Graphene enhances wifi hardware for unprecedented speed and efficiency
Swiss researchers from EPFL have produced a tunable, graphene-based device that could significantly increase the speed and efficiency of wireless communication systems. Their system works at very high frequencies, delivering unprecedented results. Because the current technologies available like MEMS and MOS, using silicon or metal, do not work well at high frequencies. And that’s where data can travel much faster but the new graphene-based solution, which was developed in the “Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory” is designed to replace tunable capacitors which the backbone of wifi and found in all wireless devices. The new device “tunes” the circuits to different frequencies so that they can operate across a wide range of frequency bands. It also meets other needs that neither MEMS nor MOS capacitors have good performance at high frequency, miniaturization and the ability to be tuned using low energy.
Researchers from The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne EPFL (abbrev: École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) overcame these problems with a graphene capacitor that is compatible with traditional circuits. The device consumes tiny energy and, above 2.1 GHz, easily outperforms its competitors and has a miniaturized design. “The surface area of a conventional MEMS system would have to be a thousand times greater to get the capacitance value,” said Clara Moldovan.
Researchers make these revolutionary solution based on a clever sandwich structure that calls graphene’s unique and wonderful characteristics into action to build Graphene quantum capacitors (GQC) which enablers of radio-frequency (RF) functions through voltage-tuning of their capacitance . The sandwich-shaped structure takes advantage of the fact that a two-dimensional 2D gas of electrons in a quantum well can behave like a quantum capacitance. This is because it follows the Pauli Exclusion Principle, according to which a certain amount of energy is needed to fill a quantum well with electrons this principle was formulated by Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli in 1925 for electrons, and later extended to all fermions with his spin-statistics theorem of 1940 and now this principle very import for nanotech and “Nanoelectronic Devices Laboratory” that depends on physics quantum rules .
Quantum capacitance can be easily measured in a single-atom layer of graphene and compatible with CMOS fabrication process and the first experimental assessment of their performance at microwave frequencies unprecedented and it up to 10 GHz, and the key advantage is that it is tunable by varying the charge density in graphene with a very low voltage.
The researchers invented devices which are only few hundred micrometers (around 0.05 cm) long and wide, can be stiff or flexible, is easily miniaturized, and uses very little energy. Potential applications are numerous. In addition to improving the transferring data between wifi devices, it could extend battery life and lead to compact devices more small and effective . In its flexible state, it could be easily used in sensors placed in clothes or medical planting devices on the human body, and perhaps appear as a hybrid which graphene will be paired with advanced silicon technologies.