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How to Transmit Light Instead of Electricity on PC Boards
3/14/2013

A new silicone-based material developed by Dow Corning and IBM promises to enable flexible, stable, and easily processable board-level optical waveguides, like the prototype shown here, for high-speed data transfer.  (Source: IBM Research)
A new silicone-based material developed by Dow Corning and IBM promises to enable flexible, stable, and easily processable board-level optical waveguides, like the prototype shown here, for high-speed data transfer.
(Source: IBM Research)

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Mode of Data transfer
Ann R. Thryft   3/15/2013 12:24:28 PM
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Mydesign, the idea is definitely revolutionary, although it isn't new, as we see from 10 years of research. But copper doesn't complete disappear from the board--not yet, anyway.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Informative
Ann R. Thryft   3/15/2013 12:23:53 PM
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Thanks, Chuck. Looks to me like some patient, careful R&D on the part of two big companies that know how to do patient, careful R&D and have the deep pockets for it. Plus how to come up with a practical solution that addresses all the challenges. I don't see that very often.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Informative
Nancy Golden   3/15/2013 9:30:03 AM
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I agree Charles - we have been hearing of this technology for years - transmitting light to carry data in computers. It's nice to see someone is working on a solution and it is starting to become something that may be marketable in the near future...

Mydesign
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Re: Informative
Mydesign   3/15/2013 5:20:15 AM
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Ann, there is no doubt that light can carry more information at a higher speed. Moreover, I think signal losses are also very less and what about the cost factor when compare with the conventional method of data transfer.

Mydesign
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Mode of Data transfer
Mydesign   3/15/2013 5:17:10 AM
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"Although fiber optics has replaced copper wires for communications connections outside the system, the time has come to move those speed advantages inside to board and chip data interconnects."

Ann you are right, in most of the high speed data connectivity, all copper/coaxial cables are replaced by optical fibers. I think the next stage is transferring data through laser or light.

78RPM
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Re: Informative
78RPM   3/14/2013 10:53:16 PM
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Hmm. Maybe Corning is less boring an investment than we thought.

Charles Murray
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Re: Informative
Charles Murray   3/14/2013 3:37:12 PM
Great story, Ann. Reading it -- especially the part about the cost advantages -- makes me wonder what's holding this technology back. Sure seems like there should be a market for it.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Informative
Ann R. Thryft   3/14/2013 1:25:11 PM
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Thanks, Elizabeth. Summarizing these technologies can be quite a challenge. This one is especially exciting because it's been worked on for so long, and has great promise.

Elizabeth M
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Informative
Elizabeth M   3/14/2013 12:46:54 PM
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Informative article on something I didn't know much about. As usual, Ann, you write about complexity in a way even non-technical people can understand.

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