comment on this article

Graphene shows unique potential to exceed bandwidth demands of future telecommunications

Lauren V. Robinson / © Springer Nature Ltd

Researchers within the Graphene Flagship project, one of the biggest research initiatives of the European Commission, have demonstrated how properties of graphene enable ultra-wide bandwidth communications coupled with low power consumption to radically change the way data is transmitted across the optical communications systems. This could make graphene-integrated devices the key ingredient in the evolution of 5G, the Internet-of-Things (IoT), and Industry 4.0.

"As conventional semiconductor technologies are approaching their physical limitations we need to explore entirely new technologies to realise our most ambitious visions of a future networked global society," explains Wolfgang Templ, Department Head of Transceiver Research at Nokia Bell Labs in Germany, which is a Graphene Flagship partner. "Graphene promises a significant step in performance of key components for optical and radio communications beyond the performance limits of today's conventional semiconductor-based component technologies."

According to the researchers, this project presents a vision for the future of graphene-based integrated photonics, and provides strategies for improving power consumption, manufacturability and wafer-scale integration. The Graphene Flagship partners have also developed a roadmap for graphene-based photonics devices, which they believe surpasses the technological requirement for the evolution of datacom and telecom markets driven by 5G, IoT, and the Industry 4.0.

"Graphene integrated in a photonic circuit is a low cost, scalable technology that can operate fibre links at a very high data rates," said Marco Romagnoli, from Graphene Flagship partner CNIT, the National Interuniversity Consortium for Telecommunications in Italy.

Graphene photonics offers advantages in both performance and manufacturing over the state-of-the-art, according to the researchers. Graphene can ensure modulation, detection and switching performances meeting all the requirements for the next evolution in photonic device manufacturing. "We aim for highly integrated optical transceivers which will enable ultra-high bitrates well beyond one terabit per second per optical channel. These targeted systems will differentiate from their semiconductor-based forerunners by substantially lower complexity, energy dissipation and form factor going along with a higher flexibility and tunability," explains Templ.

Daniel Neumaier from Graphene Flagship partner AMO GmbH, also leader of the Graphene Flagship Division on Electronics and Photonics Integration, adds: "Optical communication links will become more and more important in 5G for supporting the required high data rates at all nodes. Graphene-based optical components integrated on a silicon platform will be able to deliver both increased performance and a low-cost production process, thus are expected to become key components in the 5G era.”

“This paper [published inNature Reviews Materials] makes a clear case of why an integrated approach of graphene and silicon-based photonics can meet and surpass the foreseeable requirements of the ever-increasing data rates in future telecom systems," says Professor Andrea C. Ferrari at the University of Cambridge, Science and Technology Officer of the Graphene Flagship and Chair of its Management Panel.

Author
Bethan Grylls

Comment on this article


This material is protected by MA Business copyright See Terms and Conditions. One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not. For multiple copies contact the sales team.

What you think about this article:


Add your comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Related Articles