The new silicon laser chip can be built with cheaper production processes and requires less expensive production materials than standard lasers.
The lasers emit a continuous stream of light that can then be modulated into a stream of impulses that can represent data. Cheap optical parts could not only lead to faster computers but also to less expensive and more accurate medical equipment.This technology will probably reach the market within four to five years.
"This is a scientific breakthrough, and a psychological breakthrough, because no one thought you could do it," said Mario Paniccia, director of the photonics technology lab at Intel. Silicon is not a good optical material in ordinary circumstances, he added.
More details at ZDNet