Every year, computer performance has increased exponentially due to a huge surge in new technological methods in order to enhance computers processing power. One of these methods consists of compacting transistors into a tighter space in Silicon microchips, which helps speed up communication across the motherboard. However, by compacting transistors into a smaller area has also resulted in â€œpacking the wiring between the microprocessors tighter togetherâ€. This has caused a phenomenon is known as â€œsignal leakageâ€ to occur, which is causing some slowdown or â€˜interconnect bottlenecking’ communication between the different parts of the computer chip. As technology continues to grow exponentially, transistors and wiring will continue to be compacted into an even smaller space; causing interconnect bottlenecking to be more of a predicament in the upcoming years of â€œhigh-speed computing systemsâ€.
As of recent years, scientists have discovered that one of the easiest ways to transmit data is using light at different frequencies. This form of transmitting information can also be applied to silicon microchips, however, according to Pablo Jarillo-Herrero this is a very difficult task to accomplish due to the fact that Silicon does not emit light; in order to use this method scientists must use materials which are able to emit light.
In addition to Siliconâ€™s poor light-emitting properties, it also one of the most selective semiconductors there is since not many semiconductors are compatible with Silicon. While many materials such as Gallium can enhance optoelectronics and optical communications on computer chips; they, however, â€œcannot be grown on Silicon very easily because they are incompatibleâ€.
Another difficulty that is presenting itself is that the majority of the materials that emit light, emit it in the visible spectrum. As previously stated Silicon does not emit light very well, the reason for this is because Silicon absorbs light in the visible spectrum. Therefore, placing a material which emits light on a Silicon microchip would result in no light to emit.
In a recent paper written by Ya-Qing Bie, who has joined up Jarillo-Herrero states that they have been able to create a device which both emits and detects light that â€œcan be integrated into Silicon CMOS chipsâ€. This device was created from a new semi-conductor called Molybdenum, is an â€œultrathinâ€ almost 2-D material which unlike other semiconductors this material is compatible with silicon, and â€œit can be stacked on top of silicon wafersâ€ according to Jarillo-Herrero.
In addition to the compatibility, this material emits light, but unlike other semiconductors this material emits light in the infrared spectrum, which canâ€™t be absorbed by Silicon. This will then result in higher communication speed, and reduce slowdown since all information is being transmitted using different light frequencies.
Author: Angel Veloz, Sabre88 LLC
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