Intel makes world's first continuous wave silicon laser

By Derek Sooman on
Intel has been experimenting with the standard silicon manufacturing processes, and has created the world's first continuous wave silicon laser. This technology could herald the coming of inexpensive, high-quality lasers and optical devices to mainstream use in computing. Working with silicon's crystalline structure to amplify light, Intel has been able to produce a continuous, high-quality laser beam. Although far from being ready as a commercial product, Intel feels that this breakthrough will lead to inexpensive optical devices that move data inside and between computers at the speed of light, ushering in a flood of new applications for high-speed computing.

"Fundamentally, we have demonstrated for the first time that standard silicon can be used to build devices that amplify light. The use of high-quality photonic devices has been limited because they are expensive to manufacture, assemble and package. This research is a major step towards bringing the benefits of low-cost, high-bandwidth, silicon-based optical devices to the mass market." - Dr Mario Paniccia, director of Intel's Photonics Technology Lab.

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