Structured Materials Receives Funding to Develop Inter-Chip Optical Communications

Structured Materials Industries, Inc. (SMI) reports that it has received NSF Phase I SBIR funding to investigate and develop CMOS-compatible inter-chip optical communications for computers in cooperation with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL). In this program, SMI and LBNL will develop an inter-chip optical communications platform for computer motherboards with nano-second memory bus latency.

During decades of advancement, computer performance has exploded due to dramatic improvements of CMOS transistor speeds. While operation speeds of IC chips have increased dramatically, inter-chip communication has lagged behind. Today, the dominant performance limiting factor in computing is the long latency time associated with the motherboard data bus.

Building upon recent photonic device and micro electronic integration developments, SMI will use its experience in IC manufacturing and optoelectronic technologies to develop a unique optical motherboard system with nano-second memory bus latency. The Computer Science Department of LBNL will contribute expertise in computer architecture modeling and benchmarks. This patented all-silicon technology is compatible with existing CMOS fabrication, producing a low-cost monolithically integrated system that will revolutionize computer performance, reducing memory bus latency by a factor of 10-20, while minimizing the costs of adopting this new technology.

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