Graphene Antenna is a proposed high-frequency antenna based on graphene, a one atom thick two dimensional carbon crystal, that would enhance radio communications. The unique structure of graphene would enable these enhancements. Ultimately, the factor it came down to for choosing graphene for the basis of this nano antenna was the behavior of electrons. This is currently being researched and graphene appears to be a feasible basis for this antenna.
It would be unfeasible to simply reduce traditional metallic antennas to nano sizes, because they would require tremendously high frequencies to operate. Consequently, it would require a lot of power to operate these antennas. Furthermore, electrons in these traditional metals are not very mobile at nano sizes and the necessary electromagnetic waves would not form. However, these limitations would not be an issue with graphene's unique capabilities. A flake of graphene has the potential to hold a series of metal electrodes. Consequently, it would be possible to develop an antenna from this material.
Graphene has a unique structure, in fact, electrons are able to move with minimal resistance. This enables electricity to move at a much faster speed than metal, which is used for current antennas. Furthermore, as the electrons oscillate they create an electromagnetic wave atop the graphene layer, referred to as the surface plasmon polariton wave. This would enable the antenna to operate at the lower end of the terahertz frequency, which would be more efficient than the current copper based antennas. Ultimately, researchers envision that graphene will be able to breakthrough the limitations of current antennas.
The use of graphene would enable miniaturization of antennas. Although these antennas would be smaller they would work significantly better than conventional antennas. Furthermore, these miniature antennas would be more efficient than the current antenna in use today. It has been estimated that speeds of up to terabits per second can be achieved by such a device. Traditional antennas would require very high frequencies to operate at nano scales, making it an unfeasible option. However, the unique slower movement of electrons in graphene would enable it to operate at lower frequencies making it a feasible option for a nano sized antenna.
The capabilities that a graphene antenna would provide has sparked the curiosity of many researchers. Consequently, research has shown that graphene is a feasible material to make this antenna out of. Currently, researchers are implementing their research and figuring out how to build a functional graphene antenna.
Researchers from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have discovered a unique way to create an atomic antenna. They have discovered that two sheets of graphene can be connected by a silicon wire that is approximately .1 nanometers in diameter. This is approximately 100 times smaller than current metal based wires, which can be reduced to 50 nanometers. This silicon wire however, is not simply a conventional wire it is a plasmotic device, which would enable the formation of surface plasmon polariton waves required to operate this nano antenna.
Samsung has funded $120,000 for research into the graphene antenna to a team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Their research has shown that graphene is a feasible material to make this nano antenna. They have simulated how the electrons would behave, and have confirmed that surface plasmon polariton waves should form. This wave is essential for the graphene antenna to operate at the low end of the terahertz range, making it more efficient than the traditional antenna. Currently, they are working on implementing their research and finding a way to propagate the electromagnetic waves necessary to operate the antenna. Their findings were published in the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications.
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