Modern transistors, which function as the brain cells of a computer, take up very little space. When placed too tightly, problems such as electron congestion and overheating can occur. Replacing some electronic circuits with optical connections that use photons instead of electrons to carry data around a chip is the solution, but the main material in computer chips, silicon, is very bad at emitting light.
A team of European researchers says they have finally overcome this obstacle. A research team led by physicist Erik Bakkers from Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands published an article detailing how they developed light-emitting silicon alloy nanowires. This problem that physicists have been dealing with for years has been dealt with in detail by Bakkers and his team.
According to the team, the integration of photon-based circuits into conventional electronic chips provides faster data transfer and lower energy consumption without raising the temperature of the chip; this can be especially useful for applications where data is mainly used. According to the explanation, in the future, this method will enable the production of microchips that combine both optical and electronic circuits.
Bakkers and colleagues say they will use the technique they developed to create a small laser made of silicon alloy as the next step. Bakkers states that the laboratory has started to work on this subject and that a silicone laser will definitely emerge by the end of the year. When the new discovery takes place, the next challenge will be to find out how to integrate the laser into traditional electronic computer chips. Bakkers adds that they worked hard as a team to conduct the research.
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