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Tiny 'Black Holes' Enable New Device for High-Speed Data
The growth of datacenters that power the internet 'cloud' has created a demand for devices to move large amounts of data, very fast. A new photodetector developed with tiny 'black holes' on a silicon wafer by electrical engineers at the University of California, Davis could move more data at lower cost around the world or across a datacenter. The new detector uses tapered holes in a silicon wafer to divert photons sideways, preserving the speed of thin-layer silicon and the efficiency of a thicker layer. So far, the engineering team has built an experimental photodetector and solar cell using the new technology. The photodetector can convert data from optical to electronics at 20 gigabytes per second (or 25 billion bits per second, more than 200 times faster than your cable modem) with a quantum efficiency of 50 percent - the fastest yet reported for a device of this efficiency.
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