Taking graphene out of the laboratory and into the real world

By | April 29, 2021

I am a business developer at the Catalos Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) in Barcelona, ​​Spain. My job is to help scientists market their ideas and inventions. Recently, most of those ideas have included graphene, a layer of carbon that is just one atom thick. Graphene is hard but very flexible like a diamond. It is transparent, highly conductive and extremely versatile – qualities that are helping to revolutionize areas such as bio-sensory and electronics.

In this diagram, I am holding a prototype of a particularly influential Graphene-based invention: a highly sensitive neural interface that can detect brain waves at very low frequencies. This is a huge step beyond traditional brainwave sensors.

From the outside, the wafers of Graphene all look the same. The sensors that work are subtle. Many researchers are exploring new biomedical applications, including biosensors that can detect viruses and bacteria.

I worked on biomedical applications of carbon nanotubes for my PhD program, which was a very good preparation for my current job. When researchers at ICN2 or the Graphene flagship invented a tool, I can help them find ready investors. Sometimes, scientists are not sure how their inventions can be useful in the real world. To communicate with potential buyers you have to understand the technology.

Before the epidemic, we often have visitors from companies that were interested in our products. I show them around because I am familiar with all our labs and equipment. Behind me is a molecular-beam epitaxy machine, a fundamental piece of equipment for making sheets of graphene. Such devices highlight our ability and commitment to innovative technologies. I look forward to showing it again.

It surprises me that people are still interested in graphene, ”Kostya Novoselov told attendees at the launch of the second world-class Graphene Center in Manchester, UK. Novoselov was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize at the University of Manchester for his work to separate material with Andre Geim.

His comment highlights how unusual it is for the industry to gain a foothold in its research as well as a fundamental discovery in the field of research. Two institutions dedicated to both aspects of the same material have found room for coexistence in a city to attract editions as well as investment regarding the continued potential of research into graphene and related materials. Also manage.

Can it underline the hype? Leading engineers and partners at the level of the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Center (GEIC) put forward a concrete case that it can do this.

Launched on 11 December 2018, GEIC aspires to provide a space that helps bridge the notorious gap between academic innovation and real-world adoption by industry. The phrase “rapid fail” re-emerges throughout the projection, suggesting an Edison-like ethos leading to not only successful commercialization of new technologies, but also many unavoidable and informative failures along the way.

The $ 60-meter Mass Building Housing GEIC provides a place where industries large and small can pursue projects that may be too risky or even costly for their facilities. As well as staff with engineers with extensive industry and commercial experience at both the industry-standard and Bespoke equipment center, as well as expertise in Graphene.

The tipping point

On the brand, employees and engineers place warm feet around the center in attractive green Graphene trainers. Products have included Graphene for a while, but largely as a gimmick for marketing. In contrast, these trainers actually exploited the thermal and mechanical properties of graphene to increase their durability.

BAC demonstrated BAC-MONO, a car that uses a graphene composite as part of bodywork, exploiting the strength of graphene to reduce the mass of that part by 20%. The next step is to change the rest of the body’s work. From Aerospace, the University of Lancashire Juno team brought a demonstration drone, again taking advantage of large-scale cuts, but also used the material’s conductivity for protection from lightning strikes.

Also featured at launch was the ability to change the thermal emission of Graphene devices with an applied field, enabling thermal cloaking from an infrared camera. Other partners have used capacitance changes with applied pressure for applications ranging from sensory and diagnostic contact lenses to robotics and a talking T-shirt.

One of the areas GEIC does not aim to cover is Graphene’s role in the life sciences, as the need for a specific facility for this field is already placed at the University of Manchester. However, there were demos that the large surface area and low cytotoxicity of graphene-related materials would cause them to reactivate with radioactive labels for medical imaging.

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