Sunday, September 24, 2023

A revolution is brewing in chip manufacturing

In the title of this article we are not exaggerating in the slightest. Douglas Yu, a TSMC manager responsible for systems integration, explains it clearly the disruptive ability of the technology that we are going to talk to you about in this statement: “If we manage to implement a good integration system for silicon photonics (…) we will trigger a new paradigm. We will probably find ourselves at the beginning of a new era.

This reflection from Yu describes very vividly how important this technology probably is. The strange thing is that it hasn’t attracted much attention in the media so far, but the panorama changed noticeably during SEMICON Taiwan 2023, a trade fair for the semiconductor industry that took place last week in Taipei, Taiwan. This was the context in which this TSMC executive decided to get wet.

TSMC is not alone in this adventure; NVIDIA and Broadcom are here to help

Before we continue, let’s first have a fairly clear idea of ​​what we’re talking about. Silicon photonics is a discipline that in this field aims to develop the technology of this chemical element to optimize the conversion of electrical signals into light pulses. The most obvious application of this innovation is the implementation of High-performance connections On paper, this can be used both to solve communication between multiple chips and to optimize information transfer between multiple machines.

Advanced packaging technologies can greatly benefit from a very powerful communication mechanism between chips

The advanced packaging technologies used by leading semiconductor manufacturers such as TSMC, Intel or Samsung can greatly benefit from a very powerful inter-chip communication mechanism. And large data centers in which a large number of machines also have to be connected. However, there is one discipline in particular that has an overwhelming future prospect and that would benefit greatly from building on the advantages of silicon photonics: artificial intelligence.

That all sounds very good, but we must not overlook one thing: this innovation represents a challenge various technological challenges It is very important that it needs to be solved so that its practical applications are possible. We don’t need to delve into them in this article, but here’s a note for those who aren’t easily intimidated by quantum physics and want to flirt a little more with silicon photonics: Until recently, lasers weren’t feasible. Quantum cascade with silicon-based materials, but many powerful research groups have been working in this area for several years. And many companies.

As we have checked, TSMC is one of them. And Intel, another. In fact, this last company already has some very interesting commercial solutions. Under these circumstances, we can be reasonably confident that the ultra-high performance compounds promised by silicon photonics will arrive, and probably soon. Currently, no relevant company has publicly announced when it will have this technology ready, but several Asian media outlets that have covered the SEMICON Taiwan 2023 trade fair celebrations, such as or Nikkei Asia, indicate this in some cases very clearly hin it will arrive in the second half of 2024.

It seems that at a closed meeting during SEMICON Taiwan 2023, a company got wet and openly revealed what it had to do.

The same media claim that, to make this possible, TSMC has collaborated with some of its customers such as NVIDIA or Broadcom to make the necessary investments to develop the technological solutions in the field of silicon photonics. Makes sense. It would be very strange if NVIDIA, the world’s largest developer of artificial intelligence chips, stay out of it an innovation that can certainly help you develop your company even further. It’s just a guess, but it seems that at a closed-door meeting during SEMICON Taiwan 2023, a company got wet and openly revealed what they were doing.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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