In the world of physics, heat represents resistance. Think of touching your car tire before you’ve driven it – cool. Think of touching your car tire after driving to the store – warm. Resistance.
Copper found in USB connectors and USB cables is the heat element which represents the resistance of faster speeds. The warmer copper gets, the slower the data transfer rates will be because the heat represents inefficiencies of the material.
Research presented at February’s IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference by lead author Jack Holloway and co-authors Ruonan Han and Georgios Dogiamis developed a data transfer system that can transmit information 10 times faster than a USB. The new link pairs high-frequency silicon chips with a polymer cable as thin a strand of hair.
Mr Holloway explains, “Copper wires, like those found in USB or HDMI cables, are power-hungry — especially when dealing with heavy data loads. There’s a fundamental tradeoff between the amount of energy burned and the rate of information exchanged.”
The most common alternative suggested to a copper wire would be an optical wire. Optical wires deal with photons and are extremely efficient but the problem are how the photons interact will silicon of a chip. Since photons don’t work well when talking to silicon, it means a direct connection from a fiber optic cable to a computer chip isn’t ideal.
The technology (by Holloway and team) is a plastic polymer material which works very well at sub-terahertz signals (very high signals) which translates to a competitive alternative to fiber optics.
Next, the team engineered a low-cost chip which pairs with the polymer conduit. Typically, silicon chips struggle to operate at sub-terahertz frequencies. Yet the team’s new chips generate those high-frequency signals with enough power to transmit data directly into the conduit. That clean connection from the silicon chips to the conduit means the overall system can be manufactured with standard, cost-effective methods.
The physical size of this plastic polymer is the same size as a human hair.
Resource: Fiber Optics.Continue Reading