Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Graphene's shining light could lead to super-fast Internet

31.08.2011
Writing in the journal Nature Communications, a collaboration between the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge, which includes Nobel Prize winning scientists Professor Andre Geim and Professor Kostya Novoselov, has discovered a crucial recipe for improving characteristics of graphene devices for use as photodetectors in future high-speed optical communications.

By combining graphene with metallic nanostructures, they show a twentyfold enhancement in harvesting light by graphene, which paves the way for advances in high-speed internet and other communications.

By putting two closely-spaced metallic wires on top of graphene and shining light on this structure, researchers previously showed that this generates electric power. This simple device presents an elementary solar cell.

More importantly for applications, such graphene devices can be incredibly fast, tens and potentially hundred times faster than communication rates in the fastest internet cables, which is due to the unique nature of electrons in graphene, their high mobility and high velocity.

The major stumbling block towards practical applications for these otherwise very promising devices has so far been their low efficiency. The problem is that graphene – the thinnest material in the world – absorbs little light, approximately only 3%, with the rest going through without contributing to the electrical power.

The Manchester researchers have solved the problems by combining graphene with tiny metallic structures, specially arranged on top of graphene.

These so-called plasmonic nanostructures have dramatically enhanced the optical electric field felt by graphene and effectively concentrated light within the one-atom-thick carbon layer.

By using the plasmonic enhancement, the light-harvesting performance of graphene was boosted by twenty times, without sacrificing any of its speed. The future efficiency can be improved even further.

Dr Alexander Grigorenko, an expert in plasmonics and a leading member of the team, said: "Graphene seems a natural companion for plasmonics. We expected that plasmonic nanostructures could improve the efficiency of graphene-based devices but it has come as a pleasant surprise that the improvements can be so dramatic."

Professor Novoselov added: "The technology of graphene production matures day-by-day, which has an immediate impact both on the type of exciting physics which we find in this material, and on the feasibility and the range of possible applications.

"Many leading electronics companies consider graphene for the next generation of devices. This work certainly boosts graphene's chances even further."

Professor Andrea Ferrari, from the Cambridge Engineering Department, who lead the Cambridge effort in the collaboration, said "So far, the main focus of graphene research has been on fundamental physics and electronic devices.

"These results show its great potential in the fields of photonics and optoelectronics, where the combination of its unique optical and electronic properties with plasmonic nanostructures, can be fully exploited, even in the absence of a bandgap, in a variety of useful devices, such as solar cells and photodetectors"

Graphene is a novel two-dimensional material which can be seen as a monolayer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice.

It is a wonder material that possesses a large number of unique properties and is currently considered in many new technologies.

The world's thinnest material was discovered at The University of Manchester in 2004, which was acknowledged by the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to Geim and Novoselov for their "groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene".

Daniel Cochlin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Cloud technology: Dynamic certificates make cloud service providers more secure
15.01.2018 | Technische Universität München

nachricht New discovery could improve brain-like memory and computing
10.01.2018 | University of Minnesota

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

White graphene makes ceramics multifunctional

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Breaking bad metals with neutrons

16.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

ISFH-CalTeC is “designated test centre” for the confirmation of solar cell world records

16.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>