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Graphene Investigated for RF Shielding

Effective RF shielding is required to prevent RF emitters from causing interference inside devices and also for securing wireless communications. Researchers at Queen Mary's School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science have found that transparent layers of graphene increased the absorption of electromagnetic energy by 90 percent over a wide bandwidth. The research was published earlier this month in the journal Scientific Reports.

“The technological potential of graphene is well-known. This paper demonstrates one example of how that potential can translate into a practical application,” said Yang Hao, author of the study and professor of antennas and electromagnetics at Queen Mary's. “The transparent material could be added as a coating to car windows or buildings to stop radio waves from traveling through the structure. This, in turn, could be used to improve secure wireless network environments, for example.”

The article didn't mention that coating car windows would also prevent use of cell phones or texting while in vehicles when the windows were up.

The researchers used an RF shield created by placing a stack of layers of graphene supported by a metal plate and the mineral quartz to absorb signals from a millimeter wave source, Co-author Bian Wu, who is at Queen Mary from Xidian University in China on a scholarship from China Scholarship Council, explained: “The stacking configuration gives us better control of the interaction between radio waves and the graphene.”

The group is now working on development prototypes to take graphene from the lab to actual engineering applications.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.