A collaboration between UCSB and Intel has yielded the world’s first hybrid silicon laser, an advance in computer technology which has the potential to boost data transfer rates far beyond anything currently available.

The device combines traditional silicon computer chip technology with the light-producing compound called indium phosphide. The technology allows data to be transmitted as light, which increases capacity.

According to a UCSB press release, this breakthrough represents the first time indium phosphide has been combined with silicon, which cannot produce light well, but can route it.

This new capability will lead to faster connections between processors and computer components.

UCSB professor of electrical and computer engineering John Bowers was involved in the project. He said the project was an example of the things that can be accomplished through partnerships between for-profit corporations and the academic world.

Bowers said the new technology represents a milestone in the field.

“By combining UCSB’s expertise with indium phosphide and Intel’s silicon photonics expertise, we have demonstrated a novel laser structure,” Bowers said in the press release. “This marks the beginning of highly integrated silicon photonic chips that can be mass produced at a low cost.”