Researchers from the University of Minnesota used an ultrathin black phosphorus film of only 20 layers of atoms to demonstrate high-speed data communication on nanoscale optical circuits. They report that the devices show improved efficiency compared to graphene-based ones.

The University of Minnesota team created intricate optical circuits in silicon and then laid thin flakes of black phosphorus over these structures using facilities at the University's Minnesota Nano Center. The team showed that the performance of the black phosphorus photodetectors even rivals that of comparable devices made of germanium, considered the gold standard in on-chip photodetection. 

The team also showed that the devices could be used for real-world applications by sending high-speed optical data over fibers and recovering it using the black phosphorus photodetectors. They demonstrated data speeds up to three billion bits per second.

In January 2015, Irish scientists found a way to make large amounts of black phosphorus.

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