As a result, silicon nanophotonics could simplify and lower the cost of the routing componentry needed to run fiber optic networks. It could also be used to facilitate faster data communication inside computers themselves, replacing the electronics-based buses now in use.
One eager user of this technology might be the field of high-performance computing. The bottlenecks in today's supercomputers are not the processors themselves, but the rate at which data can be moved across processors and memory. "They are suffering because the interconnects that exist are limited in bandwidth, not scalable and expensive," Assefa said.