Graphene-Info's impressions from the birthplace of graphene

In early November, the graphene-info team visited the UK - the birthplace of graphene. Our first stop was Cambridge - visiting FlexEnable and Cambridge Nanosystems - and then we headed for the Cambridge Graphene Center for a two-day graphene conference. We finished the tour with a trip up north to Manchester, to see the NGI, Manchester University's Graphene institute.

Roni and Ron at the NGI

While we try to be on top of everything that is related to graphene, our first impression from the visits and the conference is that the graphene industry is much more active than it seemed. There are many very exciting projects, some on the verge of commercialization, and it looks like graphene is going to make a larger impact than we expected in the near future. We came back very encouraged!

Ron at Cambridge NanoSystems

Most companies, it seems, are still focused on early-stage graphene applications - mainly composites, heat management solutions and also graphene-enhanced batteries. The academia is of course looking further down the road - and looks at graphene photonic, electronic and spintronic applications, other emerging graphene-like materials and more. It seems clear that now is the time to start commercializing graphene. Even though the materials on offer are not perfect, and capacity remains low, there are still many areas in which graphene can make a huge impact.

Aixtron Black Magic Cookie

Finally, I have to say that visiting the NGI was very exciting for us. After years of following graphene, it's amazing to see a whole building dedicated to graphene development. While it is not totally finished yet, it's clear that the NGI is going to have a large impact on many companies and industry fields and this is a huge resource that may be very useful in graphene's road to market.

It's great to see the investment and care that was put into the building, with its top-of-the-range equipment, laboratories and facilities. In addition, we enjoyed the fine attention to detail in the building's design - with graphene-related artwork and an outer fence shaped in hexagons!

Posted: Nov 23,2015 by Ron Mertens