One step closer to terahertz computer chips
Following three years of research, scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) have created technology that will enable our computers, and all optic communication devices, to run 100 times faster through terahertz microchips. Their work has been published in the journal Laser and Photonics Review.
Until now, two major challenges stood in the way of creating the terahertz microchip: overheating and scalability. However, physicist Dr Uriel Levy and his team have now shown proof of concept for an optic technology that integrates the speed of optic (light) communications with the reliability — and manufacturing scalability — of electronics.
Optic communications encompass all technologies that use light and transmit through fibre-optic cables, such as the internet, email, text messages, phone calls, the cloud and data centres, among others. Optic communications are superfast, but in microchips they become unreliable and difficult to replicate in large quantities.
By using a metal-oxide-nitride-oxide-silicon (MONOS) structure, Dr Levy and his team have come up with a new integrated circuit that uses flash memory technology — the kind used in flash drives and discs-on-key — in microchips. If successful, this technology will enable standard 8–16 GHz computers to run 100 times faster and will bring all optic devices closer to the Holy Grail of communications: the terahertz chip.
“This discovery could help fill the ‘terahertz gap’ and create new and more powerful wireless devices that could transmit data at significantly higher speeds than currently possible,” Dr Levy said. “In the world of hi-tech advances, this is game-changing technology.”
Meir Grajower, the leading PhD student on the project, added, “It will now be possible to manufacture any optical device with the precision and cost-effectiveness of flash technology.”
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