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NTT Partners with Intel and SK Hynix to Develop Power-Saving Next-Gen Semiconductors

The Japanese-led initiative, supported by the government, aims to revolutionize semiconductor technology using optical processing
South Korea
n 9432.TSE s 000660.KO Blue Chip 150 Tech 350 Semicon 75
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NTT, a major Japanese telecommunications carrier, is spearheading a groundbreaking initiative in partnership with U.S. chipmaker Intel and South Korea’s SK Hynix. The collaboration focuses on developing next-generation semiconductors, harnessing optical technology to significantly reduce power consumption. This venture aligns with the Japanese government’s strategic vision for the semiconductor industry, providing approximately 45 billion yen ($305 million) in support.

The integration of optical technology in semiconductors is a potential industry game changer, especially as the push for miniaturization nears its physical limits. Optical processing, which involves the use of light instead of electronic signals, offers a promising avenue for reducing power consumption. This approach could be particularly beneficial given the growing demand for artificial intelligence applications, which require processing large volumes of data.

Conventionally, optical communications are converted into electrical signals for processing and memory tasks in servers. The new technology aims to replace these electrical signals entirely with optical ones, thereby speeding up the processing and reducing power usage.

This collaboration is a strategic move to counter China’s advancements in semiconductor technology. NTT, renowned for its pioneering work in integrating optical and electronic technology, aims to work closely with Intel and SK Hynix, leaders in computer system chips and memory chips, respectively. By fiscal 2027, the goal is to establish production technologies for semiconductors and memory capable of handling data at terabit-class speeds, potentially cutting power consumption by 30-40% compared to current standards.

NTT’s leadership in this field is underscored by its achievements, including the development of basic transistor circuit technology using light, a milestone published in “Nature Photonics” in 2019. This venture forms part of NTT’s Innovative Optical and Wireless Network (IOWN) initiative, which is set to revolutionize the semiconductor industry.

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