Graphene Promises a Leap Towards Faster Communication

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The world has come closer thanks to the rapid development in media and communication. Doctors can talk to the patients in corners. But we as humans continue to strive towards better and faster methods of communication which would create a unison among the people. There are countries which still lack the modern ways of communication  due to the high cost of infrastructure. Fibre optics and lasers which are widely used for the communication hardware are a costly affair. But there is hope. Researchers from the Centre for Graphene Science at the Universities of Bath and Exeter have demonstrated incredibly short optical response rates using graphene, which could pave the way for a revolution in telecommunications.

What is Graphene?

Graphene is an allotrope of carbon. In this material, carbon atoms are arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern. Graphene can be described as a one-atom thick layer of the mineral graphite. Graphene is just one atom thick, but remarkably strong. It is dubbed as a miracle material due to its strength, lightness, flexibility, conductivity and low cost. With this research, it could now enter the market to dramatically improve telecommunications.

What is allotrope?

Allotrope is the property of some chemical elements to exist in two or more different forms, known as allotropes of these elements. Allotropes are different structural modifications of an element.

About the research:

In the paper published recently, the researchers have shown that the current communication speed can be increased number of times by using this miracle material. To get the idea on how quick the communication can be – let us consider a present day communication through fiberoptics, lasers, etc. Our present day optical switches respond at rate of a few picoseconds which is approximately a trillionth of a second. During this research it is observed that the response rate of an optical switch using a few layers of graphene to be around one hundred femtoseconds which is approximately 100 times quicker than current material.

How would it help us?

With this research, in the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum, many improvements are expected in various fields – telecommunications, security, medicine, etc. All these fields have great impact on our society and even our knowledge.

Hope that such enhanced high speed system will improve the rate at which we as a society can process information and consume it – this would in turn mean that we might ago a centimetre faster in our journey called ‘life’.

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