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February 06, 2013

Dow Corning and IBM Scientists Debut New Material Designed to Enhance Big Data Applications

By Nathesh, TMCnet Contributor

A new silicone-based material developed by Dow Corning and IBM (News - Alert) scientists reportedly transmits light instead of electrical signals inside supercomputers and data centers, which in turn improves the robustness and flexibility of big data applications.

The new material helps greatly in simplifying the development of future exascale computers that can carry out a billion computations per second.

Bert Jan Offrein, manager of the Photonics Research Group at IBM Research, commented, “Polymer waveguides provide an integrated means to route optical signals similar to how copper lines route electrical signals. Our design is highly flexible, resistant to high temperatures and has strong adhesion properties – these waveguides were designed with no compromises.”

Eric Peeters, vice president at Dow Corning (News - Alert) Electronic Solutions, added, “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. 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.”

Photopatternable optical silicone materials, according to Dow Corning, have been developed to be fabricated into flexible polymer waveguides using conventional film processing and photolithography techniques. And optical characterization has shown losses as low as 0.03dB/cm with environmental stability extending past 2000 hours 85 percent RH/85 degrees Celsius, as well as 500 thermal cycles between -40 degrees Celsius to 120 degrees Celsius.

The material was supposedly developed to cater to the rising demands for newer solutions that consume lesser energy for transferring data from processor to PCB within a computer, and is compatible with conventional manufacturing techniques available today.  

Edited by Braden Becker

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