By Will Soutter
Researchers at HRL Laboratories have demonstrated first-of-its-kind graphene-based square-law millimeter detectors that show a linear dynamic range of more than 60 dB, the highest value ever quantified in semiconductor detectors.
This development is a significant breakthrough in electronics, paving the way to unmatched capabilities in high-bandwidth communications, radar and imaging systems. The high-performance graphene FET detectors outclassed existing advanced CMOS or SiGe bipolar detector technology by a linear dynamic range of more than 30 dB. The researchers will report their findings in the IEEE Electron Device Letters journal.
The demonstration of this graphene-based technology is another major breakthrough in the Carbon Electronics for RF Applications (CERA) program managed by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center and sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. CERA focuses on exploiting the innovative properties of graphene, a fundamentally different material when compared to other materials presently utilized in high-frequency electronics.
HRL Laboratories is working on the program together with the Naval Research Laboratory and a group of universities. In July 2008, the laboratory started work on CERA, demonstrating the first-of-its-kind graphene RF transistors.
Program Lead, Jeong-sun Moon, who is also a senior scientist at HRL Laboratories, stated that this latest demonstration is a key advancement in utilizing transistors for RF applications.
General Motors and The Boeing Company are the owners of the corporate research-and-development laboratory, HRL Laboratories, which specializes in research into microelectronics, applied electromagnetic, information and systems sciences, and sensors and materials. HRL also provides research and development contract services for the US government, its LLC member companies and other commercial firms.