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Graphene Found to Convert Gigahertz Signals to Terahertz Efficiently

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 08:57AM

Graphene is a very interesting material, being a single-atom thick sheet of carbon with amazing electrical and physical properties. It was theoretically predicted some time ago it should also be able to act as a nonlinear material, meaning it can take a signal and multiply its frequency. Now this effect has finally been demonstrated by researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and the University of Duisburg-Essen, with cooperation from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research.

To help envision what a nonlinear material does, imagine shining a pure red light, like a laser, into a material and what comes out is blue light. In this case we are working with electrical instead of optical signals and are going from gigahertz frequencies to terahertz, so from billions of cycles per second to trillions of cycles per second. More specifically, the researchers produced signals with frequencies between 300 and 680 GHz and then saw the graphene monolayer output signals with frequencies three, five, and even seven times higher, placing them within the terahertz domain.

Due to its high conductivity, many have been hoping to see graphene enter electronics as a replacement for silicon, and while that might still be a ways off, this research will likely contribute to it becoming a reality. Thanks to the experiments agreeing with the theoretical models predicting this behavior, it will be easier to foresee how graphene-based electronics will behave at ultrahigh speeds, by using those models.

Source: Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

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