January 2, 2012 AT 12:47 pm

Using Graphene to Build Nanoamplifiers

This is so cool, and it has enormous potential — think nanotransponders for the Internet of Things (or sub-dermal radios). From nanotechweb:

The first graphene device capable of significant voltage amplification (more than 10 dB) has been fabricated by researchers in Italy. The result confirms that the “wonder material” could compete head-on with silicon as the material of choice in electronics and is not simply limited to niche, low-voltage gain, high-frequency applications as currently thought.

The voltage amplifier (a device capable of amplifying small alternating voltage signals) is the main building block in analogue electronics. Thanks to its unique electrical and mechanical properties, graphene (a sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb-like lattice just one atom thick) should be ideal for use in a host of technological devices – such as high-speed transistors – and in photonics. However, many scientists believe that it cannot compete with silicon in applications requiring voltage amplification, like analogue amplifiers and digital logic gates.

Even though it is their first graphene amplifier, it already shows “remarkable performance”, according to Sordan and colleagues – with a flat frequency response well exceeding the audio range (>20 kHz) and a very low total harmonic distortion (<1%).

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