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Large Improvement in Graphene Photosensitivity Realized

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the we-demand-more-bits dept.

The Internet 71

alphadogg sends in a writeup in NetworkWorld about promising new research with graphene. From the article: "Two Nobel Prize winning scientists out of the U.K. have come up with a new way to use graphene – the thinnest material in the world – that could make Internet pipes feel a lot fatter. University of Manchester professors Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov ... write in the journal Nature Communications of a method of combining the carbon-based material with metallic nanostructures to use as photodetectors that could greatly increase the amount of light optical communications devices could handle. This advance in graphene light harvesting and conversion into electrical power could lead to communications rates tens or even hundreds of times faster than today's, the researchers say."

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Sometimes i wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37264500)

If the speed of our communication is fine. It's the content and motivation that's the problem.

I don't think i want spam delivered tens or even hundreds of times faster.

Re:Sometimes i wonder... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37264534)

I don't think i want spam delivered tens or even hundreds of times faster.

You should go back to dialup then, I'm sure you want spam delivered to you tens or even hundreds of times slower

Re:Sometimes i wonder... (2)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264824)

I've been hearing how awesome graphene is for years and years. Is anybody making anything out of this stuff today?

Re:Sometimes i wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37272642)

I tire of these "I want it now" comments. Just enjoy the research and dream a bit. Give the researchers a pat on the back and some encouragement. We'll get there.

Folks need to take a walk and enjoy some time away from instant gratification.

Re:Sometimes i wonder... (3, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264630)

Thank god for this. The slow bandwidth to Twitter is killing me. When one my friends goes out to lunch, or has a particularly noteworthy bowel movement, I want to know about it in nanoseconds, not milliseconds, goddamit.

Yay! Darker Fiber! (1)

Tatarize (682683) | more than 2 years ago | (#37269554)

The problem isn't the fiber. We have a crap ton of it running everywhere. It's really cheap to run fiber. This technology could make us better able to increase the rates further, but seeing as none of that gets to end users our internet will still suck. We have such a glut of fiber that a 100x communication boost means we'd just use less of the already huge amount of fiber. So rather than using only 2 of the 100 fibers we have, we'll use 1 and send even less light down that series of tubes.

And? (0)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264514)

Comcast will still have a cap on my connection, lets address that first.

Re:And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37264528)

It's British, don't worry it won't work.

Re:And? (0)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264968)

I don't know... their space program did get all the way to the third floor roof.

According to Mr. Izzard.

Re:And? (3, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264774)

Comcast is simply being a good steward for the planet in this case. Whilst other companies fritter away bandwidth at an appalling rate, Comcast recognizes and respects that bandwidth is a non-renewable resource. Once you use up bandwidth, it's gone forever. This new research reminds me of nothing so much as an announcement of a new model Hummer that gets even WORSE mileage.

Don't be in such a hurry to use up all the bandwidth, leave some for your grandchildren!

Re:And? (1)

ComplexSimplicity (993041) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265164)

You even said that with a straight face... Bravo!

Re:And? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265288)

I know! And some idiot said I was "off topic" (whatever THAT is). Try to be environmentally conscious and people jump all over you.

Re:And? (0)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264780)

What, you aren't looking forward to hitting your monthly cap in less than a minute?

Re:And? (1)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 2 years ago | (#37267778)

Well, there will probably always be some kind of cap, just because a tiny minority of users (invariably pirates) tend to use whatever bandwidth they have available. But the question is how big is that cap and what does it cost you?

In any consumer ISP network there are several bottlenecks, and in many cases it's not actually the "last mile", it's in the core network. The issue isn't actually the fibre itself - good, modern optical cables can easily carry terabits/sec of data. The problem is switching and routing it at each end. Those packets might jump down the cable at the speed of light but when they arrive at the other end they have to turned back into electrical signals, processed into packets and then routed around. There are machines that can do this at 10 gigabits/sec but they are incredibly expensive because they rely on, eg, high precision optics that only a handful of companies in the world are able to make. As far as I know no commercial equipment can go faster than 10 Gb/sec, if you see links claiming to be faster than that it means multiple routers are connected at each end and they are using different wavelengths (colours) on the same bit of glass.

What this research has done is improve the efficiency of a material that can turn light into electricity at rates much faster than traditional devices can. That means that a single router can potentially handle much more traffic on the same link, ie, at lower cost. If you can get a lot more routing bang for your buck, you can upgrade your core network significantly, and then raising the caps or lowering prices is just a matter of policy. Whether that actually happens of course depends on whether there's local competition or government regulators interested in forcing the hand of monopolies, but there are technical reasons why bandwidth is limited and non-free.

feel? (0)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264520)

does this mean I can break out my 56k modem and have it feel like a cable modem?

