Graphene coats the racetrack for photonic microchips
Another possible application of graphene – photonic microchips, with the manipulation of photons of light to carry information.
Researchers from the Universities of Manchester and Southampton have described how graphene can be wrapped around a silicon wire, or waveguide – the so called ‘racetrack resonators’ – and modify the transmission of light through it.
The paper has been published in Optics Express
According to the Univeristy of Manchester website:
Just as information can be carried by electrons in metal wires in a microchip, photons of light can carry information through silicon waveguides to form a photonic microchip. Photonic microchips are often regarded as the future of computer processing and telecommunications because of the vastly increased speeds of operation and bandwidth enhancements.
The work in question was led by Dr Aravind Vijayaraghavan and Dr Iain Crowe in collaboration with scientists from University of Southampton.
“When light travels around such a racetrack, some of the light ‘leaks’ out of the waveguide surface, and this ‘evanescent field’ can be used for chemical sensing applications,” said Dr Vijayaraghavan. “A coating of graphene on the surface of a waveguide can be used to add further capability to such a sensor, such as making it more sensitive and selective.”
“In this paper, we have calculated how much light is absorbed by the graphene when it coats the waveguide, and recommend optimum conditions for the graphene coating to serve as a sensor enhancement layer.”