Published in PC Hardware

Graphene could make chips a million times faster

by on15 June 2016

MIT Boffins have eureka moment 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology boffins have emerged from their baths with a technique which could make chips millions of times faster.

Graphene, which is atom-thick carbon, is touted as a wonder material, but the researchers explained, while rigorously towelling themselves down, that the material is the key to slowing the speed of light.

If you slow it down enough flowing electrons can create an "optical boom." They did this by using Graphene to slow photons to slow photons to several hundredths of their normal speed in a free space.

Researcher Ido Kaminer said that the characteristics of graphene speed up electrons to a million metres a second, or around 1/300 of the speed of light in a vacuum.

As electrons move faster than the trapped light, they bleed plasmons, a form of virtual particle that represents the oscillation of electrons on the graphene’s surface.

What happens is electricity is turned into light, which has been tried before (in case you had not noticed). But this method generates plasmons at a scale that works with microchip technology.

If chip were made from graphene as part of a light-based circuit the it could transfer of data a lot faster. According to Kaminer it would create a processor which is a million times faster.

Physics Professor Marin Soljacic, a researcher on the project, who is confident that MIT can turn this theoretical experiment into a working system within a year or two.

Last modified on 16 June 2016
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