Photonic devices–chips that send and receive data-carrying light signals–are usually made from exotic, costly semiconducting materials. Devices made from silicon would be orders of magnitude cheaper and could drastically reduce the cost of bandwidth. Now Luxtera, in Carlsbad, CA, is offering the first commercial optical cable made with silicon photonics. Intended for use in data centers, the cable can transmit 40 gigabits of data per second but costs no more than some existing 20-gigabit-per-second optical cables.
Cost: Less than $1,000 for a 300-meter, 40-gigabit cable