Researchers at Universities of Bath and Exeter have recently demonstrated how multiple layers of graphene stacked on top of one another can serve as material for next-generation optical switches. Interestingly, with they can achieve 100 times the speed of telecommunications compared to current technology.
Optical switches are an integral part of the telecommunications infrastructure. And although their performance is already not satisfactory, researchers have long assumed that the use of materials called semimetals (and graphene is one of them) could further improve them.
While conventional optical switches have response times of a few picoseconds (about a trillionth of a second), physicists at the University of Bath noticed that the recombination time of an optical switch using multiple layers of graphene was on the order of one hundred femtoseconds, nearly a hundred times faster.
How soon the new technology will be widely used is not yet clear. Therefore, we will continue to use the inexorably aging optical technologies, and we will hope that our grandchildren will sarcastically laugh and point fingers at those who have a speed of only 1 Gbps on their home computers.