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From Technology Review: IBM announced what it called a technological breakthrough today in San Francisco. The company verified in a manufacturing environment the feasibility of using light instead of electrical signals to transmit information. IBM had proven the concept of such technology, called “silicon nanophotonics,” back in 2010, but this announcement, following a decade of research, nudges the field towards commercial applications. In its 2010 announcement, IBM described the invention succinctly: a chip that “integrates electrical and optical devices on the same piece of silicon, enabling computer chips to communicate using pulses of light (instead of electrical signals), resulting in smaller, faster and more power-efficient chips than is possible with conventional technologies.”

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