Re:feel? (0)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264542)

I'm pretty sure 56K modems aren't optical communications devices.

Re:feel? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37264618)

What?!? Those blinking red lights on the front aren't trying to tell me something?

Worst robot friend ever!

Re:feel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37264624)

Maybe it could be used as a semaphore?

Re:feel? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264806)

summery said "could make Internet pipes feel a lot fatter" said nothing about optical anything in that statement.

Re:feel? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265298)

Yea? And internet pipes being faster has nothing (well, directly) to do with your local bandwidth. This is backbone shit.

Re:feel? (2)

Alphathon (1634555) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265318)

Um, I know this is slashdot, but did you even bother to read the whole summary*? It specifically said "... a method of combining the carbon-based material with metallic nanostructures to use as photodetectors that could greatly increase the amount of light optical communications devices could handle" (emphasis mine). Sure that particular sentence didn't mention it, but taking it on its own seems a bit "quote-miney" to me. Then there's the title of course, which seems pretty clear to me.

*It's summary, not summery; that means "like summer".

Re:feel? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265630)

And?

The summery suggested that all that would make all internet pipes feel faster.

Re:feel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37265834)

Yeah it was a shitty science journalist statement. Get over it.

Re:feel? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37266044)

I don't know about you but I feel faster already.

Re:feel? (1)

LibRT (1966204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37267582)

The "summery" [sic] says "fatter" not "faster" - it's all part of helping the communications infrastructure keep up with rising obesity rates...

Re:feel? (0)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264944)

That depends on how you rub on it.

Sounds good for core networks (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264526)

This sounds promising for backhauls. I don't see it improving last-mile thoroughput, however, since practically nobody has optical fiber going to their house.

Re:Sounds good for core networks (1)

eggled (1135799) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264554)

This sounds promising for backhauls. I don't see it improving last-mile thoroughput, however, since practically nobody has optical fiber going to their house.

Nope, way more common to have that pesky slow audio fiber.

Re:Sounds good for core networks (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264670)

Um, what? Optical fiber is the correct term for it. Wouldn't want to confuse it with piece-of-string internet.

Re:Sounds good for core networks (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 2 years ago | (#37266418)

Yeah, those rusty old tin cans don't make for much of a pipe, now do they? :)

Now I'm forced to wonder if anyone ever used acoustic modems via tin-cans and string... The answer may surprise you [youtube.com] . Or not.

-l

Re:Sounds good for core networks (1)

Alarash (746254) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264700)

That's great because it just so happens that the bandwidth limitations usually are in the Core and Backhaul networks (well that and decade-old DSLAMs I suppose). Last-mile throughput problem could be easily solved today by getting everybody on the FTTH wagon - so the problem really is money, not technology.

Re:Sounds good for core networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37265032)

orly? try living in Lithuania. Postboxes overflow with posters from ISPs giving discounts on signups for optical fiber internet..

Graphene sounds awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37264560)

But I'm curious as to when we're likely to start seeing products using it. I know it takes time to get to market - I'm just wary of hype. I've seen so many awesome possibilities for graphene so far, I just want to know when I'm going to see them out in the real world.

Re:Graphene sounds awesome (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264596)

If it's in Nature, it's probably not going to be commercialised any time soon. Think of the article as engineering shop talk and not a sales pitch from your cable company.

Re:Graphene sounds awesome (1)

flibbidyfloo (451053) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264754)

It wouldn't matter if it were a ready-for-market product. The only way the cable and telecoms would roll it out is if the government gave them another enormous handout to pay for it. No way they are cutting into their bottom line for infrastructure improvements.

Re:Graphene sounds awesome (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265126)

The federal government has already given the telecom industry several large subsidies, purportedly to improve infrastructure, instead companies in the industry have used the money to buy each other, and pocketed the difference.

Re:Graphene sounds awesome (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264768)

I would expect to see it in about 5 years or so, given the recent advances in mass production technology in the lab (ie methods for cheaply producing continuous sheets of graphene limited only by the size of the production facility).

Longer if the government decides to get involved. Possibly never at that point, just like how they got involved in aviation and killed the flying car (like six separate times).

telling the truth improves language skills (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37264590)

the absence of censorship, & media manipulated fear & loathing, has been shown to do the same.

disarm (weapons, language (of fear & hatred), vaccines, media decepticons etc..... the wwworld is weighting with bait dead breadth.

those who have no language or audience will be graciously grateful, & we'll (most of us) be able to feel & see it.

read the teepeeleaks etchings. the genuine natives still have no words in their language to describe what happened to them, but they can be quite graphic, when referring to the unrepentant (now a major motion picture) queens' hired goons.

