Graphene and the Phone of the Future

Since the discovery of graphene, researchers and experts in the electronics space have imagined innovations that the material can be used to create; especially within the telecommunications space, where graphene can be used to make sensors, processors, and batteries. When these innovations are packaged together, they have the potential to create the first graphene-based phone. In this article, we will cover the different parts that comprise that future innovation.


Currently, graphene is being used to enhance optical data communication at unprecedented rates, in the process, graphene reduces overall energy consumption and transmission errors simultaneously. Most of the graphene-based communications work has focused on the development of modulators, a device which modifies wavelength properties to enable signal transmission. Recently, Researchers at the National Inter-University Consortium for Telecommunications (CNIT) in Italy, IMEC in Belgium, and the University of Cambridge in the UK, created and tested a graphene-based phase modulator that outperforms existing silicon-based ones. In doing so, these researchers have completely optimized data transmission. Graphene is also being used to create fully flexible antennas that will further optimize communication through signal transfer.


Graphene is also being used to develop processors, a device which receives input and provides the appropriate output. According to the Graphene Flagship, Researchers from the Flagship, working at the TU Vienna in Austria, have designed and fabricated the first microprocessors based on GRMs. Using transistors made from the TMD molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), the microprocessors are capable of 1-bit logic operations, and the design is scalable to multi-bit operations. These processors also referred to as microprocessors, are crucial to the development of not just cellular phones but any devices which falls under the umbrella of “the Internet of Things.” Similar to modulators, modern processors are built using silicon. Graphene-based processors are fully flexible and provide improved computational power.


By no means are graphene-based batteries localized to mobile phones, in fact; these batteries have been used the most in the automobile industry. However, mobile phones benefit in the same way, through optimal charging capacity. Today, most chargeable batteries are powered by Lithium. Graphene-based batteries have been proven to charge faster and perform better than traditional lithium-based batteries. In fact, the graphene-based battery has 5 times more energy density than its lithium counter-part. Furthermore, graphene-based batteries have tested up to 400 charges/discharge cycles without any loss of capacity.

External Body

In addition to the internal components of the mobile devices, graphene is being used to develop the external body of mobile devices. More specifically, graphene-based research has focused on the development of screens and cases. A lot of the excitement around screens has been a combination of durability and flexibility. As the strongest material in the world, phone makers can provide users with screens that are virtually unbreakable. Graphene is also flexible, providing phone manufactures with the ability to develop flexible screens. Finally, there is the casing; again, graphene is incredibly strong, by creating a graphene-based casing, mobile phones will have much greater durability.

What was once only a theoretical concept to many has now become a real possibility. Graphene can improve virtually every aspect of our mobile devices. The concept is still new and some kinks need to be worked out regarding everything from sourcing graphene to manufacturing of graphene-based phones. Many are depending on companies like GraphenTech who are finding ways to manufacture graphene at scale. However, one thing is clear; in the near future, we will have access to superphones powered by graphene.