Intel is the leading tech giant because of the company's ability to pack excellent computing performance in transistors or processors that seem to decrease in size by the day. Even when computing devices shifted from huge desktop computers to small and slim ultrabooks, Intel manages to create a chip that is just right. Recently, the company has been venturing into mobile chips, computing and power efficiency.

Intel spends billions of dollars on their research and development every year. Justin Rattner, who served as the company's chief technical officer, previously met with Tom Simonite about the Intel's investment on mobile chips. Mr Simonite is the senior IT editor of MIT Technology Review. Mr Rattner explained to Mr Simonite how Intel sees mobile chips as the company's ticket to overtaking their competitors and creating new opportunities.

Mr Rattner just announced his stepping down as the Intel's CTO - he will be returning to the company in a position that is defined clearly yet. Rattner shared with MIT Technology Review the idea behind the new technologies the company is working on including "lab venture."

"We have started taking a very select set of technologies from Intel Labs and building new businesses around them [while keeping them inside the Intel Labs organization]. The problem, and it's not unique to Intel, is businesses are busy with their current products and customers, and someone comes along and says 'If you just put another $50 million into this, we'll have this great product' - - that rarely happens. Silicon photonics is the first of those ventures and the only one we've talked about publicly. We've separated the team and started hiring product, design, test, and production engineers. We haven't detailed when we will announce products in this space," Mr Rattner said.

He also explained the idea behind the first silicon photonics product.

"It's a 100-gigabit-per-second transceiver [a device that sends data between computers along an optical fiber]. We use conventional CMOS [chip] fabrication techniques to actually build the lasers into the chip. We showed a 50-gigabit-per-second link a few years ago that was built in the lab (see "Computing at the Speed of Light"); the current chip can do 100 gigabits per second, but the connector, which we teamed up with Corning to build, has the ability to go to 1.6 terabits per second."

The silicon photonics will be useful for data centers. Facilities can access more bandwidth for a fraction of a cost. This will be a definite win for those looking for energy efficiency and excellent performance. Data centers are very keen on anything that can provide excellent performance but the cables that come with these capacities can be problematic. Intel Labs is working getting rid of those cables without sacrificing performance or efficiency.

I think we're in a period of fairly rapid innovation. The industry built the same transistor for 40 years, and it just got smaller," Mr Rattner added.