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Scientists use bilayer graphene to develop extra-sensitive photodetector

Sarah Silbert

By now it goes without saying that graphene is something of a darling in the research community, with scientists using the material to develop transistors, batteries and circuits, among other devices. In 2011, MIT researchers discovered graphene's effectiveness as a photodetector, and a team at the University of Maryland has taken that line of thought a few steps further. By using bilayer graphene (two atoms thick instead of one atom thick), the scientists developed a temperature-sensitive device more than 1,000 times faster than existing technologies. Not to mention, it's capable of recognizing a very broad range of light energies, which means it could be useful in everything from biochemical weapons detection to airport body scanners. Still, the UMD researchers have their work cut out for them: the graphene photodetector has a high electrical resistance, and it will require tweaks to absorb enough light to be useful. Still, this is graphene we're talking about -- and we don't expect its popularity to wane any time soon.

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