South Korea, the United States, and Japan are set to team up to pioneer next-generation semiconductors utilizing optical technology, media sources said on Monday.

Japan’s daily newspaper Nikkei reported that Korean chipmaker SK hynix Inc., Japanese telecom carrier Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT), and U.S. chipmaker Intel Corp. will collaborate to develop next-generation semiconductors using optical convergence technology.

This technology replaces electronic processing with light, significantly reducing power consumption when integrated into chips. It is also known to increase processing speeds by thousands of times, marking a groundbreaking technology in the semiconductor industry as scaling down in nanometer chips nears physical limits.

Currently, information transmitted via optical communication must be converted into electrical signals through dedicated devices before being transmitted to servers in data centers. Within the servers, semiconductors exchange electrical signals to process computation and memory. In contrast, optical convergence enables the removal of these complex processing processes by using light signals.

To achieve higher-speed optical communication compared to electricity, collaboration with chipmakers is essential. NTT plans to collaborate with Intel for the central processing unit (CPU) and with SK hynix for memory chips.

The Japanese government is also actively supporting this research, providing 45 billion yen ($304 million) in support as part of its efforts in next-generation 6G communication research. Other Japanese companies, including semiconductor package manufacturer Shinko Electric Industries Co., and memory chip maker Kioxia Corp., are also expected to participate.

Through the technological cooperation, NTT aims to secure technology enabling the production of devices that receive light within chips by 2027 and to develop memory technology capable of storing terabit-level data, the report said.

Intel is reportedly focusing on developing technology to reduce power consumption by 30-40 percent compared to existing methods. NTT plans to gradually increase power efficiency through ion technology, aiming to increase it by around 10 times by 2025 and up to 100 times by 2032.