In a study released last week, Swedish and Danish scientists announced the creation of an ultrafast laser-powered chip. The small electronic circuit can transmit almost twice as much data currently circulated on the Internet per second and works over a fiber optic cable. The novelty is already attracting powerful telecommunications customers, who are increasingly demanding faster and more efficient technology.
According to the researchers, the creation could mean faster broadband speeds. In addition, the laser-powered chip would reduce the amount of energy needed to operate the Internet, which accounts for about 10% of global electricity consumption. If commercialized, high-powered computers would rival those of NASA.
During the experiment, the chip reached impressive speeds. Thus, the amount of data that the researchers sent corresponds to approximately 1.84 petabytes. The number exceeds the roughly 1 petabyte of data transmitted across the Internet every second.
“The internet is a huge energy consumer,” Leif Katsuo Oxenløwe, the study’s principal investigator, said in an interview. “We need to be able to support the continued growth of the internet, but we need to develop new energy efficient technologies.”
Despite sounding promising, the project is still in the research phase and could take years to start being commercialized. “It’s not very often that such a technological product is born,” said John Ballato, a professor of materials science at Clemson University.