Invest in 3M! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37264616)

You see, to make all these fancy graphene devices, they'll need shit loads of Scotch Tape [youtube.com] .

Scotch Tape is made by 3M [scotchbrand.com]

A Graphene World, invest in 3M, and then billionaire!

Re:Invest in 3M! (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 2 years ago | (#37267620)

Maybe they could stick lots of cheap graphene together and somehow make pencil leads?
I'm sure people would buy Nano-Pencils TM just because of high-techiness.

Bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37264622)

Did slashdot editors recently spend their dwindling bitcoin reserves on some sort of graphene pump and dump because it seems to have replaced bitcoin in the unsubstantiated "NEXT BIG THING (that nobody else cares about)" field

Re:Bitcoin (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264782)

Fuck you, I care. Graphene is the future of humanity. You go live in the past if you want to.

If you need me, I'll be making the spool for my space elevator.

Re:Bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37266228)

If slashdot is hyping it, it is either years out of date or bullshit, so you might as well stop worrying about it.

Maybe future editions of Packt's Drupal series will come bound in graphene covers.

Re:Bitcoin (1)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264784)

I wouldn't say nobody. Every new little thing with graphene is just as amazing as the last. It's likely going to revolutionize all the fields people claim in the near future. In any case, I certainly do care about it.

"Could" does not mean "will" (2)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264680)

Fiber optic technology that can deliver 100Mbps and even gigabit speeds over wide area distances has been around for years, so the reason it hasn't reached your doorstep yet isn't because it hasn't been invented yet. What's been standing in the way of progress all this time are the large telecom corporations that exploit all those local loops out there, those last miles of ancient copper that they're always promising to replace with something better, but always find a reason not to. No, as far as they're concerned it's always better to squeeze the last dime possible out of your investment if you can, especially when there's no real competition (something most of us can also thank our local governments for).

Re:"Could" does not mean "will" (-1, Troll)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264892)

So (for example) ATT's rapacious greed and refusal to upgrade infrastructure (anywhere, particularly cross-country) is the fault of local governments? When it's the phone/cable companies who DEMAND those local monopolies to "recoup their investment"?

Holy shit, I've read some wildly delusional libertardian bullshit on /. before, but this one is deserving of some kind of award.

Re:"Could" does not mean "will" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37266794)

When the government grants monopolies, helps collect taxes, and ensures high service fees in exchange for those monopolies yet refuses to force the utilities to upgrade their infrastructure, for which they have been paid and is part of their charter, yes, absolutely, without any doubt, it is an absolute failure of government. Part of government's primary role is to protect the interests of the people in exchange for those monopolies. That's not happening. So who can you blame? Corporations who are being told to continue business as usual or government who isn't doing their most basic job?

Sounds like you've drank the wrong coolaid and turned off your brain in the exchange.

Re:"Could" does not mean "will" (2)

Taty'sEyes (2373326) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265056)

Well when Verizon came through and put in FTTH in my neighborhood, they pulled the copper. "Why?", you ask. Because the regulations on fiber are not the same as on copper. They then had us locked in. So we bitched a fit and they had to put some of it back (or at least so I hear, as I moved before the whole project was completed). Oh and one other note: I manufacture PLCs (planar lightwave circuits) that handle 100 Gbps (10 channels by 10Gbps) and have for years now - just to back your claim.

Re:"Could" does not mean "will" (1)

Scarred Intellect (1648867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265122)

Fiber optic technology that can deliver 100Mbps and even gigabit speeds over wide area distances has been around for years, so the reason it hasn't reached your doorstep yet isn't because it hasn't been invented yet. What's been standing in the way of progress all this time are the large telecom corporations that exploit all those local loops out there, those last miles of ancient copper that they're always promising to replace with something better, but always find a reason not to. No, as far as they're concerned it's always better to squeeze the last dime possible out of your investment if you can, especially when there's no real competition (something most of us can also thank our local governments for).

If you need a bit of leverage, take my local government. I thank them profusely for what they've done for us (well, the Public Utility District). I also thank California, for allowing us to rape their pocketbooks some 10 years ago for selling them cheap power at ridiculously expensive prices.

But seriously, the fiber to the home is very possible, very doable. If anyone in the decision-making process/government is trying to tell you it can't be done, just point them to Grant County PUD. My actual bandwidth, at 8:34 PM local time: Speedtest result [speedtest.net]

I really would love to see more people have fiber optics to their homes. It'll force the ISP's to increase their pipes, and the internet as a whole will be better, I think.

Re:"Could" does not mean "will" (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37268226)

those last miles of ancient copper that they're always promising to replace with something better, but always find a reason not to.

The reason is called MONEY.

