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Black phosphorus is new 'wonder material'
Tuesday March 3, 2015 2:25 PM, IANS

Black phosphorus can be used to transfer data at high speed on nanoscale optical circuits, a new research has found.

The researchers from the University of Minnesota used an ultra thin black phosphorus film - only 20 layers of atoms - to demonstrate high-speed data communication on nanoscale optical circuits.

The devices showed vast improvement in efficiency over comparable devices using the earlier 'wonder material' graphene.

"After the discovery of graphene, new two-dimensional materials continue to emerge with novel opto-electronic properties," said prof Mo Li, who led the research team.

"Because these materials are two-dimensional, it makes perfect sense to place them on chips with flat optical integrated circuits to allow maximal interaction with light and optimally utilise their novel properties," Li explained.

As consumers demand electronic devices that are faster and smaller, electronics makers cram more processor cores on a single chip -- but getting all those processors to communicate with each other has been a key challenge for researchers.

The goal is to find materials that will allow high-speed, on-chip communication using light.

Due to its unique properties, black phosphorus can be used to detect light very effectively, making it desirable for optical applications.

The team created intricate optical circuits in silicon and then laid thin flakes of black phosphorus over these structures.

The team also showed that the devices could be used for real-world applications by sending high-speed optical data over fibres and recovering it using the black phosphorus photo-detectors.

The group demonstrated data speeds up to three billion bits per second, which is equivalent to downloading a typical HD movie in about 30 seconds.

The findings were published in Nature Photonics.

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