Saturday, 26 December 2015

Breakthrough in the data transmission. "Photonic chips"

Traditional microprocessor chips being used in computing units from your smart phone to super computers transmits data with the help of electrical circuits.  This require lot of electrical energy and dependency on electrical energy makes limitation to the transmission speed. 

The scientists of the Colorado university Boulder, in collaboration with the University of California and Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) made a breakthrough in this limitation factor. They  have developed a technology to transmit data with the help of light which will increase the data transmission speed rapidly by consuming little amount of energy.  Photonics or light based technology  has been predicted as will revolutionize the computer technology.  

The logic part of the chip which computes and executes programs have undergone significant changes and acquired much faster by time, the transmission part has lagged much behind. Because data is being passing through copper.  

When the data is being transmitted by means of electrical circuits, there is a limitation in the speed of transmission.  But if the transmission is by means of photons the speed can be multiplied. The researchers have now achieved this goal, to break the impasse.  Hence the devices that are driven by microprocessors , like smart phone to super computers to data centers will make use of this innovative technology to acquire much needed pace. 

Photonic memory has been tested earlier also. But its life was short and required a constant supply of light to work. This is the first “on-chip” optical memory that is nonvolatile, meaning that it does not require a constant supply of energy, and thus can provide long-term storage the way a hard drive can.
The basis of the technology is a so-called phase-change material. Light pulses can be used to switch the material between two distinct states—one in which the atoms are ordered, or crystalline, and one in which they are disordered, or amorphous. The researchers exploited this phenomenon to write and read information.

One particular attribute of this material makes it especially useful for memory storage. The researchers showed they could use light to put the material into mixed states—say, 10 percent crystalline and 90 percent amorphous, or 20 percent crystalline and 80 percent amorphous, and so on. Having more than just two states available for memory storage “means you can cram a lot more information” into the same space, says Harish Bhaskaran a professor of materials science and a nanoengineering expert at the University of Oxford, in the U.K. Bhaskaran, together with Wolfram Pernice , of the University of M√ľnster, in Germany, led the research. 

 Pic: from cnet. 

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