IBM’s Awesomely Named “Holey Optochip” Does One Terabit Data Transfer per Second

Submitted by lalit on March 12, 2012 - 8:00pm.

At Optical Fiber Communication Conference in Los Angeles, IBM showed a prototype optical chipset, dubbed “Holey Optochip” that is the first parallel optical transceiver to transfer one trillion bits – one terabit – of information per second.

According to IBM, the new chip can transfer data equivalent to downloading 500 high definition movies per second, making the new chip eight times faster than parallel optical components available today. IBM scientist developed the Holey Optochip by fabricating 48 holes through a standard silicon CMOS chip. The holes allow optical access through the back of the chip to 24 receiver and 24 transmitter channels to produce an ultra-compact, high-performing and power-efficient optical module capable of record setting data transfer rates.

“Reaching the one trillion bit per second mark with the Holey Optochip marks IBM’s latest milestone to develop chip-scale transceivers that can handle the volume of traffic in the era of big data,” said IBM Researcher Clint Schow, part of the team that built the prototype. “We have been actively pursuing higher levels of integration, power efficiency and performance for all the optical components through packaging and circuit innovations. We aim to improve on the technology for commercialization in the next decade with the collaboration of manufacturing partners.”

IBM believes that the breakthrough could transform how data is accessed, shared and used for a new era of communications, computing and entertainment. The raw speed of one transceiver is equivalent to the bandwidth consumed by 100,000 users at today’s typical 10 Mb/s high-speed internet access. Or, it would take just around an hour to transfer the entire U.S. Library of Congress web archive through the transceiver.

IBM says “the Holey Optochip illustrates that high-speed, low-power interconnects are feasible in the near term and optical is the only transmission medium that can stay ahead of the accelerating global demand for broadband.” You can get more information about the Holey Optochip on IBM’s website.