In a perfect world, we would succeed in making computers both incredibly cheap and extremely fast. For the longest time, reaching this goal seemed well out of reach. Thanks to new research, it turns out that graphene-based computers use far less power while boosting computer performance by as much as 1,000%. It is a discovery that could have major consequences for all computer-related activities.
Graphene Has Many Exciting Traits
Science and technology have never been more fun since graphene was discovered back in 2004. At that time, researchers from all over the world started looking into this material’s properties and how it could be used to make products cheaper to use and more powerful simultaneously. We determined that graphene was a much better conductor of electricity compared to copper. It is also a better conductor than silicon, especially in terms of the transfer rate achieved. Both of these developments alone are significant on their own.
However, it turns out graphene may have additional effects of which we were previously unaware. Researchers from four universities in the U.S. have come up with a way of using graphene as a transistor. That means this material can be applied to computers and other types of technology in common use today. The research was documented in Nature Communications and shows how graphene-based transistors beat the silicon transistors found in most modern computers by a large margin. While that may not sound like much to the average person, it is sure to have major consequences.
Every computer circuit we use today contains transistors, which are the tools needed to transmit and receive electronic signals and electrical power. By combining transistors, one creates a logic gate, which is the key component in microprocessors. It is these microprocessors which allow us to operate computers, smartphones, tablets, televisions, and all other gadgets one commonly uses these days. Pushing transistors forward has been a major objective in recent years, as it seemed there was very little progress being made.
Indeed, the speeds achieved by microprocessors really have not advanced much since 2005. That means that computers have not gotten faster or more efficient, although they do use slightly less electricity now. The rate at which signals and power can be transmitted through silicon transistors is fairly limited. With graphene, on the other hand, those limits are much higher. This will allow for significant progress to be made in making computers more powerful while requiring less power to do so.
During the initial test, the graphene transistor-based logic circuits improved the microprocessor clock speed by one thousand times. That means a microprocessor running at 4 GHz today would be capable of achieving speeds of up to 4 TH/s. No one needs that kind of computing power just yet, but it is nice to know the rate can be achieved regardless. Amazingly, that speed is achieved using just one percent of the current power requirements for silicon transistors. The latter point is especially significant where smaller electronic devices are concerned, as it will give tiny devices more functionality and allow their batteries to last much longer.
It should be noted that this research is still in its early stages. So far, the scientists have built a graphene ribbon, which is not even remotely comparable to microprocessors in computers. However, it certainly shows that the potential is there. Making computers more powerful while reducing their power requirements at the same time will yield some interesting results. If this can be applied to Bitcoin mining hardware as well, big changes will be coming in the not-so-distant future. Graphene may be the material the technology sector has sought after for so long.