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New Material Could Lead to Faster Chips

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MIT's experimental graphene microchip

MIT / Donna Coveney

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have built an experimental graphene-based microchip that could lead to cell phones and other communications systems that transmit data significantly faster. The MIT researchers' graphene chip is known as a frequency multiplier. It is capable of receiving electrical signals on a certain frequency and producing an output signal that is a multiple of that frequency.

Frequency multipliers are commonly used in radio communications and other applications, but existing systems need multiple components, produce "noisy" signals that need filtering, and consume large amounts of power. MIT's graphene-based chip has only a single transistor and produces a highly energy-efficient, clean output that does not need filtering. By running several graphene frequency multipliers in a series, it should be possible to reach frequencies significantly higher than is currently possible.

A key element of making graphene widely usable will be perfecting the methods used to produce sufficient quantities of the material. "Graphene will play a key role in future electronics," says MIT professor Tomas Palacios. "We just need to identify the right devices to take full advantage of its outstanding properties. Frequency multipliers could be one of these devices."

From MIT News
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