A new generation of cheap, high-speed wireless computers could be a step closer after IBM produced a graphene microchip it claims can equal silicon.
The company says integrated circuits based on graphene, the single atomic layer form of carbon, could allow mobile and wearable computing devices to transmit data much faster and in a more cost-effective and power-efficient way than conventional silicon semiconductor technology.
A promising new application of graphene has been described by researchers at MIT, Columbia University and IBM's T. J. Watson Research Center in the latest issue of Nature Photonics. It has been revealed that graphene in photo detectors could convert optical signals to electrical signals in integrated optoelectronic computer chips.
Light will be used by them instead of electricity to move data both within and between computer chips. This could drastically reduce the power consumption and heat production. These are the problems to engulf with increase in computational capacity.
Now nanotechnologists from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia have developed an ultra lightweight supercapacitor that can easily be combined with regular batteries to dramatically boost their power while decreasing their weight - and within five years could eliminate the need for batteries altogether.
"Supercapacitors offer a high power output in a short time, meaning a faster acceleration rate of the car and a charging time of just a few minutes, compared to several hours for a standard electric car battery," said Marco Notarianni, a PhD researcher from QUT who worked on the project, in a press release.
But the potential of these devices goes beyond simply upgrading our current batteries - they could also replace them.
It transports electrons 10 times faster than silicon, and may soon be replacing it as the go-to material for transistors and computer parts. …
We're talking about "charging iPhones within five seconds" conductivity here. Imagine a world with electric cars that recharge as quickly as filling your tank with gas, or paper-thin foldable plastic phones that recharge the instant you set them down — that's exactly what graphene offers. And then there's the slight matter of its strength. Mix graphene with metals, and it increases their resilience 500-fold.