Researchers at Canada’s University of Toronto have developed a “paint-on” laser that could be used in future to connect microprocessors on a computer chip.
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The development could help overcome the “interconnect bottleneck”, which is expected to limit further increases in the speed of computer chips within the next few years, as they reach a point where components cannot work any faster.
Ted Sargent, a Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology at the university, has created the new laser using colloidal quantum dots — nanometre-sized particles of semiconductor that are suspended in solvent, in a similar way to the particles in paint.
Sargent said, “We’ve made a laser that can be smeared onto another material. This is the first paint-on semiconductor laser to produce the invisible colours of light needed to carry information through fiber-optics. The infrared light could, in the future, be used to connect microprocessors on a silicon computer chip.”
Interest in quantum dot laser technology is growing in the computer and telecommunications industries. Last week Fujitsu announced the launch of a company to commercialise high-performance quantum dot lasers for the optical telecommunications industry, in a joint venture with general trading firm Mitsui.