|Kim Jin-tae, left, and Choi Hong-kyw, researchers of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, test a graphene-based optical modulator device that imitates neurons. / Courtesy of Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute|
By Jun Ji-hye
The state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) said it has developed a graphene-based optical modulator device capable of performing arithmetic and remembering it at the same time.
It said it works like a human brain.
The Daejeon-based institute said its researchers have artificially recreated neural synapses in the device.
It added the latest achievement will lay the foundation for the development of chips that will have a similar structure to the human brain.
It can also lead to the development of neuro-computers, it said.
Graphene is considered to be the strongest, lightest and most flexible material in transferring heat and electricity.
It is an allotrope of carbon that is one atom thick, in which each atom forms a vertex.
Parts for storage and arithmetic calculations coexist in the human brain.
However, a computer needs two separate parts to perform both tasks.
The ETRI said if two parts such as these coexist in a computer as they do in a human brain, transmission of information and arithmetic operations in computers can be carried out almost simultaneously.
This is the core principle in developing an optical computer, it said.
"Researchers have been focusing their efforts on developing a computer chip similar to a human brain because the brain has complete functionality in information delivery," an ETRI official said.
The research paper, "Ion-Gel-Gated Graphene Optical Modulator with Hysteretic Behavior," was published in the academic journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.
ETRI researchers Kim Jin-tae, Choi Hong-kyw, Choi Yong-suk and Cho Jeong-ho wrote the paper.
"We propose a graphene-based optical modulator and comprehensively investigate its photonic characteristics by electrically controlling the device with an ion-gel top-gate dielectric," the researchers said in their abstract.
They said the density of the electrically driven charge carriers in the ion-gel gate dielectric plays a core role in tuning the optical output power of the device.
"The charge density at the ion-gel?graphene interface is tuned electrically, and the chemical potential of graphene is then changed to control its light absorption strength," they said.
"This study paves the way to the understanding of the operational principles and future applications of ion-gel-gated graphene optical devices in photonics."