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Graphene Flakes Make Laser Neuron Superfast

In recent years, computer chips researchers have been hard at work developing methods by which increase both the speed and efficiency of information processing. Although several methods have since come to light, none show more promise than the addition of graphene flakes. By integrating graphene flakes into existing computer chip designs, researchers believe they can produce a new breed of hyper fast chip known as “neuromorphic” chips that will function similarly to neurons in the human brain. These new chips will communicate via timed laser spikes as opposed to more traditional binary codes. In this manner, neuromorphic chips will enable computers to process multiple information sources all while immensely increasing processor speed and accuracy.

“We’re essentially using time as a way of encoding information,” says Bhavin Shastri, a Banting postdoctoral fellow in electrical engineering at Princeton University. Computation is based on the spatial and temporal positions of the pulses. “This is sort of the fundamental way neurons communicate with other neurons,” he says.

In order for neuromorphic chips to be truly viable, they must be able to operate accurately down to one-trillionth of a second (one picosecond). After trying a number of different material options, researchers found that the only way to achieve such precise timing is to insert a flake of graphene within a transistor laser. The graphene then acts as type of photon sponge by absorbing photons and then quickly releasing them in one short spurt of energy. Additionally, graphene can still function flawlessly at any laser wavelength and any laser color. Graphene infused neuromorphic chips might just be the breakthrough that the chip industry has been searching for, and this technology could be the key to more advanced computing. Look for graphene infused chips to becoming increasingly prevalent over the next decade and beyond.

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January 20, 2021
February 6, 2020

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