|By Business Wire
|February 4, 2013 12:01 PM EST
Today at the Photonics West conference, Dow Corning and IBM scientists
unveiled a major step in photonics, using a new type of polymer material
to transmit light instead of electrical signals within supercomputers
and data centers. This new silicone-based material offers better
physical properties, including robustness and flexibility, making it
ideal for applications in Big Data and for the development of future
exascale computers, which are capable of performing a billion billion
computations per second.
With exabytes of structured and unstructured data growing annually at 60
percent, scientists have been researching a range of technological
advancements to drastically reduce the energy required to move all that
data from the processor to the printed circuit board within a computer.
Optical interconnect technology offers bandwidth and power efficiency
advantages compared to established electrical signaling.
“Polymer waveguides provide an integrated means to route optical signals
similar to how copper lines route electrical signals,” explains Dr. Bert
Jan Offrein, manager of the Photonics Research Group at IBM Research.
“Our design is highly flexible, resistant to high temperatures and has
strong adhesion properties – these waveguides were designed with no
In a collaboration with Dow Corning, the scientists for the first time
fabricated thin sheets of optical waveguide that show no curling and can
bend to a 1 mm radius and is stable at extreme operating conditions
including 85 percent humidity and 85°C. This new polymer, based on
silicone materials, offers an optimized combination of properties for
integration in established electrical printed circuit board technology.
In addition, the material can be fabricated into waveguides using
conventional manufacturing techniques available today.
“Dow Corning’s breakthrough polymer waveguide silicone has positioned us
at the forefront of a new era in robust, data-rich computing, especially
as we continue to collaborate with outstanding industry leaders like
IBM,” said Eric Peeters, vice president, Dow Corning Electronic
Solutions. “Optical waveguides made from Dow Corning's silicone polymer
technology offer customers revolutionary new options for transmitting
data substantially faster, and with lower heat and energy consumption.
We are confident that silicone-based board-level interconnects will
quickly supersede conventional electronic signal distribution to deliver
the amazing speeds needed for tomorrow’s supercomputers.”
A presentation (entitled Stable and Easily Processable Optical Silicones
for Low-Loss Polymer Waveguides) given here by Brandon Swatowski,
application engineer for Dow Corning Electronics Solutions, reported
that fabrication of full waveguide builds can be completed in less than
45 minutes, and enable a high degree of process flexibility. Silicone
polymer material, which is dispensed as a liquid, processes more quickly
than competitive waveguide materials such as glass and does not require
a controlled atmosphere chamber.
Swatowski’s presentation went on to say that waveguide builds based on
the silicone polymer showed excellent adhesion to polyimide substrates.
It also discussed how optical characterization of the new polymer
waveguides silicones showed losses as low as 0.03 dB/cm, with
environmental stability extending past 2,000 hours exposure to high
humidity and temperature, and good performance sustained over 500
thermal cycles between -40°C and 120°C.
For a copy of Swatowski’s paper please visit:
For more information visit www.research.ibm.com
About Dow Corning
Dow Corning (dowcorning.com)
provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of
more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones,
silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than
7,000 products and services via the company’s Dow Corning®
brands. Dow Corning is equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and
Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning’s annual sales are
outside the United States. Dow Corning’s global operations adhere to the American
Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care® initiative, a
stringent set of standards designed to advance the safe and secure
management of chemical products and processes.
A trusted innovation partner, Dow
Corning Electronics Solutions helps customers drive future
developments in electronics markets such as consumer electronics, data
networking, electrical and conventional transportation, energy
conversion, LED lighting, and power electronics. Solutions span the
entire value chain, from semiconductor fabrication, to device packaging
and complete module and system assembly. For more than 70 years, leading
electronics companies around the world have turned to Dow Corning for
high performance materials and technologies, advanced application
expertise, reliable supply and customer service around the globe.
Follow Dow Corning on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/dowcorning
Dow Corning's YouTube channel: www.YouTube.com/dowcorningcorp
® Dow Corning is a registered trademark of Dow Corning
® XIAMETER is a registered trademark of Dow Corning
® Responsible Care is a registered service mark of the
American Chemistry Council, Inc.
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