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IBM's light pulse love affair continues with tiniest nanophotonic switch

Darren Murph

Merely months after IBM first inserted silicon nanophotonics into our memory bank, and just weeks after we drooled all over ourselves reading about its green optical link, the mega-corp has chosen St. Patrick's Day to trumpet the development of the "world's tiniest nanophotonic switch." The device, which boasts a footprint "about 100 times smaller than the cross section of a human hair," is said to be a vital part of creating an on-chip optical network. More specifically, it's bringing the gurus behind it one step closer to conjuring up multi-core CPUs that transmit data with light pulses rather than relying on electrical signals on copper wires. This particular switch would essentially divert traffic within the network, ensuring that "optical messages from one processor core could efficiently get to any of the other cores on the chip." Keep on livin' the dream IBM -- just ping us when this stuff is anywhere near ready for the commercial market.

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