IEDM 2012 – IBM develops 90nm silicon nanophotonics chip

On December 10th, IBM announced its achievements in transmitting information using optical pulses instead of electrical signals for the realization of future computing.

The details of the result will be described in “A 90nm” by Dr. Solomon Assefa of the company at the “IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM 2012)” held in San Francisco, USA from December 10th (US time). Published as a paper entitled “CMOS Integrated Nano-Photonics Technology for 25Gbps WDM Optical Communications Applications”.

Silicon nanophotonics uses optical pulses for communication to provide a high-speed network for high-speed transmission of large amounts of data between computer chips installed in servers, large-scale data centers, and supercomputers. Technology that enables. By connecting systems and chips with optical fibers, it is possible to transfer terabytes of data via optical pulses, which is expected to provide a solution to big data issues.

Based on the initial proof of concept announced in 2010, the company has solved major issues related to the transition of silicon nanophotonics technology to mass-produced foundries. In fact, by adding several processing modules to our high-performance 90nm CMOS production line, a wide variety of silicon nanophotonics components such as wavelength-splitting multiplexers, modulators, and detectors can be placed next to CMOS integrated circuits. Succeeded in accumulating. The company explains that this will allow single-chip optical communication transceivers to be manufactured in a conventional semiconductor process, resulting in significant cost savings compared to conventional approaches.

In addition, as a result of actual measurement, it was proved that the transceiver exceeds the data transfer speed of 25 Gbps per channel. In addition, a small on-chip wavelength-splitting multiplexer can be used to send multiple parallel optical data streams to a single optical fiber, allowing multiple transmissions of this large amount of data streams between remote computer systems. It is said that it will be possible to scale optical communication that can transmit data in terabyte units.

Silicon nanophotonics chip created by IBM. The optical wiring and the electrical wiring were formed on the same chip. An optical waveguide in which the blue line transmits a high-speed optical signal.The yellow wire is the copper wiring for transmitting electrical signals.