NPL and Manchester Uni join forces on Graphene

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The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Manchester University of have signed a memorandum of understanding to help move the potential benefits of graphene closer to practical use, by accelerating the commercialisation of the remarkable 2D material.

The two organisations will work together on the development of graphene metrology, characterisation and standards essential to industry uptake, with a view to establishing a Joint Centre of Excellence.

The agreement was signed at NPL’s ‘Graphene & 2-D Materials Conference’, this week that looked at how to take the material from research to real world applications.

Graphene has many beneficial properties and characteristics, such as superior mechanical stiffness, elasticity, electrical and thermal conductivity. It is also optically active, chemically inert and impermeable to gases. The possession of all of these properties in a single material makes graphene a potentially disruptive technology in sectors like optoelectronics, flexible electronics, bioelectric devices, energy storage and ultrafiltration.

In a statement NPL said there are many early adopters of graphene, but without standardisation it is difficult for industry to be assured of the quality and properties of the material, and for graphene to be used to its full potential.  Although achieving international standardisation is a key enabler for industry in any area, the process can take many years.

NPL and Manchester University are seeking to address this gap in standardisation in the meantime and accelerate the development of graphene-enabled technology through the accurate metrology and characterisation of the material to improve the understanding of the properties of graphene and the ability to produce it in a reliable and repeatable way.

Robin Hart, director of programmes at NPL said: ‘Graphene has the ability to totally transform entire industries. Consumers and manufacturers at different stages of the supply chain must be confident that they get what is written on the tin.

‘Introduction of metrology steps in the development and production chains will dramatically improve their efficiency and ensure that the government and business investment in graphene technology is used in the most effective way.

‘Manchester is widely regarded as the home of graphene R&D and by working with them in efforts to speed up the commercialisation of research, we can start to reap the benefits to industry and society that graphene can offer much sooner.’

NPL is currently conducting a survey on the standardisation needs in graphene and other 2D materials. Click here to participate. 

UK firms are pioneering the production techniques that could bring graphene to the masses. Click here to read more.