Simon Wilby Discusses How Internet Can Now Be 100x Faster With Graphene
“Graphene” — remember where you read about it first, because this “wonder material” has the potential to revolutionize the electronics industry.
The “wonder material” is called graphene — a substance that’s stronger than steel and so thin it’s considered to be two-dimensional. (Simon Wilby 2014)
A group of Samsung Electronics researchers claim they have made a breakthrough discovery.
They have found a technique that could help the company make your future smartphone thinner, more durable, and even a deliver Internet 100 times faster!
In fact, it’s one million times thinner than paper, according to the American Physical Society. Discovered in 2004, graphene is made of a single layer of carbon atoms bonded together in hexagonal patterns.
Samsung’s researchers have just discovered a method that could allow a single crystal of graphene to retain its electrical and mechanical properties across a large area, the company said.
Graphene’s electron mobility is said to be 100 times greater than that of silicon, the material most widely used in the components that power many of today’s smartphones, tablets and computers. The Korea-based manufacturer hasn’t mentioned exactly how the discovery will impact its specific future devices, but described it as “the perfect material for use in flexible displays, wearables and other next generation electronic devices.”
In other words, they have found a process that could allow graphene to be used at its full potential in future electronic devices, which could include wearables, smartphones and more. Samsung said graphene would be particularly crucial in developing wearable devices, such as smartwatches and Internet-connected wristbands, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Discovered in 2004, and the subject of research that led to a 2010 Nobel Prize, graphene is both the thinnest and the strongest material in the world.
On Friday, Apr. 4, Samsung Electronics, in partnership with Sungkyunkwan University, announced a breakthrough synthesis method to speed the commercialization of graphene, a unique material ideally suited for electronic devices.
“This is one of the most significant breakthroughs in graphene research in history,” said the laboratory leaders at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology in a statement. “We expect this discovery to accelerate the commercialization of graphene, which could unlock the next era of consumer electronic technology.”
Discovered in 2004, and the subject of research that led to a 2010 Nobel Prize, graphene is both the thinnest and the strongest material in the world. It is an excellent conductor of electricity, and outperforms all other known materials as a conductor of heat. Graphene transistors could be substantially faster than today’s silicon transistors, resulting in more efficient computer processing. Meanwhile, the material’s transparency makes it ideal for touch screens.
For electronics manufacturers, the material had just one problem: size. Most of graphene’s transformative qualities could not be produced at a scale that was useful in manufacturing consumer-level products. Basically, manufacturing methods in the past reduced the benefits associated with the material. But Samsung claims to have found a solution to this problem.
“The new method… synthesizes large-area graphene into a single crystal on a semiconductor, maintaining its electric and mechanical properties,” the company said. “The new method repeatedly synthesizes single crystal graphene on the current semiconductor wafer scale.”
Translation: Samsung can finally manufacture big, thin sheets of graphene, a necessary first step to creating actual consumer products with it.
So what exactly does this mean for the future gadgets? It will most likely keep the components inside your phone thinner and it could potentially allow for super thin, transparent screens.
Since graphene is so thin, the commercialization of it could usher in the slimmest transistors yet — potentially yielding gadgets that are much sleeker than today’s existing smartphones.
Graphene could also bring flexible phones, smartwatches and gadgets to the market if its commercialized on a wide enough scale, as Gigaom reported in July. Since the material is more durable than steel, phones and future gadgets are likely to resist damage more than existing devices.
Graphene is said to deliver Internet to smartphones 100 times faster, according to research from the University of Bath’s Department of Physics. This is essentially because graphene can convert light faster than the materials used in today’s existing smartphone components. The report explains that data travels in the form of light when it hits your smartphone, so the faster it can convert light the faster data can reach you.
The commercialization of graphene also suggests that we’ll see wearable devices that are much different than products on the market today. Instead of somewhat clunky smartwatches and fitness bands without a screen, we could see devices that look much more like the iWatch concept art that’s been circulating the Web for months.
It’s unclear exactly when we’ll see smartphones and wearable based on graphene, but Samsung’s discovery marks a huge leap toward bringing it to market. During its Analyst Day in November, the company said it could bring phones that are completely bendable and foldable to market by 2015. Samsung has been showcasing its YOUM flexible displays for quite some time, but it hasn’t yet found a way to bring it to market in everyday consumer gadgets. This discovery could possibly change that. (Simon Wilby 2014)