(Online Course) Contemporary Issues for IAS Mains 2012: Sci & Tech Issues – Nano Lasers For Faster Micro Processors

Science and Technological Issues

Nano Lasers For Faster Micro Processors

  • Engineers have found a way to grow nano lasers — lasers able
    to produce beams at nano scale — directly onto a silicon surface,
    potentially opening the way to a new class of faster and more efficient

  • Increasing demands on electronics have sent researchers in
    search of better ways to harness the inherent ability of light particles to
    carry far more data than electrical signals can, the journal Nature
    Photonics reports.

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A Solution

  • Optical interconnects are seen as a solution to overcoming
    the communications bottleneck within and between computer chips, according
    to a University of California statement.

  • Because silicon is extremely deficient at generating light,
    engineers have turned to another class of materials known as III—V
    semiconductors to create light-based components such as light-emitting
    diodes (LEDs) and lasers.

  • But the researchers pointed out that marrying III—V with
    silicon to create a single optoelectronic chip has been problematic.

  • For one, the atomic structures of the two materials are

  • “Growing III—V semiconductor films on silicon is like
    forcing two incongruent puzzle pieces together,” said study author Roger
    Chen, who is a University of California, Berkeley, graduate in electrical
    engineering and computer sciences.

  • “It can be done, but the material gets damaged in the

  • The researchers overcame this limitation by finding a way to
    grow nano pillars made of indium gallium arsenide, a III—V material, onto a
    silicon surface at the relatively cool temperature of 400 degrees Celsius. —

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