Just one atom thick, the chicken wire shaped sheet of carbon has shown that when under light and set close to metallic wires it becomes an elementary solar cell capable of generating electric power.
More importantly, say the researchers, due to the high mobility and high velocity unique nature of electrons in graphene, these devices can massively outperform communication rates in the fastest internet cables.
However, they are not very efficiently due to graphene not being very good at absorbing light. That is until Prof Ferrari and his team at the Cavendish laboratory collaborated with professors Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, the Nobel Prize winning duo from Manchester University that discovered graphene in 2004
Their work, published in the journal Nature Communications, has combined the material with metallic nanostructures (making plasmonic nanostructures) which they say show a 20-fold enhancement in harvesting light with no reduction in speed.
"Many leading electronics companies consider graphene for the next generation of devices. This work certainly boosts graphene's chances even further," said Professor Novoselov in a group statement.blog comments powered by Disqus