Scientists at the Swiss EPFL and the University of Geneva took advantage of the fact that graphene is both transparent and opaque to radiation to develop a microchip that filters out unwanted radiation. The device, called an optical isolator, works in the terahertz gap. In the future, this graphene-based microchip can be an essential building block for faster wireless telecommunications in frequency bands that current mobile devices cannot access, and devices that use the chip to communicate via the terahertz bandwidth could transmit data ten times faster than current devices.

The scientists explain that the new microchip is effective because three layers of graphene filter out unwanted radiation. It works in a similar way to polarized sunglasses, by only letting certain radiation through, depending on the signal’s direction and orientation.