The heavier the membrane, the more momentum it has on the move, and the more energy needs to go into moving it or changing its direction. Graphene, as we are all constantly reminded, is ridiculously light, stronger than anything else, and can be made extremely thin. Oh, and it conducts electricity, of course. So a team of scientists at UC Berkeley rigged up a graphene diaphragm between two silicon electrodes and ran some acoustic tests to see how it performed as a 7 mm diameter earbud-sized speaker.
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Not content with breezing in and smashing records in solar efficiency, kicking the butt of lithium-ion batteries, being the strongest known material in the Universe, being 1,000 times more light-sensitive than any known camera sensor and a thousand other achievements, now this smug supermaterial is having a crack at audio. How’s it going? Well, with basically zero acoustic development, a graphene loudspeaker is already boasting a better frequency response curve than a set of Sennheiser MX-400s.
Speakers are basically membranes that are moved back and forth to produce pressure waves in the air that we perceive as sound. To do that, you need a membrane to vibrate, some sort of driver to vibrate it, and some sort of spring effect to bring the membrane back to its starting position at rest.
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