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Friday, 03 October 2014

The Graphene Flagship publishes a roadmap for graphene applications

Nanoscale publishes a document with 300 pages summarizing the current state-of-the-art and a 10-year projection of science and technology of graphene. ICN2 and ICFO researchers are among the study's authors, led by Andrea C. Ferrari and Jari Kinaret, coordinators of the Graphene Flagship.

The Graphene Flagship initiative represents the most important research and development initiative and the best funded in the history of the European Union. This project seeks, with the complicity of researchers and companies, transferring graphene from laboratory to society and, in turn, become a potential employment generator. The paper published in the Nanoscale journal summarizes in over 300 pages the current knowledge developed around this promising material and projects a roadmap of potentially achievable goals for the next 10 years. This document defines the position of the most outstanding European scientists and major industry representatives, as the vice-president of Airbus, along with contributions from other nationalities as American or Japanese.

Andrea C. Ferrari, founder and director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre and President of the Executive Board of the Graphene Flagship, coordinated the consensus document. Stephan Roche, Group leader and ICREA researcher at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) and European co-leader of Spintronics for the Flaghip, Frank Koppens, Group Leader at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) and European co-leader of Optoelectronics for the Flaghip, and Adrian Bachtold, Group leader at ICFO, are among the main authors of the work. They shared their knowledge in diverse areas such as spintronics, which studies the use of the spin of electrons to develop new devices for storing and processing information without energy expenditure, or photonics, studying optical applications related to graphene, as can be electronic sensors, photo detectors and night vision goggles.

The article lists scientific and technical goals for materials related to graphene, including two-dimensional crystals and hybrid systems. Identification of novel materials composed of a single layer of atoms and their large scale production is a very active field for scientists and industry. The article details a broad portfolio of new devices and technologies that will be possible thanks to the materials generated based on graphene, and analyses their integration into current disruptive technologies or new applications. These innovations cover almost all areas of our lives, ranging from information and communication technologies, energy production and storage, sensors design, medical applications or even more economical transport vehicles.

With a single atom thick layer, graphene brings unique properties that could revolutionize different scientific fields. This statement is no longer rhetoric when looking at the vast scientific production (40,000 articles in the past 3 years) and the number of patents (14,000 since 2006) developed based on this material. The article concludes that graphene is a rapidly evolving field, conditioned, for now, by the ability to refine the methods of mass production. The advanced applications depend on the velocity at which materials science is able to control the production processes.

Thus, applications that require a less pure graphene, such as flexible solar cells or conductive inks, are the first to reach the market. In any case, the consensus is broad about the fact that recent advances are enough to expect new applications related to graphene which go beyond simply improving the performance of widespread materials already in the industry. Leading centers, like ICN2 and ICFO, are part of the cutting-edge science that will lead the market applications of graphene together with local and international industry.


Article reference:

Andrea C. Ferrari, et. al. Review Article: Science and technology roadmap for graphene, related two-dimensional crystals, and hybrid systemsNanoscale, 2014, Accepted Manuscript DOI: 10.1039/C4NR01600A.