IBM says it has designed a circuit the thickness of an atom that ramps up the ability of mobile gadgets to receive signals or even scan people for hidden weapons.
IBM scientists created the circuit from graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms in a honeycomb structure considered the thinnest electronic material.
"This research breakthrough has the potential to increase the performance of communication devices that enable people to interact with greater efficiency," said IBM Research science and technology vice president T.C. Chen.
"Just a few days before IBM commemorates its 100th anniversary, our scientists have achieved a nanotechnology milestone which continues the company's century-long pursuit of innovation."
The graphene circuit works as a type of broadband frequency mixer that could improve performance and lower cost of smartphones and other devices with wireless connections, according to IBM.
The circuits have the potential to enable mobile phones to get signals in places where that isn't possible today and even enable security scanners or medical X-ray machines to be more effective with less radiation danger.
IBM said governments and big companies were eager to develop the technology but it was not clear when it might be made commercial.
The company was founded on June 16, 1911 in New York State, where it now has its headquarters in the town of Armonk.