Researchers at Cornell University have found yet another application for graphene: to make mechanical resonators that could be used in future telecommunications applications. They made tiny graphene membranes that can be likened to drums. It turns out that graphene has high “elastic modulus” – a property that means any vibrations will cause large changes to the membrane’s tension. To “play” the graphene drums, the researchers applied voltage. They detected movement using a method called laser interferometry
“We’ve shown that there is an effect that will convert energy from one mechanical mode to another mechanical mode. It allows us to either damp out or amplify vibrations of one mode by activating the other mode.” Roberto De Alba, research lead
This new discovery could provide a starting point for several new ways to use graphene. It could be used to make frequency mixers and force, gas, or pressure sensors. The researchers also say that graphene resonators can detect the faintest quantum signals and help to identify and developing new, secure telecommunication technologies. The experiments are described in a paper titled “Tunable phonon-cavity coupling in graphene membranes,” which published in Nature Nanotechnology on June 13.