Graphene Photodetectors to Speed Up Internet
Carbon, like many substances, will produce an electric current when light is shined onto it. The one-atom thick form of carbon, graphene, has extremely high conductivity and would be an excellent choice for photodetectors and other devices that utilize the photoelectric effect. Unfortunately, graphene is so thin only about 3% off the light shining on it will be converted into electricity. Researchers at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge have increased that percentage to 60% by adding metallic structures in front of the graphene. The metal uses the plasmonic effect to concentrate the light so the graphene can more easily absorb it. The resulting device also maintains the graphene’s high conductivity making them valuable to high-speed optical communications, such as those in the backbone of the Internet.