GraphAudio is using recent research findings from scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to see how graphene can be used to make tiny, high-fidelity speakers for everything from cell phones to earbuds and headphones to autonomous vehicle sensors, according to MachineDesign.
The company has developed a speaker using several layers of graphene film, which then converts electrical signals into sound. The membrane is placed between silicon electrodes, which creates an electric field that allows the membrane to transmit sound. The design is called an electrostatic transducer, and if the technology is perfected it would require significantly fewer parts than conventional speaker designs while providing the same or better-quality audio.
According to MachineDesign, traditional headphone speakers only convert about 10% of their electrical energy to sound, with the rest lost as heat. Graphene transducers could convert as much as 90% of their electricity into sound, with distortion-free sound on a wide range of sound frequencies, even beyond the range of human hearing.
The technology has implications beyond producing better sound in a smaller package. It could be used for applications including echolocation for submarine communications, locating survivors in collapsed structures, or even providing better quality images of fetuses in the womb.