January 18th, 2017

Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting January 18th, 2017

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Chemistry on the edge: Experiments at Berkeley Lab confirm that structural defects at the periphery are key in catalyst function January 13th, 2017

Chip Technology

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

Optical computing/Photonic computing

New laser based on unusual physics phenomenon could improve telecommunications, computing January 12th, 2017

Researcher's discovery of new crystal structure holds promise for optoelectronic devices January 6th, 2017

The researchers created a tiny laser using nanoparticles January 5th, 2017

Diamonds are technologists' best friends: Researchers from the Lomonosov Moscow State University have grown needle- and thread-like diamonds and studied their useful properties December 30th, 2016

Announcements

Strength of hair inspires new materials for body armor January 18th, 2017

Self-assembling particles brighten future of LED lighting January 18th, 2017

Dressing a metal in various colors: DGIST research developed a technology to coat metal with several nanometers of semiconducting materials January 17th, 2017

Nanoparticle exposure can awaken dormant viruses in the lungs January 17th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project