The use of information technology is exponentially growing and has become so frequent that information processing, transmitting and storing accounted for estimated 5% of world electricity production in 2012. As this growth is expected to continue, we need to find a way to decrease energy consumption.
The goal of this project is the development of an innovative optical on-chip network. This effort is part of a collaborative project which addresses the need for an energy-efficient data storage device. This network will switch and direct light pulses to spintronic memory elements, as well as illuminate them to ‘write’ data. Energy consumption of this device will be reduced by two orders of magnitude compared to present-day memory technology.
Integrated photonics offers a promising platform for new energy-efficient on-chip technologies with the number of photonic elements on optical chips increasing at a rate comparable to Moore’s law. Together with the recent discovery of magnetization reversal by short optical pulses, an optically switchable spintronic memory element becomes feasible. This enables the unique integration of photonics and spintronic memory elements. The project is conducted in collaboration with IMEC/Ghent University (BE), Radboud University (NL), SpinTEC (FR) and QuantumWise (DK).
Project title: Silicon photonics for future spintronic-photonic memory
Project period: Oct 2016 - Sept 2019