Silicon nanophotonics could answer data needs if manufacturing requirements are met

January 21, 2011 — The amount of data that will need to be moved in the not-too-distant future motivates research into a better way to connect devices, said Intel Fellow and director of the Photonics Lab at Intel Labs, Mario Paniccia, at SEMI’s Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS, 1/9-1/12/11, Half Moon Bay, CA). For example, one complete medical scan takes 1petabyte (PB) of data; looking ahead, HD videos will generate about 12exabytes (EB)/yr and ultra high density (UHD) will require connections of 60Gbps. One high-energy physics experiment alone generates 300EB/yr of data, noted Paniccia. With more than 15B connected devices forecast by 2015, he says that bridging photonics and computing will drive high-speed links.

Listen to Paniccia’s interview:  Download (for iPhone/iPod users)  or Play Now  

In a podcast interview with senior technical editor, Debra Vogler, Paniccia discusses the manufacturing requirements for silicon photonics. He believes that even though much of the equipment already in use for CMOS silicon will still be needed — for example, 65nm lithography equipment will be sufficient — optical testers are a new requirement. To bring silicon photonics to a mass market, different types of measurements will need to done, including measuring the index of refraction over the wafer, and testing photonic devices at the wafer level, which requires optical testers that can test at a reasonable cost.

Also read: ISS 2011: Forecasts and strategies, photonics as a data shovel by Michael A. Fury, Techcet Group 

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