Silicon photonics could someday replace $10,000 optical-to-electrical-to-optical converters with $1 CMOS chips and enable on-chip data communications with photons, not the electrons used today. But the road to silicon photonics is fraught with peril. Doomsayers originally insisted that silicon's indirect bandgap forever favored direct bandgap materials like indium-gallium-arsenide (InGaAs), but history proved those compounds were too difficult to integrate. Now, researchers at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center say they've clinched the case for silicon photonics by announcing new world's records for silicon photonics speed, density and bandwidth. IBM said its demonstration chip, a CMOS optical delay line, proves that silicon photonics will ultimately achieve the "holy grail" — optics on chips at integration levels rivaling those of electronic CMOS integration.