GrapheneA printed graphene device. Credit: Andrea Ferrari.
A centre for research on graphene is to be created at the University of Cambridge in order to engineer real life applications for the material, which has the potential to revolutionise numerous industries, ranging from healthcare to electronics.
The Cambridge Graphene Centre will start its activities on February 1st 2013, with a dedicated facility due to open at the end of the year. Its objective is to take graphene to the next level, bridging the gap between academia and industry.
The Centre’s activities will be funded by a Government grant worth more than £12 million, complemented by strong industrial support, worth an additional £13 million, from over 20 partners, including Nokia, Dyson, Plastic Logic, Philips and BaE systems. A further £11m of European Research Council funding will support activities with the Graphene Institute in Manchester, and Lancaster University.
Graphene is a one-atom thick layer of graphite with remarkable properties. It is exceptionally strong, yet also lightweight and flexible, enables electrons to flow faster than silicon and functions as a transparent conductor. Researchers in industry and academia are keen to harness its potential to make significant technological advances. This work might lead to numerous new devices and applications which could then be commercialised by industry and help to boost economic growth.
Peter Davis, Director General of the British Plastics Federation, recently highlighted the need for the UK to develop the potential of graphene in order to stay competitive, as well as highlighting the importance to the plastics industry. “Plastics will be an important carrier material for this ground breaking product,” he stated.