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Germanium made laser compatible
Date:4/22/2013

art, which enables the electrons within the material to reach energy levels that are favourable for the generation of light particles, so-called photons.

Germanium laser for the computer of the future

The interdisciplinary research team's method could increase the performance of future computer generations considerably. After all, in order to improve comput-er performance, computer chips have constantly been made smaller and more densely packed. However, this approach will eventually reach its limits in the foreseeable future. "In order to further increase performance and speed, the individual components need to be linked more closely and communicate with each other more efficiently," explains Sess. This requires new transmission paths that are faster than today, where the signals are still transmitted via elec-tricity and copper cables.

"The future way to go is light," says Geiger. However, in order to be able to use light to transfer data, first of all light sources are needed that are so small as to fit onto a chip and react well to silicon, the base material of all computer chips. Silicon itself is not suitable for the emission of laser light, which is also the reason why it is so important for the researchers to make germanium laser-compatible: "Germanium is perfectly compatible with silicon and already used in the computer industry for the production of silicon chips," explains Geiger. If it is possible to build tiny lasers out of germanium using the new method, a system change is within reach. "We're on the right track," says Sess. The international team of researchers is currently in the process of actually constructing a germa-nium laser with the new method.


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Contact: Martin Sueess
mmartin.sueess@emez.ethz.ch
41-446-336-408
ETH Zurich
Source:Eurekalert

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