Ultrafast Nanoscale LED Data Transmission Developed at Stanford

New lightning-fast, efficient nanoscale data transmission developed at Stanford | Stanford Engineering

A team at Stanford's School of Engineering has demonstrated an ultrafast nanoscale light-emitting diode (LED) that is orders of magnitude lower in power consumption than today's laser-based systems and is able to transmit data at the very rapid rate of 10 billion bits per second. The researchers say it is a major step forward in providing a practical ultrafast, low-power light source for on-chip data transmission.

Stanford's Jelena Vuckovic, an associate professor of electrical engineering, and Gary Shambat, a doctoral candidate in electrical engineering, announced their device in a research paper set to be published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

Tests show that the device, technically called "nanoscale single-mode LED," can transmit information in computers from chip to chip at least 10 times the speed of any current computer while consuming more than a 1,000 times less energy, the developers say.

The tiny device is a highly advanced version of the LED lamps that are increasingly used in everything from pocket flashlights and home lighting to the "grow-lights" that force-feed everything from house plants to marijuana farms.

Engineers use nanophotonics to reshape on-chip computer data transmission

This illustration shows how a single nanophotonic single-mode LED is constructed. (Image: Gary Shambat, Stanford School of Engineering)

The LED in question is a "single-mode LED," a special type of diode that emits light more or less at a single wavelength, very similar to a laser. 
"Traditionally, engineers have thought only lasers can communicate at high data rates and ultralow power," said Shambat. "Our nanophotonic, single-mode LED can perform all the same tasks as lasers, but at much lower power."