Here comes graphene

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Chris, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. Chris
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    Chris Gold Member

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    Wireless communications took a small leap forward today with the announcement that researchers have created a functional integrated circuit smaller than a grain of salt.

    The circuit is a broadband frequency mixer, which is "one of the most fundamental and important circuits in essentially all wireless communication devices and equipment," Yu-Ming Lin, an IBM researcher who led the effort, told me today.

    Mixers, for example, convert low-frequency audio signals into high-frequency signals that can be transmitted wirelessly. The new circuit is made of graphene, the Nobel Prize worthy crystalline material made with a single layer of carbon atoms.

    The research community has been abuzz over graphene for the past few years because it is the strongest crystalline material yet known, can be stretched like rubber and is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity.

    It is being eyed for a range of technologies such as lighter and cheaper body armor, touchscreen displays and chemical sensors.

    Last month, we reported on the use of the material in an optical modulator, which switches light on and off and thus has the potential to serve as a blazingly fast broadband data pipe. Today, Lin and colleagues report in Science the integration of a graphene transistor onto a silicon carbide wafer.

    "This is a circuit component that has a real function, a practical use in a real application, for example the cellphone," Lin said. "The significance is, because of the integration, the entire circuit can be very small; in this case less than 1 millimeter squared."

    Compared to silicon, the graphene transistor could be less expensive, use less energy and free up room inside portable electronics such as smart phones, where space is tight, the researchers note.

    Cosmic Log - Tiny circuit big boost for electronics
     
  2. Chris
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    Chris Gold Member

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    Researchers have used graphene, a one-atom thick layer of crystallized carbon, to create a device that could potentially stream high-definition 3-D movies onto a smartphone in a matter of seconds.

    The device, a tiny optical modulator, currently switches light on and off. This switching is the fundamental characteristic of a network modulator, which controls how fast data packets are transmitted. The faster the data pulses are sent out, the greater the volume of information that can be sent.

    "This is the world's smallest optical modulator, and the modulator in data communications is the heart of speed control," Xiang Zhang, an engineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley who led the research, said in a press release.

    "Graphene enables us to make modulators that are incredibly compact and that potentially perform at speeds up to ten times faster than current technology allows. The new technology will significantly enhance our capabilities in ultrafast optical communication and computing."

    The device is based on graphene, which was first extracted from graphite — the same material as pencil lead — in 2004 with Scotch tape. This achievement earned Konstantin Novoselov and Andre Geim at the University of Manchester a Nobel Prize in Physics last year.

    Cosmic Log - Graphene enables speedy data pipe
     
  3. dilloduck
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    dilloduck Diamond Member

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    Oh great----now the price of pencils is going to soar.
     
  4. Chris
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    Chris Gold Member

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    Graphene is a super-material that Nokia believes will revolutionize gadgets and "change the world."

    Nokia explains, "Graphene is an allotrope of carbon and its 2D structure measures just one atom thick. While being thin, it’s the strongest material ever tested, having a breaking strength 200 times greater than steel and is also the lightest material ever, best intrinsic conductor and super-flexible, too. It's predicted to replace silicon as the base for all electronics."

    This thin, light, super-strong, flexible material may be the key to developing revolutionary devices, such as Nokia’s "Morph," that up until now have only been envisioned as far-fetched concepts.

    "We're not just talking about mobile phones here, we’re talking about the technology in its vastness. Once the technology exists, your TV could – in theory – just be unrolled and pasted to your living room wall, like a roll of wallpaper," adds Nokia in a June 14 post on its Conversations blog.

    While the possibilities for Graphene-based gadgets are mind-boggling there is still a lot of research to be done.

    Nokia is teaming up with four Nobel laureates: Dr. Andrea Gelm, Dr. Konstantin Novoselov, Dr. K. von Klitzing and Dr. A. Fert to further the technology as part of the Graphene Flagship program.

    The Chalmers University of Technology, the University of Manchester, the University of Lancaster, the University of Cambridge, AMO Gmbh, the Catalan institute of Nanotechnology, the Italian research council, and the European Science foundation will also be involved in the program.

    What is Graphene and why is Nokia touting it as the super-material of the future? - Gadgets & Tech, Life & Style - The Independent
     
  5. FA_Q2
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    FA_Q2 Gold Member

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    It is amazing what we are able to accomplish today
     
  6. Mr. H.
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