With antennas made from conventional materials like copper, communication between low-power nano-machines would be virtually impossible. By taking advantage of the unique electronic properties of graphene, however, researchers now believe they’re on track to connect devices powered by small amounts of scavenged energy.

Based on a honeycomb network of carbon atoms, graphene could generate a type of electronic surface wave that would allow antennas just one micron long and 10 to 100 nanometers wide to do the work of much larger antennas. While operating graphene nano-antennas have yet to be demonstrated, the researchers say their modeling and simulations show that nano-networks using the new approach are feasible with the alternative material.

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