Melbourne-The frustration of losing your mobile phone could soon be a thing of the past thanks to new technology that could print it on a T-shirt. Scientists have designed the world’s first ‘spaser’ - a nanoscale laser - made out of graphene and carbon. They claim the spaser is so small it will be used to print tiny microchips that can be attached to T-shirts or other items of clothing, and used to power mobile phones.

The electrical current in the technology could even be used to target and kill cancer cells within the human body. ‘Other spasers are made of gold or silver nanoparticles and semiconductor quantum dots,’ said lead researcher Chanaka Rupasinghe, from Monash University Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering in Melbourne, Australia. ‘Our device would be comprised of a graphene resonator and a carbon nanotube gain element.’ ‘The use of carbon means our spaser would be more robust and flexible, would operate at high temperatures, and be eco-friendly. ‘Because of these properties, there is the possibility that in the future an extremely thin mobile phone could be printed on clothing.’

At present spasers are used to make microprocessors, memories and screens smaller, and more portable.

However the new spaser, made using graphene and carbon nanotubes, would be over a hundred times stronger than steel and is a better conductor than copper. It can also withstand extremely high temperatures. Researchers found that graphene and carbon nanotubes can transfer energy to each other through light, and as a result could be used to create a high-tech substitute for microchips.

‘Graphene and carbon nanotubes can be used in applications where you need strong, lightweight, conducting, and thermally stable materials due to their outstanding mechanical, electrical and optical properties. ‘They have been tested as nanoscale antennas, electric conductors and waveguides,’ continued Rupasinghe.