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MIT researchers cram optical circuitry on a silicon chip

Darren Murph
02.14.07
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It looks like MIT is raising the bar yet again, as this time it's taking a break from crafting autonomous UAVs and stackable vehicles to cram optical circuitry on your everyday silicon chip. In an effort to "integrate the optical circuitry with electronic circuitry" on the same silicon wafer, researchers have devised a method which will harness the "enormous power of light waves in networks" while offering up a way to manufacture the circuitry cheaply. The crew has reportedly already been playing around with a working prototype, and suggests that it could eventually "redefine how optical networks are built." Moreover, the development addresses the existing "signal weakening over distance" issue in fiber optic transmissions by "splitting the light beams as they pass through a circuit, rotating one of the polarized beams, and finally rejoining them on their way out of the circuit, which retains the signals' strength." While there's no projection of when this technology could actually hit the mainstream, anything that makes it less expensive to rollout FiOS (and similar networks) to more people most definitely has our vote.

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