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  • Concert-goers are silhouetted against LED lights at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California, April 18, 2010.

    Concert-goers are silhouetted against LED lights at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California, April 18, 2010. | Photo: Reuters

The Chinese fluorescent carbon nanomaterial is a safer, cheaper and faster alternative to rare earth minerals.

Chinese scientists have made a breakthrough in the creation of full-color emissive carbon dots, allowing for the development of super-fast wireless communication channels.

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The new technology could be available in only six years.

Light Fidelity, known as LiFi, uses visible light from LED bulbs to transfer data. The new technology is much faster than radio wave-based WiFi.

Most researchers of the cutting-edge technology use rare earth materials to provide the light for LiFi to transmit data.

But the team of scientists in China has devised a safer, faster and cheaper alternative known as F-CDs, which is a fluorescent carbon nanomaterial.

"Many researchers around the world are still working on this. We were the first to successfully create it using cost-effective raw materials such as urea with simple processing," said Qu Songnan, an associate researcher at Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which is spearheading the research.

Qu noted that rare earth has a long lifespan which reduces the speed of LiFi transmission. However, F-CDs enjoy the advantage of faster data transmission speeds.

The technology can easily complement existing cellular and WiFi networks.

In previous studies, carbon dots were limited to the emission of lights such as blue and green. The new nanomaterial that Qu's team has developed can emit all light visible to the human eye, which is a breakthrough in the field of fluorescent carbon nanomaterial.

Qu said this is significant for the development of LiFi, which he expects to enter the market in just six years.

A 2015 test by a Chinese government ministry showed that LiFi can reach speeds of 50 gigabytes per second, at which a movie download can be completed in just 0.3 seconds.


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