[News] Intel, SK Hynix, and NTT Japan Collaborate to Develop Next-Generation Silicon Photonics Technology

Japanese telecommunications operator NTT is reportedly collaborating with American chipmaker Intel and other semiconductor manufacturers to research large-scale production of next-generation semiconductor technology, which involves significantly reducing power consumption using optical technology.

According to a report from Nikkei, SK Hynix is also set to participate in this initiative, expected to counter China through collaborative research and development strategies.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government will provide approximately JPY 45 billion in support. As cited by Nikkei quoting Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry, Japan can lead the world in this technology as part of its strategy to revitalize the national semiconductor industry.

These companies are reportedly aiming to develop equipment manufacturing technology that integrates light with semiconductors and memory technology capable of storing data at Terabit-class speeds by the fiscal year 2027. Intel will provide technical development suggestions, aiming to reduce power consumption by 30-40% compared to conventional products.

As semiconductor scaling reaches physical limits, as per a report from TechNews, the industry is turning towards light. When combined with semiconductors, known as silicon photonics, it is expected to significantly reduce energy consumption. This technology is also seen as potentially game-changing for the semiconductor industry.

Signals received through optical communication is converted into electrical signals by specialized equipment, which are then transmitted to data center servers. Semiconductors within the servers then exchange electrical signals to process computations and memory. With the proliferation of AI and the need to process massive amounts of data, the demand for optical technology is anticipated to increase.

The integration of silicon photonics still presents numerous challenges, primarily concerning interface communication protocols. Consequently, synchronization in communication among semiconductor manufacturers is essential for the realization of silicon photonics technology.

Therefore, NTT aims to coordinate necessary technologies through collaboration with Intel and SK Hynix.

NTT holds a global leadership position in integrating optical and electronic technologies, having successfully pioneered the foundational technology of using light for transistor circuits. This achievement was published in the British scientific journal “Nature Photonics” in 2019, leading to the introduction of the IOWN (Innovative Optical and Wireless Network) fully optical network based on this technology.

(Photo credit: Intel)

Please note that this article cites information from Nikkei and TechNews.

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