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Graphene Believed to be Key Toward Low-Power Telecoms

By - Source: Columbia University | B 15 comments

Researchers at Columbia University said they have developed a hybrid graphene-silicon/photonic chip that enables ultra low-power optical information processing.

According to the research result scheduled to be published in the August issue of Nature Photonics, the scientists were able to build the chip in a way that its system parameters such as transmittance and wavelength conversion can change with the input power level.

Additionally, they were able to create a radio frequency carrier on top of the transmitted laser beam and control its modulation with the laser intensity and color. As its ability to tune the radio frequency was explored, the researchers discovered that the hybrid chip enabled them to achieve "radio frequency generation with a resonant quality factor more than 50 times lower than what other scientists have achieved in silicon."

In a statement, professor of mechanical engineering Chee Wei-Wong said that the team of scientist was able to generate "new optical frequencies through nonlinear mixing of two electromagnetic fields at low operating energies, allowing reduced energy per information bit." He added: "This allows the hybrid silicon structure to serve as a platform for all-optical data processing with a compact footprint in dense photonic circuits."

As most other graphene research projects, this work is in its nascent stages and a commercial production is not in sight yet. However, the potential opportunity opened by graphene and new research results surfacing on an almost daily basis is stunning.

"We have been able to demonstrate and explain the strong nonlinear response from graphene, which is the key component in this new hybrid device," said Tingyi Gu, the study's lead author and a Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering. "Showing the power-efficiency of this graphene-silicon hybrid photonic chip is an important step forward in building all-optical processing elements that are essential to faster, more efficient, modern telecommunications. And it was really exciting to explore the magic of graphene's amazingly conductive properties and see how graphene can boost optical nonlinearity, a property required for the digital on/off two-state switching and memory."

 

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  • 9 Hide
    Vorador2 , July 25, 2012 11:03 AM
    Graphene is shaping up to be the material of the future. There's nothing it can't do.
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , July 25, 2012 12:05 PM
    Vorador2Graphene is shaping up to be the material of the future. There's nothing it can't do.

    It makes faster chips, lower power chips, can be used in hundreds of medical applications, bomb detectors, gas distilation, better solar cells, and can even fold laundry while doing the dishes. Personally, if they can just get it to do the last 2 I would be happy with it.

    Hardly a complete list, but: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphene#Potential_applications
  • -4 Hide
    southernshark , July 25, 2012 12:32 PM
    OK I officially request no more Graphene stories. I am sick of hearing about graphene. We have been exposed to graphene stories for 15 years or more and to date we have not seen any real product that takes advantage of graphene. Lets just put it on the back burner until this mythical substance is actually used in a commercial product, if such a time ever actually takes place.
  • 1 Hide
    southernshark , July 25, 2012 12:33 PM
    "As most other graphene research projects, this work is in its nascent stages and a commercial production is not in sight yet. "

    This is the only part of the story which is real.
  • 0 Hide
    A Bad Day , July 25, 2012 12:56 PM
    Hmm, IBM is developing optical interconnects between chips, and plans on building optical interconnects within the chips...
  • 3 Hide
    nebun , July 25, 2012 1:00 PM
    everyone keeps talking about this graphene material and how is supposed to be the miracle material...why don't we see products made out of this stuff?...move it people...people are again, i want to see how good it is before i die
  • 1 Hide
    ojas , July 25, 2012 1:25 PM
    It'll come, eventually. Remember, we weren't seeing silicon based computers before a few million years of human evolution. Give graphene at least a hundred or two!
  • 1 Hide
    eddieroolz , July 25, 2012 1:58 PM
    All the talk about graphene and no concrete product/action is worrying me that I'd ever see it.
  • 1 Hide
    dogman_1234 , July 25, 2012 4:06 PM
    Good news for a future research student such as me. I agree we need a first for this material to be on the open market, however, I d believe we should see another 10 years of research in electrical, chemical, mechanical, biological, and physical engineering before such thing becomes practical.

    As long as we continue to look at it, we will see the light of day with it...I hope.
  • 1 Hide
    Blandge , July 25, 2012 4:23 PM
    eddieroolzAll the talk about graphene and no concrete product/action is worrying me that I'd ever see it.

    Err Graphene was first isolated in 2004. Companies like Intel and IBM have about a 10 year research period before a technology is productized. So at minimum we're looking at 2014, but we likely won't see volume production until 2018+.
  • 1 Hide
    _Cosmin_ , July 25, 2012 7:40 PM
    Graphenes are the new "Chuck Norris": there is nothing on earth that they can`t do !
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , July 25, 2012 9:06 PM
    Graphene based sex-lube - "coming soon"
  • 2 Hide
    deksman , July 25, 2012 10:47 PM
    nebuneveryone keeps talking about this graphene material and how is supposed to be the miracle material...why don't we see products made out of this stuff?...move it people...people are again, i want to see how good it is before i die


    Because of problems that could ensue if they unleash this material in its full 'glory'. They first have to find a way to gimp it so that they can introduce planned obsolescence into the material - which in the long run generates profits (this is how things operate right now).
    And forget about getting tens of times more powerful/efficient computers... they will intentionally just raise the bar low from current technology so again more profits could be generated by forcing you to buy 'the latest and the greatest' 12 to 24 months after the first device.

    Its pathetic really, we could have used synthetic diamond chips in electronics since 1997, and graphene since at least 2006...

    Money is driving us down to a halt because efficiency is the enemy of profits (if they gave us a product that is the apex of our technological capabilities with highest efficiency in mind and best materials available... it would KILL profits... - nevertheless, designing such a high tech device which is also recycable and fully upgradable btw, and durable, is more than possible - just don't expect to see it Capitalism anytime soon).
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , July 25, 2012 11:00 PM
    deksmanBecause of problems that could ensue if they unleash this material in its full 'glory'. They first have to find a way to gimp it so that they can introduce planned obsolescence into the material - which in the long run generates profits (this is how things operate right now).And forget about getting tens of times more powerful/efficient computers... they will intentionally just raise the bar low from current technology so again more profits could be generated by forcing you to buy 'the latest and the greatest' 12 to 24 months after the first device.Its pathetic really, we could have used synthetic diamond chips in electronics since 1997, and graphene since at least 2006... Money is driving us down to a halt because efficiency is the enemy of profits (if they gave us a product that is the apex of our technological capabilities with highest efficiency in mind and best materials available... it would KILL profits... - nevertheless, designing such a high tech device which is also recycable and fully upgradable btw, and durable, is more than possible - just don't expect to see it Capitalism anytime soon).

    Exactly the reason why the USA invented Thorium reactors at Oak Ridge in the 1950's, but then went the Uranium route - firstly it generates ingredients for nuclear weapons, but secondly it creates a whole industry based on the supply of new fuel rods - if they had gone the Thorium route the world would be awash with unlimited clean, free electricity
    ...
    Just a shame that India and China don't have these hangs ups pandering to the supply contracts of GE, so they are running away with Thorium power station research