MIT plots 1,000GHz graphene chip
By Stuart Turton
Posted on 26 Mar 2009 at 14:58
MIT researchers claim that advancements with a material called graphene could lead to processors capable of running at clock speeds between 500GHz and 1,000GHz.
Graphene - a type of pure carbon that's only one-atom-thick - was discovered in 2004 and has already been used by researchers to make prototype transistors and other simple devices.
However, the engineers at MIT have taken this one step further by building a prototype chip known as a frequency multiplier that can take the clock speed of a computer chip and produce an output signal that is a multiple of that frequency.
According to the researchers, their graphene chip is capable of doubling the frequency of an electromagnetic signal.
"In electronics, we're always trying to increase the frequency in order to make faster and faster computers" says Tomas Palacios, assistant professor in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
"It's very difficult to generate high frequencies above four or five gigahertz," he says, "but the new graphene technology could lead to practical systems in the 500 to 1,000GHz range."
Palacios says the material should be ready for commercial use within the next two years.
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