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Intel fiber optic module

An Intel fiber optic module can move data quickly between consumer gadgets and a computer.

Credit: Jeffrey Tseng / Intel Corp.

Optics technology could get a boost from research being conducted at Intel and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Intel is developing the Light Peak fiber-optic link, cable technology that will transmit 10 gigabits of data per second bidirectionally, and is expected to scale to 100 gigabits in the next decade. Light Peak would replace USB and other data transmission cables used by electronics devices and could be available later this year.

Meanwhile, MIT researchers have created germanium lasers on silicon chips as part of their manufacturing, says professor Lionel C. Kimerling. The chips are made in layers, and the germanium lasers are built into the chip during the layering process. Germanium lasers could speed up internal computer communications by eliminating the copper pathways on each computer chip.

Fiber-optic communication also could connect different chips, providing, among other things, a high-bandwidth path between a computer's central processing unit and the graphics processor.

From The New York Times
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