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Lightning-Fast, Efficient Data Transmission Developed at Stanford

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LED carrier

This carrier holds a single chip containing hundreds of the Stanford low-power LEDs integrated together.

Credit: Jan Petykiewicz / Stanford School of Engineering

Stanford University researchers have developed a light-emitting diode (LED) that uses much less power than laser-based systems and can transmit data at 10 billion bits per second, providing a practical source for on-chip data transmission.

"Low-power, electrically-controlled light sources are vital for next-generation optical systems to meet the growing energy demands of the computer industry," says Stanford professor Jelena Vuckovic.

The single-mode LED emits light at a single wavelength, similar to a laser. "Our nanophotonic, single-mode LED can perform all the same tasks as lasers, but at much lower power," says Stanford Ph.D. student Gary Shambat. "Our device is some 2,000 times more energy efficient than best devices in use today," Vuckovic says.

The device runs on small dots of indium arsenide, a light-emitting material, which produces light when pulsed with electricity. These quantum dots are surrounded by photonic crystal, which acts as a mirror that bounces the light toward the center of the device, forcing it to resonate at a single frequency.

"Without these nanophotonic ingredients--the quantum dots and the photonic crystal--it is impossible to make an LED efficient, single-mode, and fast all at the same time," Vuckovic says.

From Stanford Report (CA)
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