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Old 05-25-2011   #1
ablethevoice
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Extremeband with light and carbon

A long time ago, I posted something about being another step closer to the Star Trek isolinear chip and posted a link to some news story in which carbon was being discussed as a replacement for silicon in future computer chips.

So here I am poking around the web and I find THIS little piece

I'll take the liberty of posting a couple of what I thought were the most interesting quotes:

Quote:
a tiny optical device that uses graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of crystallized carbon, to switch light on and off. This switching ability is the fundamental characteristic of a network modulator, which controls the speed at which data packets are transmitted.....

The researchers found that the energy of the electrons, referred to as its Fermi level, can be easily altered depending upon the voltage applied to the material. The graphene's Fermi level in turn determines if the light is absorbed or not.

When a sufficient negative voltage is applied, electrons are drawn out of the graphene and are no longer available to absorb photons. The light is "switched on" because the graphene becomes totally transparent as the photons pass through.

Graphene is also transparent at certain positive voltages because, in that situation, the electrons become packed so tightly that they cannot absorb the photons.

The researchers found a sweet spot in the middle where there is just enough voltage applied so the electrons can prevent the photons from passing, effectively switching the light "off."....

The researchers were able to achieve a modulation speed of 1 gigahertz, but they noted that the speed could theoretically reach as high as 500 gigahertz for a single modulator....

They successfully shrunk a graphene-based optical modulator down to a relatively tiny 25 square microns, a size roughly 400 times smaller than a human hair. The footprint of a typical commercial modulator can be as large as a few square millimeters....
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