Researchers at Oregon State University have designed and fabricated the world’s smallest electro-optic modulator, which could mean major reductions in energy used by data centers and supercomputers.
An electro-optic modulator plays the key role in fiber optic networks. Just as a transistor is a switch for electronic signals, an electro-optic modulator is a switch for optical signals. Optical communication uses light, so the modulator turns on and off the light that sends a stream of binary signals over optical fibers.
The new modulator is 10 times smaller and can potentially be 100 times more energy efficient than the best previous devices. It is roughly the size of a bacterium, measuring 0.6 by 8 microns.
“This is by far the most exciting research I have ever done because of the impact the device will bring and because of the challenge it was for design and fabrication,” said Alan Wang, associate professor of electrical engineering in the OSU College of Engineering.
The paper was published by Nano Letters.
For their invention, Wang and his doctoral student, Erwen Li, leveraged technology also developed at Oregon State: transparent conductive oxide materials. The structure they invented uses a transparent conductive oxide gate instead of a typical metal gate to combine a metal-oxide semiconductor capacitor with an ultra-compact photonic crystal nanocavity.
The design, combining innovations in materials and devices, enhanced the interaction between electronics and photonics, which enabled the researchers to create a smaller electro-optic modulator.
Wang had consulted his colleagues in industry about whether he was on the right track for developing something they could use.
“They told me reducing the size and reducing the energy consumption is going to be the trend in the next five to 10 years in industry. So this is exactly the kind of device they’re looking for,” Wang said.
The Latest on: Energy consumption
Metal-organic frameworks cut energy consumption of petrochemicals
on March 15, 2018 at 8:03 am
Chemical engineers have developed a new method for making meta-organic framework membranes that can be used to considerably improve energy-expensive processes such as propylene-propane separation, which accounts for 40% of energy used in the global ... […]
BP: Clean technology could cut consumption by 40%
on March 15, 2018 at 7:18 am
Improvements in energy efficiency could cut primary consumption by around 40% through increasing vehicle efficiency, improving building design and using less energy in cooking and washing. That’s according to a new report from BP, which suggests while ... […]
EV Fleet Analyzer Tool Aims To Predict Energy Consumption For New Routes
on March 14, 2018 at 8:25 am
New energy solution providers Viriciti and Simacan announced a new tool that aims to predict the energy consumption of electric vehicles based on road and vehicle data. The EV Fleet Analyzer is the first solution of its kind that is able to estimate energy ... […]
Parasitic extensions to Paris apartment building could reduce energy consumption
on March 14, 2018 at 3:55 am
Our latest Dezeen x MINI Living video features a proposal by Malka Architecture to improve the energy efficiency of a Parisian apartment building, by attaching boxy, parasitic extensions to its exterior. Titled Plug-in City 75, the proposal would see ... […]
Quantum1Net Solves Structural Flaws in Security & Energy Consumption for Crypto-currency
on March 13, 2018 at 6:45 am
NEW YORK, NY, March 13, 2018 -- Quantum1 Network Technologies (“Quantum1Net” or the “Company”), a quantum computing technology company, is announcing today a technology platform to address structural flaws preventing the mass adoption of crypto ... […]
KTDA-managed factories cut energy consumption by 15 per cent in efficiency drive
on March 12, 2018 at 10:48 pm
Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) factories have reduced the amount of energy used to process a kilo of green tea by an average 15 per cent over the past four years. The reduction in both electricity and firewood consumption was recorded between 2013 and ... […]
Banfield Pet Hospital cuts emissions, energy consumption
on March 12, 2018 at 12:39 pm
Primark has created the Global Sourcing Map, which will improve transparency by helping consumers learn about all of the factories and suppliers in its supply chain. The map includes data on the 1,071 factories and suppliers in Primark's supply chain ... […]
Energy consumption in modern microcontroller systems, part 4: MCU datasheets, operation modes, controllbits, and more
on March 5, 2018 at 11:49 pm
Energy consumption comparison of microcontroller/system on chip (MCU/SoC) systems – is one benchmark enough or do we need a parametric benchmark? An important factor in the selection, market positioning, and success of a product is the energy consumption ... […]
U.S International Energy Agency predicts 48% growth in world energy consumption by 2040
on March 4, 2018 at 4:00 am
The EIA projects that there will be a 48% increase in world energy consumption from 2012 (backdated) to the year 2040. Its International Energy Outlook 2016 (IEO2016) report looked at countries with fast economic growth, particularly in Asia. The two ... […]
via Google News and Bing News