Graphene could lead to super-fast internet

Graphene, the thinnest material in the world, can be used to speed up communication rates tens and potentially hundreds of times faster than the fastest internet cables.

British scientists have conceived of a way of using graphene to capture and convert more light than before, paving the way for advances in high-speed Internet and other optical communications, Reuters reported.

Previously, a simple solar cell that generates electric power was made by putting two closely spaced metallic wires on top of graphene and shining light on this structure. However, these cell devices have low efficiency because graphene absorbs only 3 per cent of light.

Novoselov's team, collaboration between the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge, solved this problem by combining graphene with tiny plasmonic nanostructures. The performance of graphene was boosted by 20 times after plasmonic enhancement.

"We expected that plasmonic nanostructures could improve the efficiency of graphene-based devices but it has come as a pleasant surprise that the improvements can be so dramatic," Alexander Grigorenko, an expert in plasmonics and a leading member of the team, told Reuters. "Graphene seems a natural companion for plasmonics."