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Graphene tunes in to new frequency

14 Jan 2016

New technology could see huge leap in internet speeds and safer alternatives to X-rays

New technology leading toward a huge leap in internet speeds and safer alternatives to X-rays has been demonstrated by using graphene.

The fascinating electrical properties of graphene have allowed University researchers to open up a new area of technology using terahertz lasers. This could vastly improve scanning systems, replacing X-rays, and also dramatically increase internet bandwidth.

Terahertz technology exists on the electromagnetic spectrum between microwave and infrared frequencies. The benefit of using terahertz lasers instead of X-rays is that they can accurately scan materials without causing damage.

The team of researchers, led by Dr Subhasish Chakraborty and Sir Kostya Novoselov, reported in journal Science, that graphene could be used to control the frequency of terahertz lasers. 

Highly-sensitive scanners for sensing minute defects in manufactured drugs, or detecting concealed weapons at airports could become more accurate and much safer for frequent use using the new technology.

The introduction of tuneable properties thanks to graphene could also potentially increase internet bandwidth capabilities up to and beyond one terabyte per second, a vast improvement on current internet speeds.

Graphene is the world’s first two-dimensional material. First isolated here at Manchester, its unique material properties allow for improvements in existing technologies as well as allowing scientists to explore ideas which were previously limited to theory.