You don't hear the words silicon photonics dropped in casual conversation every day, but the concept is increasingly important to computer designers. Caltech start-up Luxtera, along with Intel and others are trying to produce components for optical communications--wave guides, modulators, etc.--out of silicon.
Historically, optical components are expensive to make. Optical--which transmits data by photons--is far superior in terms of performance to communicating through electrical signals sent over copper wire. Heat and power consumption also copper is one day doomed, said Cary Gunn, Co-Founder, Vice President of Technology
"100 gigabit copper is completely impossible," he said. … Read more