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Scientists eye superfast Internet

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Scientists say they have devised a way of using graphene, the thinnest material in the world, for a very speed exchange of data on the Internet.

British scientists, including last year’s Nobel Prize-winning scientists Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, believe that with the new method they can capture and convert more light than before, paving the way for advances in high-speed Internet and other optical communications, Reuters reported on August 31.

The scientists found that by combining graphene with metallic nanostructures, there was a 20-fold enhancement in the amount of light the graphene could harvest and convert into electrical power.

Graphene was discovered in 2004 and has been hailed as a “wonder material.”

Scientists had previously managed to produce a simple solar cell by placing microscopic metallic wires on top of graphene sheets and shining light on them.

Its superconductive properties meant that electrons could flow at high speed with extreme mobility.

However, early graphene solar cells were not very efficient, as the material was only capable of absorbing about 3% of visible light, with the rest shining through without being converted into power.

The latest research, overcomes that problem by using a method, known as plasmonic enhancement, to combine graphene with tiny metallic structures called plasmonic nanostructures.

As a result, its light-harvesting performance is increased by a factor of 20.


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