On the 29th, Nikkei reported that SK Hynix of Korea, NTT of Japan, and Intel of the United States will jointly develop next-generation semiconductors based on ‘photoelectric fusion’ technology.
This technology replaces electronic processing with light, and if it is applied inside semiconductors, power consumption can be greatly reduced. It is also known that the calculation speed is thousands of times faster. It is considered a new technology that can change the game board as semiconductor miniaturization approaches its physical limit.
Currently, information arriving through optical communication is converted into electrical signals through a dedicated device and then delivered to a server in the data center. Inside the server, semiconductors exchange electrical signals and process the calculation and memory. On the other hand, in photoelectric fusion, this complicated process is omitted because it is processed as an optical signal.
To enable high-speed optical communication processing compared to electricity, cooperation with semiconductor manufacturers is essential. NTT plans to cooperate with Intel for central processing unit (CPU) and SK Hynix for memory semiconductors.
The Japanese government is also actively engaged in the research. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will provide 45 billion yen as part of its research on 6G, a next-generation communication standard. Not only NTT but also Shinko Electric Co., which produces semiconductor substrates, and Kioxia, a memory chipmaker, will also participate in the research. Through the technological cooperation, NTT and others are committed to securing technology to produce devices that can absorb light inside the semiconductor industry by 2027. They will also develop memory technology that can recall terabit data. Intel will reportedly focus on developing technology that reduces power consumption by 30 to 40 percent. NTT plans to gradually increase power efficiency through ION. The company is committed to increasing power efficiency by around 10 times in 2025 and by 100 times in 2032.