Buzzwords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37264682)

Every time I hear "light", "materials", "faster" and "could" in the same summary, I automatically throw it in the "cool research, never going to be practical for a product" bucket.

The thousands of researchers claiming to have done something similar over the past decade, without a single one showing any practical fruits of their research, have poisoned my opinion of them forever. I look forward to good old copper for the next 1000 years!

Internet pipes fatter? (2)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264756)

Since graphene is so strong you could build a pipe 20 metres across. Not only would it be able to carry data, but also semi trucks. You could order stuff from Amazon with instant shipping, and get physical purchases as fast as digital downloads.

Re:Internet pipes fatter? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264932)

So it really could be a series of (pneumatic) tubes!

Re:Internet pipes fatter? (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265934)

Yup. That's why it's referred to as pushing data to or pulling data from the the internet. I think the great elasticity and extreme tenuity [brainyquote.com] of the pneumatic tubes is why they call it an ethernet cable.

Great... (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264796)

Despite living in a major UK city I still have between 0.5 and 1mbps going down copper wires from an exchange the next town over. But yeah keep talking about newer, better broadband.

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37265338)

Probably it's first time I am able to boast living in Russia. I live in not so major Russian city and have 4/8 mbps download speed at day/nights for 15$ a month with FTTH going to my home and ethernet from FTTH router. And to attract new customers provider giving them 100 mbps line for 10$ when possible (it means they would not limit speed but they have limits on their external connections)

Re:Great... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265372)

Yea, because it's totally the fault of the technology and research, and not the greedy bastards who won't just fucking implement it.

Re:Great... (1)

HopefulIntern (1759406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37272832)

I did not mean to place blame, I meant to point out what you just pointed out. From my perspective, news stories like this are a slap in the face, to remind me that the technology exists, but nobody rolls out some decent hardware.

Isnt todays technology (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264860)

already much faster than that. I mean yea its not been consumerized but neither has this.

Gots to be said. (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264890)

Can't wait to greeze them pipes.

two scientists out of the U.K.? (0)

m.alessandrini (1587467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37264898)

Britain self-centrism is legendary... Like when there are storms and they say that the Continent is isolated.

Is this the advent of.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37265292)

Star Trek like power conduits? gotta wonder...

Use in solar panels? (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37265386)

This advance in graphene light harvesting and conversion into electrical power

Can this be used to improve solar panel efficiency?

Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37265606)

We are far away from filling the virtually limitless bandwidth offered by optic fiber.

Changed source material (1)

chinton (151403) | more than 2 years ago | (#37266332)

They started using Thin Mint instead of Samoas.

routers? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37267214)

Is there not more of a issue with routers not keeping up with the raw bandwidth of fiber then the fiber connections right now?

Re:routers? (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37268374)

the bottle neck is the long haul links.

Re:routers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37269082)

Packet switching core routers give lot's of headache on high throughput Large networks. vs Circuit switching
see: RFC3439 and http://klamath.stanford.edu/~molinero/thesis/html/

does anybody have actual data what our backbone is running on as of 2010 or 2011?

could ..would.. should... might ... somedays .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37273822)

These articles seem written by "Masters of the Subjunctive" .. you know, that verb tense that is used when the statement is contrary to fact ...
It's been what, a decade??... that graphene has been with us ... The substance to re-invent the 21st century .. riiiiiight .. And does anyone here have on her/his desk any graphene device more advanced than a lead-pencil? ... nooo... ya dont ...

Maybe the lead-pencil did transform the 18th century ... but i dont see where graphene has gone anywhere since then .. Daily we're exposed to 'DISCOVERY TO MAKE SUPERCAPACITORS....' or 'PHOTOVOLTAIC DISCOVERY: GRAPHENE PLUS CHLOROPHIL>>>" ...blah blah blah....

Net result: umpteen trillions of wasted electrons and photons ... lost in the sea of nothingness that comprises this world of 'Subjunctive Engineering' ...

Gimme a break!!!

tkjtkj@gmail.com

Fatter pipes... Someday? (1)

tchall (1146319) | more than 2 years ago | (#37276162)

FWIW, ten years ago I lived in a house built in the 50s... The sleepy little housing development it sat in was STILL being served by the original PAPER INSULATED CABLES installed when the place was new...

After a good rainstorm you could pick up the phone, hit any number to kill the dial tone, and listen to a half dozen conversations leaking across the wet paper...

The telephone and cable companies will drag their feet for as long as consumers let them...

MY Internet connection is on a point-point radio since the nearest fiber optic/DSL branch is about five miles short of getting here...

Graphene detectors will be nice... someday.... but we could do SO MUCH MORE with infrastructure RIGHT NOW!!!
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