JAPANESE COMPUTING GIANT Fujitsu has revealed that its research labs have developed an optical switch that uses half the power of current technology.
The firm's new optical waveguide switch, which traditionally uses silicon photonics to connect paths of optical signals and act as a switch between them, proposes the use of fine-patterned silicon germanium. According to Fujitsu, the change results in a significant drop in power consumption while retaining the switching properties of silicon.
As the consumption of bandwidth rises, the costs associated with not only providing server capacity but also network infrastructure is growing, says Fujitsu. Therefore technologies that reduce the power consumption of interconnects such as optical switches are growing in importance. The firm says its new optical switching gear is aimed to cloud service providers and those looking to transport ultra high definition video streaming.
The silicon germanium switches operate at 1.5mW, about half that of silicon optical switching elements. This is primarily due to a narrower band gap, which allows for higher efficiency electron accumulation and in turn requires lower power when switching.
Fujitsu is presenting the advantages of using fine-patterned silicon germanium optical switches in greater detail at the IEEE Photonics Society PHO 2010 conference currently being held in Denver, Colorado. µ
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