The news of the European Commission’s support for the graphene industry, which was announced last month, has resulted in a spike in interest in the subject of investment. With one billion euros pouring into the research hubs of the major European universities over the next ten years there seems to be plenty to talk about… this month the launch of Manchester University’s new graphene company, 2-D Tech Ltd, seems to throw the spotlight back on to the spiritual home of graphene’s emerging science.
The company, which manufactures CVD graphene, graphene platelets, graphene oxide and other advanced materials is expected to create and develop intellectual property whilst collaborating with business on design projects. The university’s ambition, in respect of the commercialisation of graphene, is a direct response to the needs of researchers within the institution as well as to the demands of external companies. The demand for the material is currently out-stripping supply which means that, whereas the conditions previously have been unfavourable, the time is now ripe for Manchester University to capitalise on its expertise.
An interview with the CEO of the university’s Innovation Group, Clive Rowland, can be read in full here.
From the world of bio engineering, news also emerges of the use of graphene in the development of neural prostheses. Neural prosthetics is the brilliantly conceived possibility of inserting electronic implants into the eyes, ears, spine or brain as a medical response to diseases and degenerative ageing.
A major blockage in the road to developing these devises has, until now, been the fact that the silicon substrates upon which they have been developed are too sharp for insertion into the body. The soft tissue of the body is invariably damaged by the electrodes, resulting in the development of scars, whilst the physical environment of the body has caused problems for the devises themselves.
Responding to these problems, researchers at Technische Universität München in Germany have begun experimenting with graphene transistors that are flexible and bio-compatible, and which are actually gated by the bodily fluid in which they sit. The team, led by Lucas Hess, has so far experimented on retinal ganglion cells, and are happy to report that, “[Graphene-based] devices…far outperform current technologies in terms of their gate sensitivity.”
The original research was published under the title Graphene Transistors for Bioelectronics and is available to read here.
Moving backwards to a announcement made last week, (and slightly off of the European theme of the post) Lomiko Metals have agreed a strategic alliance with Graphene Laboratories Inc. The companies will work together to develop
“a vertically integrated supply chain that includes a secure supply of high-quality graphite, cost-effective and scalable processing, tight quality control and integration of graphene-based products in end-user products. The parties will capitalize on the secure supply of high quality graphite, provided by Lomiko, and the extensive customer database and expertise in graphene materials brought by Graphene Labs.
The Canadian mining company will be providing mineral samples from its Quatre Milles Project mine for the duration of the two year contract. Lomiko will also have the option to provide equity financing(s) to Graphene Labs on an exclusive basis for two years providing that it meets Graphene Labs funding criteria of raising at least $ 500,000 US Dollars within eight months of the agreement,$ 1,000,000 US Dollars within twelve (12) months and $ 2,000,000 US Dollars within eighteen (18) months. If the conditions are not met, Lomiko loses the exclusivity but keeps the right to participate in financings on a non-exclusive basis.
Finally, for an excellent overview of the different types of graphene, an introduction to the different production methods and a discussion of which type of graphene is best used for a particular type of technology, I suggest a visit to the graphenea website, where a recent article will provide you with all the details you need.