Monday, September 16, 2013

Graphene - The Aspirin Of Microelectronics

A while back, aspirin was touted as a miracle drug. Its use beyond just being a pain killer was being discovered constantly, ranging from an efficient blood thinner to prevent heart attack and stroke.

That is why I'm calling graphene as the aspirin of microelectronics. It seems that almost every year we hear more and more use of this miracle material. It's a good conductor, it is very strong, and now, in the latest chapter of what graphene can do, it has been touted as a very efficient converter of light into electricity.

Now the one-atom-thick lattice of carbon has added another string to its bow. Three research groups have independently shown that graphene can efficiently convert infrared light into electrical signals, as part of devices known as photodetectors. As fast and accurate translators of optical data, graphene photodetectors could speed up computers and significantly cut their power consumption. The devices, each with a slightly different architecture, are reported in Nature Photonics.

This performance already rivals that of existing photodetectors. “We’re seeing graphene getting to a point where it can compete with today’s technologies,” says Dirk Englund, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge who developed one of the graphene photodetectors. “That’s an important new step.”
I expect it to be able to clean windows soon.


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