Graphene opens up the way for temperature-insensitive detection in terahertz range based on photothermoelectric effect

GrapheneThe world of science knows no mercy and likes accuracy, and, of course, credit, where credit's due! This time TeraSense lab engineers should admit that other technologies based on Teraherz waves are successfully keeping pace with us, or are even ahead of us already! Scientists of the University of Maryland working in tight collaboration with their counterparts from Australia's Monash University, and the US Naval Research Lab succeeded in developing a prototype of a light detector made of grapheme that can ‘see through the matter’, operate at room temperatures and, the last but not least, has a picosecond response time!

This international research group decided to stake on mysterious properties of grapheme, a single layer of which due to it gapless lattice structure can measure just as little as one atom in thickness. Seeking to multiply the magic of grapheme, the researchers decided to add to the same scientific ‘caldron’ a principle called the hot-electron photothermoelectric effect. According to their report published in Nature Nanotechnology this concoction proved to be entirely worth of the efforts & money, and enabled to build an ultra-thin detector capable operating at speeds "more than a million times faster" than existing room temperature detectors in the terahertz range!

Of course, this latest discovery should instigate, if not inspire, TeraSense engineers to figure out something to counter this technology that appears to virtually be snapping at their heels.

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