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Chip Sandwich Pushes Boundaries of Computing, Data Transmission Efficiency

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An electronics chip (the smaller chip on the top) integrated with a photonics chip, sitting atop a penny for scale.

The Caltech/Southampton team designed both an electronics chip and a photonics chip from the ground up, then co-optimized them to work together.

Credit: Arian Hashemi Talkhooncheh

Engineers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the U.K.'s University of Southampton have developed an ultrafast electronic/photonic chip sandwich that generates minimal heat.

Created over four years, "These two chips are literally made for each other, integrated into one another in three dimensions," said Caltech's Arian Hashemi Talkhooncheh.

The chips employ an optimized interface to transmit 100 gigabits of data per second while generating 2.4 pico-Joules per transmitted bit, boosting the transmission's electro-optical power efficiency 3.6 times over the current state of the art.

"As the world becomes more and more connected, and every device generates more data, it is exciting to show that we can achieve such high data rates while burning a fraction of power compared to the traditional techniques," said Caltech's Azita Emami.

From California Institute of Technology
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