Graphene Optical Modulators for when you need it Fast and SmallCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: March 1, 2012 07:04PM
Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley will be demonstrating their work on graphene based optical modulators at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference (OFC/NFOEC). Optical modulators are what control the speed of data packets on an optical network, so the faster they are, the faster the data moves.
Graphene is easily becoming the most promising material for future electronics, and now its optoelectric properties may enhance optical networks in ways almost unimaginable. The researchers have found a single layer of graphene just 25 square microns in size is as efficient as semiconductor modulators orders of magnitude larger. With more work it may be possible to design a graphene-based optical modulator 10 times faster than modern optical modulators. That should be enough to "stream full-length, high-definition, 3-D movies onto their smartphones within mere seconds." Of course why anyone would have to watch 3D, HD video on a screen typically smaller than five inches is beyond me, but if we can make it happen, why not?