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Graphene mixer to speed up future electronics

Posted: 04 Jan 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:graphene mixer  microwave frequencies  circuit technology  RF IC  researchers 

Researchers at Chalmers University have created a novel graphene FET mixer that can operate at microwave frequencies. According to the researchers, the mixer provides new opportunities in future electronics, as it enables compact circuit technology, potential to reach high frequencies and integration with silicon technology.

"Future applications at THz frequencies such as radar systems for security and safety, radio astronomy, process monitoring and environmental monitoring will require large arrays of mixers for high-resolution imaging and high-speed data acquisition. Such mixer arrays or multi-pixel receivers need new type of devices that are not only sensitive but also power-efficient and compact."

The ability in graphene to switch between hole or electron carrier transport via the field effect enables a "unique niche for graphene for RF IC applications," the researchers said.

Graphene Mixer

Schematic picture of a subharmonic graphene-FET mixer. The LO and RF signals are fed to the gate and drain terminals, respectively, and the IF signal is extracted from the drain terminal.

They managed to build the G-FET subharmonic resistive mixer using only one transistor. "Hence, no extra feeding circuits are required, which makes the mixer circuit more compact as opposed to conventional mixers."

The new type of mixer requires less wafer area when constructed and can open up for advanced sensor arrays, for example for imaging at millimetre waves and even sub millimetre waves as G-FET technology progress.

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