Optical IBM "Holey" Chip Moves Data At 1Tbps

IBM has anounced unveiled a prototype optical chipset nicknamed "Holey Optichip" which the company says is the first "parallel optical" transceiver capable of moving one terabit of data per second.

That's equivalent to 7.5TB of data (or roughly 1800 DVDs) per minute and would siphon the entire U.S. Library of Congress web archive in 60 minutes.

IBM scientists have been able to transmit the data through light pulses eight times faster than previous transceivers; these work by sending photons rather than electrons over physical wires.

The Optichip has been built using 48 holes on a standard silicon CMOS chip manufactured using a 90nm process; each transceivers consume a mere 5W, which could easily be cut down with a thinner process.

In addition manufacturing , the Holey Optichip module is commercially viable by using components that are readily available today.

Big blue says that the module could be the precursor to high performance, energy sipping interconnects that can be used in HPC environments and applications such as data anlytics, data modelling and forecasting.

The prototype was demoed at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference taking place in Los Angeles.