The supercomputers of the future will be capable of amazing feats such as modeling global climate scenarios, running molecular-level simulations of cells, and designing nanostructures. In order to for these “exascale computers” to operate, they will need to be able to run an enormous amount of data quickly while keeping power consumption under control. Scientists at IBM in conjunction with DARPA have created an ultra-high-speed prototype optical link that sets a new energy efficiency record. The researchers are set to describe their invention at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (OFC/NFOEC) being held in Anaheim, CA from March 17-21.

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The team was able to build their optic link by combining IBM’s 32 nanometer silicon-on-insulator with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (SOI CMOS) with advanced vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSELs) and photodetectors fabricated by Sumimoto Electric Device Innovations USA. The resulting device is able to operate at 25 gigabits per second and use only 24 milliwatts of wall plug-in electricity. “Compared to our previous work, we have increased the speed by 66 percent while cutting the power in half,” says IBM staff member and Jonathan E. Proesel.

The presentation entitled “35-Gb/s VCSEL Optic Link using 32 nm SOI CMOS circuits” will be given on March 18 at 2pm at the Anaheim Convention Center.



Images via IBM and Wikicommons user Odie5533