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Network Hardware Science

MIT Researchers Make Advance Toward Photonic Circuits 55

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the look-into-the-light dept.
MrSeb writes with this excerpt from an article in Extreme Tech: "Light-emitting diodes are a cornerstone of consumer tech. They make thin-and-light TVs and smartphones possible, provide efficient household, handheld, and automobile illumination, and, of course, without LEDs your router would not have blinkenlights. Thanks to some engineers from MIT, though, a new diode looks set to steal the humble LED's thunder. Dubbed a diode for light, and crafted using standard silicon chip fabrication techniques, this is a key discovery that will pave the path to photonic (as opposed to electronic) pathways on computer chips and circuit boards. The diode for light — which is made from a thin layer of garnet — is transparent in one direction, but opaque in the other. Garnet is usually hard to deposit on a silicon wafer, but the MIT researchers found a way to do it."
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MIT Researchers Make Advance Toward Photonic Circuits

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  • by Zouden (232738) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @11:23AM (#38149414)

    The summary (taken from the first article) implies that these new diodes are going to supersede LEDs, but they have completely different purposes. LEDs make lights, these things don't.

  • by bigredradio (631970) on Wednesday November 23, 2011 @11:25AM (#38149430) Homepage Journal
    From the article -

    The whole system could be made using standard microchip manufacturing machinery, Ross says. “It simplifies making an all-optical chip,” she says. The design of the circuit can be produced “just like an integrated-circuit person can design a whole microprocessor. Now, you can do an integrated optical circuit.” That could make it much easier to commercialize than a system based on different materials, Ross says. “A silicon platform is what you want to use,” she says, because “there’s a huge infrastructure for silicon processing. Everyone knows how to process silicon. That means they can set about developing the chip without having to worry about new fabrication techniques.”

    It is good to see someone is coming up with an innovation that can "actually" be introduced. Seems like I read about new innovations every day on slashdot that never get off the ground because completely new manufacturing processes need to be created. Hopefully this will actually make it because it requires fewer changes by manufacturers (which can be significant barriers to innovation).

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