LIVE FROM MWC21 BARCELONA: Scientists predicted use of advanced materials such as Graphene would usher in a new era for connected devices and network technology, offering vast improvements in battery technology and data transmission capabilities.

At the NexTech keynote, director general of the Advanced Material Future Preparedness Taskforce (AMPT) Zina Jarrahi Cinker (pictured) and Professor Frank Koppens of the Institute of Photonic Sciences provided a vision of the impact of so-called frontier materials.

Cinker noted the next generation of conductive atomically thin materials would “give us the next leap in ultimate connectivity” as she noted there was still no telling what could be achieved given the properties found in experiments with a range of substances.

She added these were “truly the building blocks of a different type of future”.

Silicon pass
Koppens extolled the virtues of Graphene, which is the subject of a €1 billion European Union (EU) project named Graphene Flagship the scientist is heavily involved in.

He said the substance could greatly improve technologies currently reliant on silicon noting “we need materials that can do things silicon will not: silicon will not help us to get faster internet, silicon will not help us to get better AI systems because it just uses too much power”.

“It will also not help us get automated cars as we need better sensor technologies.”

Graphene, he added, was one of the most promising options being experimented on currently. Koppens called it the strongest, lightest, thinnest, most flexible material with properties making it a “very good electronic and optical material”.

He expects it to be able to help deliver new wearables, better batteries, flexible displays and faster data communications.

Elsewhere in the session, Quantum Community Network chair Professor Tommaso Calarco discussed the potential of quantum computing. This is another area currently being researched in EU pilot schemes, one which is also tipped to provide the basis for a new era for communications technology.