IEEE Computer Volume 15 Number 11 -- NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH
Original Publication Date: 1982-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Software Patent Institute
Demetrios Michalopoulos: AUTHOR [+3]
NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH * Ontoelectronic chin sheds new light on microcirc~itrv * Touch panel console is gas station command center
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NEW APPLICATIONS & RECENT RESEARCH
New Applications Editor: Prof. Demetrios Michalopoulos
California State University, Fullerton
Ontoelectronic chin sheds new light on microcirc~itrv
The silicon chip, which revolutionized microcircuitry design, may soon be upstaged by an even more advanced technology. Researchers at the University of Illinois are developing an evolutionary integrated circuit chip that in many respects surpasses the chip that gave us the pocket calculator, digital watch, video games, word processors, and computerized checkout lanes at the supermarket.
The new device, called the optoelectronic chip, is destined to advance electronic circuitry and open up more possibilities, according to Nick Holonyak, a semiconductor device researcher who developed the first red LED and the first red semiconductor laser.
The optoelectronic chip can process electronic signals like the silicon chip but can also process photons, the primary unit of light.
Holonyak believes that the optoelectronic chip will eventually be used in place of the silicon chip in some applications. In others, however, the two chips will complement each other. In addition to processing electronic impulses -- as do diodes, transistors and now silicon chips -- optoelectronic chips process internal optical signals, such as internal laser signals, via optical wave guide sections and other optical elements built into the chip.
Holonyak hopes that research and study involving the new chip will lead to better ways of building lasers and light- emitters. In the next 15 years, optoelectronic chip developments should produce important changes in electronic circuitry and the electronics industry, he maintains.
Using the Materials Research Laboratory and Center for Advanced Study, Holonyak has been experimenting with the artificial structures that make up optoelectronic chips. These structures, called superlattices, are made by scrambling layers of gallium arsenide and aluminum arsenide to produce a complex network of red and yellow crystal capable of transmitting electrical impulses and light in patterns more intricate than those in silicon chips.
Superlattices can be constructed to produce certain patterns for light and electron transmissions, just as silicon chips are etched with certain patterns of electronic circuitry. "We can put together any pattern we want,"
Holonyak said. "What we have now is the beginnings of an optoelectronic chip, a chip where the red regions can send signals from one region to another."
By putting electrical energy into the...