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Intel, Ayar Labs Produce Photonics-Based Microelectronics Tech for DARPA

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Intel and Emeryville, Calif.-based semiconductor manufacturer Ayar Labs have developed a light-based chip connectivity technology as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s  Photonics in the Package for Extreme Scalability effort.

DARPA said Wednesday that Intel and Ayar Labs demonstrated the use of optical signaling for microelectronics to replace traditional electrical input/output components and support high-speed datalinks through single-mode optical fibers.

As part of the PIPES effort, the two firms used Ayar Labs’ TeraPHY optical I/O chiplet which has a bandwidth capacity of 2 terabits per second. The team also used Intel’s chiplet packaging processes and low-power signaling capabilities that the company developed under DARPA’s CHIPS effort.

Gordon Keeler, PIPES program manager for DARPA, said the agency aims to produce photonics technology capable of handling more than 100 Tbps to support applications like artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, next-generation radars and large-scale emulation.

According to DARPA, the Intel-Ayar Labs team will work on furthering the development of integrated photonics technologies to support high signaling rates and address demands for latency and bandwidth density throughout the PIPES effort’s subsequent phases.