IBM Demonstrates Optical Chipset, Trumps Thunderbolt by 100xIBM has just demonstrated its optical chipset to the world, and it is capable of handling 1 terabit a second. Which is 100x faster than Apple’s Thunderbolt, based on copper wires. As The Verge points out, that is like streaming 500 high definition movies every second. The chipset is meant to decode data from fiber-optic cables running bewteen devices and your computer.
As great as fiber optic cables are, they’ve long suffered fro ma problem: when the light gets to the end of the tunnel, it still have to be converted back into electrical impulses. This chipset addresses this problem. Sure, it might not be as fast as the eventual optical computers will be, but it’s hardly shabby.
Photomicrograph of the back of the IBM Holey Optochip
The best part is that the chip is already small enough to fit into a modern computer. At just 5.2 x 5.8 mm, it could even fit into laptops with ease. It is even built with conventional semiconductor fabrication techniques, so IBM can mass-produce these easily. As if that wasn’t enough, the chip only consumes 5 watts of power, making it one of the most power efficient optical chipset out there. Of course, that is still far more power draw than USB would require.
IBM is hoping to "improve on the technology for commercialization in the next decade with the collaboration of manufacturing partners." Which is another way of saying that the company plans on sitting on this tech for quite a while. Seriously, if they were able to get this out within a few years, they could dominate the peripheral market within one. Hopefully they do decide to do something with this technology. It would be a shame to see it die.