IBM has achieved a significant advancement in chip technology that will produce smaller, faster and more power-efficient chips than is feasible with current chip-making techniques. The new technology is called CMOS Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics and is the result of a 10-year research effort across IBM's global research labs.
IBM researchers have generated dozens of pending and issued patents associated with the technology, which integrates electrical and optical devices on the same piece of silicon, and enables computer chips to communicate using pulses of light (instead of electrical signals).
Some of the CMOS Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics patents that IBM inventors hold, include:
U.S. Patent #7,790,495 - Optoelectronic device with germanium photodetector
U.S. Patent #7,738,753 - CMOS compatible integrated dielectric optical waveguide coupler and fabrication
U.S. Patent #7,711,212 - Junction field effect transistor geometry for optical modulators
U.S. Patent #7,684,666 - Method and apparatus for tuning an optical delay line
CMOS Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics is expected to facilitate terabyte-per-second class of single-chip transceivers that will further IBM's Exascale computing program, which is aimed at producing a supercomputer capable of performing one million trillion calculations—or an Exaflop—in a single second.
IBM researchers Yurii Vlasov, William Green, Solomon Assefa, Alexander Rylyakov, Clint Schow and Folkert Horst contributed to the development effort that led to the Nanophotonics technology achievement.