Graphene Week is now the annual showcase event for Europe’s Graphene Flagship programme – a 10 year, Euro 1 billion initiative that hopes to accelerate the translation of the so-called wonder material from lab to market. For attendees, the five-day conference is a chance to find out what big names in the field such as Nobel-prize-winner Andre Geim think about graphene’s prospects.
As Geim observes in the clip, currently applications are focused on using graphene as a substitute to other materials. But what he’s really looking forward to are applications unique to graphene – uses where the 2D allotrope of carbon performs a function that no other material can achieve.
Other experts at the event included leaders of the Flagship’s 16 work packages (WPs). Andrea Ferrari (WP 5 – Optoelectronics), who’s based at the Cambridge Graphene Center, sees graphene’s optical properties as beneficial for shaping laser pulses and creating photodetectors that operate in the infrared.
Joining Ferrari on WP 5 is Frank Koppens – group leader at ICFO in Barcelona. Koppens is already talking about building prototypes and taking devices out of the lab to demonstrate the industrial relevance of graphene in areas such as automotive night vision.
My colleague, Tim Smith, was at Graphene Week 2014 representing IOP Publishing’s trio of new materials journals, Translational Materials Research (TMR), 2D Materials, and Materials Research Express – all of which are now open for submissions.
Graphene has opened the door to research into a whole suite of 2D materials such as boron nitride and transition metal dichalcogenides (scroll down to links below). In principle, these single layer structures can be stacked to create new hybrid materials with unique properties, or used for other practical purposes such as encapsulating graphene.
Scalable and cost-effective device integration is key if graphene and other 2D materials are to succeed in commercial electronics.
A new feature of the conference was the two-day Graphene Connect programme designed to bring together people from industry with researchers from the Flagship.
Companies exhibiting at Graphene Week included Cameca, a provider of in-fab and near-fab metrology solutions, which could help in controlling graphene layer quality and doping level.
Functionalized graphene supplier Haydale was also at the event, highlighting the potential of the material in the composites sector.
The supply chain for graphene is expanding. Amaia Zurutuza, scientific director at Graphenea, was at the conference to promote the firm’s range of bulk and thin-film materials targeted at both industrial and research users.
From Gothenburg to Manchester
In 2015, Graphene week (22-26 June) will be hosted by Manchester University. “Participants will be the first people to see the completed NGI facility and see first-hand the leading edge research that is being undertaken at the University, where we have nearly 200 researchers working across 30 groups,” commented Cinzia Casiraghi, scientific organizer of next year’s conference.