Finding the Origin of Signal Noise

Guest_Jim_* - March 21, 2013 06:54AM in Science & Technology

Interference can be a major problem for many systems as compensating for the noise can make a system overly complex and/or draw more power than absolutely necessary. One kind of noise, 1/f noise, also known as pink noise or flicker noise, can be found in just about any electrical system, including the human body. Though first discovered in 1925, the source of this noise has remained unknown until now, thanks to researchers at the University of California, Riverside, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute.

To uncover its origins, the researchers constructed a graphene system with varying thicknesses. Graphene is an atom-thick sheet of carbon, but it can also be stacked up, layer by layer, and in this case the researchers went as thick as 15 layers. By controlling the thickness of the material like this, the researchers were able to watch as other noises from the material's volume appear and dominate the 1/f noise they were looking for.

Though the experiment itself was done with graphene, the results of this work is applicable to other materials, especially as modern electronics is already taking technology towards 2D structures, similar to graphene. Naturally systems that may use graphene will also benefit from this work as a means to reduce noise to necessarily low levels.

Source: University of California, Riverside