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    RF’s new frontier: terahertz-band graphene radios

    Researchers at the University of Buffalo’s Department of Electrical Engineering School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have fabricated tiny terahertz-band radios from graphene and semiconducting materials that enable short-range, high-speed communication.

    Like the hugely-successful ‘software defined radio,’ terahertz radio creates new communications paths for designers and engineers- this time at the nano level.

    Researchers fabricated tiny radio antennas from graphene strips 10-100 nanometers wide and one micrometer long and combined them with indium gallium arsenide semiconductor materials to create nano-devices that can transmit and receive terahertz waves at wireless speeds greater than one terabit per second.

    Researchers say this technology could ultimately speed inter-system communications, like cutting the time it takes to complete complex computer tasks like migrating data files from one computer to another.


    This image shows graphene-based nanoantennas (blue and red dots) on a chip. Image: University at Buffalo.

    University of Buffalo Research News

    Tiny graphene radios may lead to Internet of Nano-Things


    Published November 4, 2016

    “For wireless communication, the terahertz band is like an express lane. But there’s a problem: There are no entrance ramps,” says Josep Jornet, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

    Jornet is principal investigator of a three-year, $624,497 grant from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research to help develop a wireless communication network in the terahertz band. Co-principal investigators are Jonathan Bird, professor of electrical engineering, and Erik Einarsson, assistant professor of electrical engineering.

    Their work centers on developing extremely small radios — made of graphene and semiconducting materials — that enable short-range, high-speed communication.

    The technology could ultimately reduce the time it takes to complete complex tasks, such as migrating the files of one computer to another, from hours to seconds. Other potential applications include implantable body nanosensors that monitor sick or at-risk people, and nanosensors placed on aging bridges, in polluted waterways and other public locations to provide ultra-high-definition streaming.

    These are examples of the so-called Internet of Nano-Things, a play on the more common Internet of Things, in which everyday objects are hooked up to the cloud via sensors, microprocessors and other technology.

    “We’ll be able to create highly accurate, detailed and timely maps of what’s happening within a given system. The technology has applications in health care, agriculture, energy efficiency — basically anything you want more data on,” Jornet says.

    More on the untapped potential of Terahertz waves