A team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley have given themselves the challenge of creating an earphone made from graphene. This new futuristic audio speaker is able to demonstrate graphene’s superior physical and electrical properties that allow for a greater audio experience than a pair of standard headphones.
The Berkeley team’s earphone is made from a 30nm-thick, 7mm-wide sheet of graphene. The earphone’s diaphragm, which vibrates to cause pressure waves and then generate sound, is then sandwiched between two silicon electrodes, which are coated with silicon dioxide to prevent any shorting.
So why use graphene at all? Well, the team discovered that the futuristic material had astounding frequency response. This was put down to the graphene diaphragm’s design which required no dampening to prevent undesirable frequency responses. This is because graphene is so strong and light, which also means that diaphragm is energy-efficient and could reduce the power usage phone speakers.
Of course, due to the cost of graphene, you shouldn’t expect to see them in your local electronics stores just yet, but if the tests prove to be successful, they could transform speaker efficiency in everyday gadgets.