Graphene optical modulators to boost ultra-fast internet

Another use for wonder material graphene, then, as scientists claim it will greatly enhance lightning fast downloads and boost optical computer chips with new modulators being demonstrated.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, found that the material graphene, which is the source of fervent research in a massive variety of fields, could open the doors for greatly enhanced optical communications, as well as in the burgeoning field of optoelectronic computing.

A team at the university is about to release its findings following research into the application of graphene as an optical modulator, a component which controls the speed that data packets travel through networks.

If the speed of data pulses can be increased then it means greater swathes of information can be transmitted at high speeds.

The team has managed to demonstrate a working graphene modulator with broad optical bandwidth and high operational speed. These factors are essential for optical interconnects in integrated optoelectronic systems.

According to one researcher, the modulation efficiency is already shaping up comparably to more traditional semiconductor materials. One of the advantages is the size of the graphene modulator, which is vastly smaller in volume.

The researchers reckon that this could allow graphene based devices which are much more compact and can function at 10 times faster than what is currently available.

If this is the case then we could see, for example, full 3D films being downloaded in just a few seconds.

And with optical computer chips not far off, the size and speed of the graphene based modulators will certainly be of interest to developers.