Self-Calibrated Photonic-Chip Bridges Data Superhighways

Researchers have created a self-calibrated photonic chip that builds bridges between data superhighways, revolutionizing the connectivity of current optical chips and replacing bulky 3D optics with a wafer-thin slice of silicon.

This development can warp-speed the global advancement of artificial intelligence and offers significant real-world applications such as:

  • autonomous vehicles that interpret their surroundings rapidly
  • rapid medical diagnosis with artificial intelligence 
  • faster natural language processing for virtual personal assistants
  • smaller optical network switches

Whether turning on a TV or keeping a satellite on the course, photonics (the science of light) is transforming the way we live. The photonic chips can transform bulky bench-sized utilities’ processing capability onto fingernail-sized chips.

Self-calibrated chips are significant because they make tunable photonic integrated circuits useful in the real world. Their applications include optical communications systems that switch signals to destinations based on color, high-speed computations of similarity (correlators), scientific instrumentation for chemical or biological analysis, and even astronomy.

It is a technological breakthrough in a device with an on-chip reference system that allows all its components to work as one. It will enable researchers to address bottleneck internet issues by rapidly reconfiguring the optical networks that carry our internet to get data where it’s most needed.

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