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Wireless Revolution May Reach Inside Microchips


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Wireless technology is often credited with making us more productive. Now it looks like it could also improve the inner workings of our computers. Wireless transmission may become the most efficient method of moving data the length of tiny processors.

Microchips continue to become more powerful as designers find ways to cram greater numbers of transistors into tighter spaces. But in those cramped conditions the electronic signals sent down metal wires--the interconnects between transistors--can suffer interference, degrading performance. The answer is to go wireless, claim Nader Engheta at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Andrea Alù at the University of Texas in Austin.

Right now, most chip designers are considering systems based on so-called nanometallic waveguides to overcome interference. Here, a pulse of light is fired onto the solid waveguide, generating a ripple in the electrons that hug the material's surface. These electrons whizz along the surface carrying information with them, without interference from signals in neighbouring waveguides.

From New Scientist
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