Korean team develops a graphene-based optical modulator that mimics the human brain

The Korean state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) announced the development of a graphene-based optical modulator device capable of performing arithmetic and remembering it at the same time. According to ETRI, the device works much like a human brain.

The institute said its researchers have artificially recreated neural synapses in the device. It added the latest achievement will lay the foundation for the development of chips that will have a similar structure to the human brain and may also lead to the development of neuro-computers.

The ETRI team explains that parts for storage and arithmetic calculations coexist in the human brain. However, a computer needs two separate parts to perform both tasks. If two such parts coexist in a computer as they do in a human brain, transmission of information and arithmetic operations in computers can be carried out almost simultaneously.

Researchers have been focusing their efforts on developing a computer chip similar to a human brain because the brain has complete functionality in information delivery, an ETRI official said.

The team stated in the paper: We propose a graphene-based optical modulator and comprehensively investigate its photonic characteristics by electrically controlling the device with an ion-gel top-gate dielectric.

They said the density of the electrically driven charge carriers in the ion-gel gate dielectric plays a core role in tuning the optical output power of the device. The charge density at the ion-gel-graphene interface is tuned electrically, and the chemical potential of graphene is then changed to control its light absorption strength, they said.

"This study paves the way to the understanding of the operational principles and future applications of ion-gel-gated graphene optical devices in photonics.

Posted: Mar 05,2018 by Roni Peleg