Holey Optochip Transfers One Trillion Bits of Information

IBM scientists have developed a prototype optical chipset, called Holey Optochip, that is the first parallel optical transceiver to transfer one trillion bits – one terabit – of information per second, the equivalent of downloading 500 high definition movies. The report will occur at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference taking place in Los Angeles, Calif.

Read the announcement on ibm.com.

Holey Optochip capabilities
  • The raw speed of one transceiver is equivalent to the bandwidth consumed by 100,000 users at today’s typical 10 Mb/s high-speed internet access.
  • Or, it would take just around an hour to transfer the entire U.S. Library of Congress web archive through the transceiver.
  • The transceiver consumes less than 5 watts; the power consumed by a 100W light bulb could power 20 transceivers.


  1. Awesome accomplishment (though it boggles my mind). Love the name. Will there be a YouTube video? I know you folks are very busy, but I do enjoy seeing Research videos.

    1. 1Tb = 500 HD movies. Not so much. 500 HD movies is more like 2500 to 5000GB, or 2.5 to 5TB, or 20 to 40Tb. An impressive achievement, but not helped by exaggerated numbers.

    2. These speeds are at or near chip...they still need to travel thru the much narrower "pipes" that make up much of the internet especially at the receiving end thus slowing end user performance.

  2. It would be nice to have a link to the OFC paper with some real details instead of goofy comparisons to the power consumption of a 100w lightbulb. Assuming this was sponsored research, it would also be appropriate to name the sponsor/client.

  3. I'd like to have a keychain of it. Looks cool

  4. Comparisons here give us ideas on the kind of economics involved and the performance to expect. This article may not be upto scartch from a scientist's point of view but it does make an interesting read for the general audience.

    Great achivement IBM. Way to go !!!!

  5. Great achivement! I really like that great inventions drive the innovative thinking on how we can use this new technology in stead of the other way around. Who would believed 10 years ago that we could measure the speed of neutrinos in a lab like we do in Switzerland.

  6. Hello guys in research. Can you please develop 2 more chips that I could plug in my brain : one that would enable me read the complete library of congress in one hour, and the second one to help me UNDERSTAND the content of this library... Seriously great job !