Graphene Computer Chip Runs on Light, Not Electricity

Computing is getting a little greener, thanks to a material called graphene.

New studies suggest that integrating the “strongest material in the world” into computer chips would allow them to run off of light. Currently, most chips require electricity.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University and IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center led the studies, which were published in Nature Photonics. The chip uses incoming light to knock electrons out, converting them into electrical energy.

According to MIT, the new chips could cut back on power consumption and heat production. As another bonus, the chips could be faster and cheaper to make.

This isn’t the first we’ve heard about graphene. In February, the European Union gave Nokia a $1.35 billion grant to develop the material, which is reportedly only one atom thick and 300 times stronger than steel.

In 2010, two graphene researchers won the Nobel Prize in Physics for demonstrating how the transparent and flexible material could be used to make touchscreens, light panels and solar cells.

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