Browse Definitions:
Definition

silicon photonics

Silicon photonics is an evolving technology in which data is transferred among computer chips by optical rays. Optical rays can carry far more data in less time than electrical conductors.

Optical fibre is being used to overcome the limitation of copper in networking and storage area networks (SANs) to support faster interconnects between data centers. The next threshold in performance is the connectivity between chips and processors. The concept involves combining laser and silicon technology on the same chip. The improved performance results from the greater available bandwidth and higher propagation speed of infrared (IR) beams compared with electric current. The effective implementation of silicon photonics technology would dramatically increase the processing speed and power of computers.

Silicon photonics research began in the late 1980s and has been ongoing ever since. The technology uses lasers to transfer data into light pulses. A multiplexer combines the pulses into a single signal which travels across a optic fiber to a silicon receiver where de-multiplexers divide the signal back into separate channels. Photodetectors can then turn the light back into data. 

Historically, one of the most serious challenges facing the developers of silicon photonics has been the fact that laser devices, which generate the IR beams that carry the data, are power-hungry. In addition, silicon has not proven effective for lasing because of thermal dissipation within the material. For these reasons, external lasers have been required in the manufacture of optical computers using silicon chips. Researchers are developing methods of overcoming problems that prevent the use of silicon, however. For example, combining silicon with indium phosphide improves its IR-transmission capacity. Electric current is applied to the indium phosphide through metal electrodes, causing photon emissions that can be confined and concentrated in a silicon cavity, producing coherent IR.

This was last updated in June 2013

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • black hat

    Black hat refers to a hacker who breaks into a computer system or network with malicious intent.

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • open source storage

    Open source storage is data storage software developed in a public, collaborative manner that permits the free use, distribution ...

  • CompactFlash card (CF card)

    A CompactFlash card (CF card) is a memory card format developed by SanDisk in 1994 that uses flash memory technology to store ...

  • email archiving

    Email archiving (also spelled e-mail archiving) is a systematic approach to saving and protecting the data contained in email ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • RRAM or ReRAM (resistive RAM)

    RRAM or ReRAM (resistive random access memory) is a form of nonvolatile storage that operates by changing the resistance of a ...

  • JEDEC

    JEDEC is a global industry group that develops open standards for microelectronics.

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close