Researchers at ICFO have shown that a 2D crystal, combined with graphene, has the capability to detect optical pulses with a response faster than ten picoseconds, while maintaining a high efficiency. This can lead to faster optical detectors that can be integrated into photonic circuits.

An important advantage of these devices based on graphene (and other 2D materials) is that they can be integrated monolithically with silicon photonics enabling a new class of photonic integrated circuits. Although this study has been focused on the intrinsic properties of the photo-detection device, the next step is to develop prototype photonic circuitry and explore ways to improve large-scale production of these devices.