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Graphene set to enable terahertz technology, says team

Pic: Anna-Lena Lundqvist/Chalmers University of Technology

Terahertz technology enabled via graphene could boost the capacity of future data networks, according to researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.

Andrei Vorobiev, pictured, senior researcher, said: “One of graphene’s special features is that electrons move much faster than in most semiconductors used today. Thanks to this, we can access the high frequencies that constitute the terahertz range. Data communication then has the potential of becoming up to ten times faster and can transmit much larger amounts of data than is currently possible.”

Researchers at Chalmers have shown that graphene based transistor devices could receive and convert terahertz waves. One example of these devices is a 200GHz subharmonic resistive mixer based on a CVD graphene transistor integrated on silicon. This, says the team, could be used in high-speed wireless communication links.

The university has also developed a graphene based power detector integrated on a flexible polymer substrate and suggests this could be used in wearable THz sensors for healthcare and high resolution interferometric imaging for biomedical and security imaging, remote process control, material inspection and profiling and packaging applications.

“Analysis show that flexible imaging detector arrays is an area where THz applications of graphene have a high impact potential. One example of where this could be used is in the security scanning at airports. Because the graphene-based terahertz scanner is bendable, you’ll get much better resolution and can retrieve more information than if the scanner’s surface is flat,” Vorobiev noted.

Graham Pitcher

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