Scientists from the University of Belgrade in Serbia have developed a microphone made of graphene material that is found to be 32 times much better – in terms of sensitivity and loudness, than conventional microphones made of nickel material.
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Writing their finding in the journal 2D Materials, the scientists made a membrane which vibrated as a component of a microphone that converts sound energy to electrical energy; the membrane was made of graphene and it was able to register 15 dB higher sensitivity than those of commercial microphones, and even at up to 11 kHz.
"We wanted to show that graphene, although a relatively new material, has potential for real world applications," said Marko Spasenovic, author of the paper. "Given its light weight, high mechanical strength and flexibility, graphene just begs to be used as an acoustic membrane material."
Almost 60 layers thick, the graphene membrane was developed on a nickel foil through chemical vapor deposition so as to make the quality uniform in all the given samples. When the membrane was being produced, the nickel foil was etched and the graphene deposited within the housing just as a way of comparing it to what a conventional microphone would do.
Then it was discovered that the graphene produced higher 15 dB sensitivity than ordinary microphones. Also using a 300-layer-thick graphene membrane for simulation purposes, the researchers observed a performance potential that produced an ultrasonic rate that is very high on the spectrum.
"The microphone performed as well as we hoped it would," Spasenovic said. "A thicker graphene membrane theoretically could be stretched further, enabling ultrasonic performance, but sadly we're just not quite there yet experimentally."
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Considering the expensiveness of making microphone, Spasenovic said their graphene microphone should be regarded as a proof. "The industry is working hard to improve graphene production - eventually this should mean we have better microphones at lower cost."