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the time you unpack your smart new laptop or digital camera the technology that went into making it is already becoming outdated.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

Nanoparticles that speed blood clotting may someday save lives August 23rd, 2016

Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions August 22nd, 2016

Spider silk: Mother Nature's bio-superlens August 22nd, 2016

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Provides Shareholder Update August 22nd, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions August 22nd, 2016

Spider silk: Mother Nature's bio-superlens August 22nd, 2016

A new way to display the 3-D structure of molecules: Metal-organic frameworks provide a new platform for solving the structure of hard-to-study samples August 21st, 2016

Curbing the life-long effects of traumatic brain injury August 19th, 2016

Chip Technology

Down to the wire: ONR researchers and new bacteria August 18th, 2016

Hexagonal boron nitride semiconductors enable cost-effective detection of neutron signals: Texas Tech University researchers demonstrate hexagonal boron nitride semiconductors as a cost-effective alternative for inspecting overseas cargo containers entering US ports August 17th, 2016

Enhanced electron doping on iron superconductors discovered: IBS Centre for Correlated Electron Systems revises existing theories by raising the temperature for superconductivity August 17th, 2016

See-through circuitry: New method makes AZO a viable and cheap alternative for transparent electronics August 15th, 2016

Optical computing/Photonic computing

Hexagonal boron nitride semiconductors enable cost-effective detection of neutron signals: Texas Tech University researchers demonstrate hexagonal boron nitride semiconductors as a cost-effective alternative for inspecting overseas cargo containers entering US ports August 17th, 2016

Prototype chip could help make quantum computing practical: Built-in optics could enable chips that use trapped ions as quantum bits August 9th, 2016

Scientists discover light could exist in a previously unknown form August 6th, 2016

New metamaterials can change properties with a flick of a light-switch: Material can lead to new optical devices August 3rd, 2016

Announcements

Nanoparticles that speed blood clotting may someday save lives August 23rd, 2016

Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions August 22nd, 2016

Spider silk: Mother Nature's bio-superlens August 22nd, 2016

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Provides Shareholder Update August 22nd, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic