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Advanced Material Development Ltd announces the appointment of Dr James Johnstone as Chief Operating Officer

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Dr. James Johnstone has over twenty years’ experience in science and innovation in the field of nanotechnology. He has specialised in working with small companies in the advanced materials development and onward application through industry relevant processing techniques during the last eleven years at the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI).

James was a senior bids manager who wrote, advised and taught UK and European companies on the practical benefits of public research and essential value propositions which successful proposals are based on. He has direct team experience of delivering over 15 successful bids from start to contract and raising substantial funding for partners and balancing collaborative interests with organisational ambition.

He brings a wealth of experience managing projects as well as providing more informal innovation support where required.

In this new role, James will support the team at AMD in delivering the overall business for the company and ensuring that delivery of projects is maintained whilst seeking maximum value and suitable exit points.

James has many links to the UK industrial innovation community and public sector including the National Physical Laboratory, the Knowledge Transfer Network (Graphene and Energy Harvesting Special Interest Groups) and the underpinning standards community, He is currently a member of BSI NTI/1 & EPL 501 standards committee and has inputted to the development of critical nano-standards in this area such as BSI PAS 71 and the recent BSI PAS 1201.

AMD CEO John Lee commented “This is a milestone for AMD in the build-out of an experienced and dynamic C-Suite team – James is an engaging and highly innovative individual who will bring a vital skillset to AMD. We are also excited about continuing the strong relationship he has fostered for us with CPI and continuing our development work in formulation and printing of our nanomaterial inks at their facilities”.

Tags:  Advanced Material Development  AMD 

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MIT engineers build advanced microprocessor out of carbon nanotubes

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, September 3, 2019

After years of tackling numerous design and manufacturing challenges, MIT researchers have built a modern microprocessor from carbon nanotube transistors, which are widely seen as a faster, greener alternative to their traditional silicon counterparts.

The microprocessor, described today in the journal Nature, can be built using traditional silicon-chip fabrication processes, representing a major step toward making carbon nanotube microprocessors more practical.

Silicon transistors — critical microprocessor components that switch between 1 and 0 bits to carry out computations — have carried the computer industry for decades. As predicted by Moore’s Law, industry has been able to shrink down and cram more transistors onto chips every couple of years to help carry out increasingly complex computations. But experts now foresee a time when silicon transistors will stop shrinking, and become increasingly inefficient.

Making carbon nanotube field-effect transistors (CNFET) has become a major goal for building next-generation computers. Research indicates CNFETs have properties that promise around 10 times the energy efficiency and far greater speeds compared to silicon. But when fabricated at scale, the transistors often come with many defects that affect performance, so they remain impractical.

The MIT researchers have invented new techniques to dramatically limit defects and enable full functional control in fabricating CNFETs, using processes in traditional silicon chip foundries. They demonstrated a 16-bit microprocessor with more than 14,000 CNFETs that performs the same tasks as commercial microprocessors. The Nature paper describes the microprocessor design and includes more than 70 pages detailing the manufacturing methodology.

The microprocessor is based on the RISC-V open-source chip architecture that has a set of instructions that a microprocessor can execute. The researchers’ microprocessor was able to execute the full set of instructions accurately. It also executed a modified version of the classic “Hello, World!” program, printing out, “Hello, World! I am RV16XNano, made from CNTs.”

“This is by far the most advanced chip made from any emerging nanotechnology that is promising for high-performance and energy-efficient computing,” says co-author Max M. Shulaker, the Emanuel E Landsman Career Development Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and a member of the Microsystems Technology Laboratories. “There are limits to silicon. If we want to continue to have gains in computing, carbon nanotubes represent one of the most promising ways to overcome those limits. [The paper] completely re-invents how we build chips with carbon nanotubes.”

Joining Shulaker on the paper are: first author and postdoc Gage Hills, graduate students Christian Lau, Andrew Wright, Mindy D. Bishop, Tathagata Srimani, Pritpal Kanhaiya, Rebecca Ho, and Aya Amer, all of EECS; Arvind, the Johnson Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and a researcher in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory; Anantha Chandrakasan, the dean of the School of Engineering and the Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; and Samuel Fuller, Yosi Stein, and Denis Murphy, all of Analog Devices.

Fighting the “bane” of CNFETs

The microprocessor builds on a previous iteration designed by Shulaker and other researchers six years ago that had only 178 CNFETs and ran on a single bit of data. Since then, Shulaker and his MIT colleagues have tackled three specific challenges in producing the devices: material defects, manufacturing defects, and functional issues. Hills did the bulk of the microprocessor design, while Lau handled most of the manufacturing.

For years, the defects intrinsic to carbon nanotubes have been a “bane of the field,” Shulaker says. Ideally, CNFETs need semiconducting properties to switch their conductivity on an off, corresponding to the bits 1 and 0. But unavoidably, a small portion of carbon nanotubes will be metallic, and will slow or stop the transistor from switching. To be robust to those failures, advanced circuits will need carbon nanotubes at around 99.999999 percent purity, which is virtually impossible to produce today.  

The researchers came up with a technique called DREAM (an acronym for “designing resiliency against metallic CNTs”), which positions metallic CNFETs in a way that they won’t disrupt computing. In doing so, they relaxed that stringent purity requirement by around four orders of magnitude — or 10,000 times — meaning they only need carbon nanotubes at about 99.99 percent purity, which is currently possible.

Designing circuits basically requires a library of different logic gates attached to transistors that can be combined to, say, create adders and multipliers — like combining letters in the alphabet to create words. The researchers realized that the metallic carbon nanotubes impacted different pairings of these gates differently. A single metallic carbon nanotube in gate A, for instance, may break the connection between A and B. But several metallic carbon nanotubes in gates B may not impact any of its connections.

In chip design, there are many ways to implement code onto a circuit. The researchers ran simulations to find all the different gate combinations that would be robust and wouldn’t be robust to any metallic carbon nanotubes. They then customized a chip-design program to automatically learn the combinations least likely to be affected by metallic carbon nanotubes. When designing a new chip, the program will only utilize the robust combinations and ignore the vulnerable combinations.

“The ‘DREAM’ pun is very much intended, because it’s the dream solution,” Shulaker says. “This allows us to buy carbon nanotubes off the shelf, drop them onto a wafer, and just build our circuit like normal, without doing anything else special.”

Exfoliating and tuning

CNFET fabrication starts with depositing carbon nanotubes in a solution onto a wafer with predesigned transistor architectures. However, some carbon nanotubes inevitably stick randomly together to form big bundles — like strands of spaghetti formed into little balls — that form big particle contamination on the chip.  

To cleanse that contamination, the researchers created RINSE (for “removal of incubated nanotubes through selective exfoliation”). The wafer gets pretreated with an agent that promotes carbon nanotube adhesion. Then, the wafer is coated with a certain polymer and dipped in a special solvent. That washes away the polymer, which only carries away the big bundles, while the single carbon nanotubes remain stuck to the wafer. The technique leads to about a 250-times reduction in particle density on the chip compared to similar methods.

Lastly, the researchers tackled common functional issues with CNFETs. Binary computing requires two types of transistors: “N” types, which turn on with a 1 bit and off with a 0 bit, and “P” types, which do the opposite. Traditionally, making the two types out of carbon nanotubes has been challenging, often yielding transistors that vary in performance. For this solution, the researchers developed a technique called MIXED (for “metal interface engineering crossed with electrostatic doping”), which precisely tunes transistors for function and optimization.

In this technique, they attach certain metals to each transistor — platinum or titanium — which allows them to fix that transistor as P or N. Then, they coat the CNFETs in an oxide compound through atomic-layer deposition, which allows them to tune the transistors’ characteristics for specific applications. Servers, for instance, often require transistors that act very fast but use up energy and power. Wearables and medical implants, on the other hand, may use slower, low-power transistors.  

The main goal is to get the chips out into the real world. To that end, the researchers have now started implementing their manufacturing techniques into a silicon chip foundry through a program by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which supported the research. Although no one can say when chips made entirely from carbon nanotubes will hit the shelves, Shulaker says it could be fewer than five years. “We think it’s no longer a question of if, but when,” he says.

Tags:  Analog Devices  Carbon Nanotubes  Graphene  Max M. Shulaker  MIT  transistor 

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First Graphene announce PureGRAPH Incorporated into Steel Blue Safety Boots

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, August 28, 2019
First Graphene is pleased to advise that in conjunction with Steel Blue have manufactured prototype sets of safety boots incorporating PureGRAPH®10.

The boots were made last week at Steel Blue’s Malaga WA factory and incorporated PureGRAPH® into the safety capped boot TPU soles and polyurethane foam innersole.

Full boots and the sole samples will be exposed to extensive laboratory tests which are expected to exceed current industry standards for safety footwear. Following laboratory testing it is anticipated extensive field trials, will be conducted, lasting approximately six months.

The incorporation of PureGRAPH® into a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) is a major advance for FGR. Previously, the successful dispersion of graphene into a TPU masterbatch has been a major graphene industry issue. Extensive research by FGR has resulted in a manufacturing method which has overcome what was previously seen as a real issue.

While existing TPU’s already possess high abrasion resistance and tensile strength it is anticipated the incorporation of PureGRAPH® will improve mechanical properties while providing additional benefits in thermal heat transfer, chemical resistance and reduced permeability. 

FGR will be conducting extensive laboratory tests on the PureGRAPH® infused TPU and polyurethane foam inner sole in Australia and Manchester. Steel Blue safety boot properties are being enhanced by PureGRAPH® in the Metatarsal Guard (Steel Blue’s Met-Guard), which is specially designed to protect the metatarsal area of the foot that extends from the toes. This is a popular choice for mining workers, factory hands and drillers, who often need the extra protection the Met-Guard affords. 

The incorporation of PureGRAPH® in the Met-Guard will improve both flexibility and strength of the product.

“The development work with Steel Blue provides yet another example of FGR working on real industrial applications” said Craig McGuckin, Managing Director First Graphene Ltd. “Like FGR, Steel Blue is an Australian company and the world leader in its field of safety boots systems. These developments continue to enhance that reputation.”

Garry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Steel Blue said “Steel Blue is committed to developing innovative solutions for our customers. We’re excited by these recent developments with FGR and look forward to delivering these solutions to our market.’’

Tags:  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Garry Johnson  Graphene  PureGRAPH®  Ross Fitzgerald  Steel Blue 

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The University of Manchester Joins The Graphene Council

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) becomes the newest member of The Graphene Council

The University of Manchester is home to two world-class, multi-million pound centres for the research and development of graphenerelated materials and applications. In particular, the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) specialises in the rapid development and scale up of graphene and other 2D materials applications, with a focus on: 

• Composites
• Energy
• Membranes
• Inks, Formulations and Coatings
• Graphene production
• Measurements and characterisation

The mission of the GEIC is to help accelerate the transfer of university based research and knowledge into real world commercial applications and is a key player in the UK’s overall initiative to create the world’s most advanced graphene ecosystem. 

James Baker, CEO at Graphene@Manchester stated: “We have decided to become a member of The Graphene Council because of a shared mission to help advance the commercial adoption of graphene as an industrial material, and because The Graphene Council compliments the efforts of the GEIC to help inform important industry sectors like composites, plastics, energy storage, sensors, coatings and many others. We look forward to working together with The Graphene Council as graphene reaches a critical tipping point over the next 12-18 months.”

The Graphene Council is the largest, independent community in the world for graphene researchers, application developers and commercial professionals reaching more than 25,000 individuals and companies globally. 

Terrance Barkan CAE, Executive Director of The Graphene Council said: “We are very honoured to be affiliated with the GEIC and The University of Manchester as the home of graphene’s discovery and where such important work on this material continues apace.

The development of graphene into a world-class commercial material will require the coordinated efforts of the entire supply chain so that the amazing properties of this material can be leveraged for a new generation of products and application that are more effective, longer lasting and much more sustainable for our planet.” 

If your organization would like to learn more about how to leverage the capabilities of graphene materials, please contact graphene.manchester.ac.uk or Terrance Barkan at tbarkan@thegraphenecouncil.org.

***

Listen to the recent Graphene Talk Podcast interview between The Graphene Council and James Baker, CEO of Graphene@Manchester about the state of graphene commercialization and application development. 

 

Tags:  Commercialization  GEIC  James Baker  University of Manchester 

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Are Graphene Companies Missing Out on R&D Tax Credits?

Posted By Dexter Johnson, IEEE Spectrum, Friday, August 16, 2019

Technology-based start-up companies typically have teams that know a great deal about the underlying technology and may have fully educated themselves on the commercial markets that they’re targeting for their products. However, knowing the intricacies of different funding mechanisms, or the finer points of corporate tax law, typically are not their strengths.

For the past 22 years, Leyton has been offering an international portfolio of clients a way to maximize the government funding initiatives that are available to them that they may not even be aware of.

Recently, Leyton became a Corporate Member of The Graphene Council and this gave us the opportunity to ask them about their business and what they can do for companies that are trying to succeed in commercializing graphene. Here is our interview with David Marinofsky – Senior R&D Tax Consultant at Leyton.

Q: Can you explain a bit of how your company works and what you provide your clients?

A: Leyton is a global innovation funding consultancy dedicated to helping our clients improve their business performance through utilization of research and development (R&D) tax credits. Our in-house  team  of  highly  experienced  scientists,  engineers,  tax  consultants  and  attorneys produce innovative and sustainable strategies to achieve the maximum eligible financial return, without impacting on a company’s core business or security. We save our clients’ time and generate a tax benefit while maintaining the highest quality of service. We achieve this by adapting to our clients’ environment and time constraints, and by minimizing their involvement, so they can stay focused on their core functions. Leyton only charges a fee if a credit is identified. We follow a clear methodology built on tested know-how and in full compliance with current legislation.

 Q: Essentially, then, your company assists innovative companies in reclaiming R&D tax credits. Could you outline the countries and regions that offer R&D tax credits for companies in the graphene sector?

A: R&D tax credits are offered globally, and can be applicable to various industries, including Material Science, Aerospace, Energy, Electronics, Medical Applications, Automotive, Construction, and many more. Companies developing the graphene material itself, new graphene-based processes or graphene-based products, will all be eligible, irrespective of what industry they operate in. Thanks to Leyton’s 25 regional offices in 11 countries, we are able to work closely with our clients, while our international presence gives us a strong global footprint, diverse sector expertise and the ability to benefit our clients on a global scale.

Q: How can companies take advantage of these tax strategies? What is required to qualify?

A: Regardless of industry, size, or revenue, any business that performs activities that meet the following four-part test may qualify for R&D tax credits:

1)    Technical Uncertainty: An activity performed to eliminate technical uncertainty encountered in the development or improvement of a product or process, which includes techniques, formulations, and inventions.

2)    Process of Experimentation: Activities undertaken to eliminate technical uncertainty where one or more alternatives are evaluated and is typically performed through modeling, simulation, systematic trial and error, or other methods.

3)    Technological in Nature: The process of experimentation fundamentally relies upon the hard sciences, such as chemistry, engineering, physics, biology, or computer science.

4)    Qualified Purpose: The research and development is performed with the purpose of creating new or improved product(s) or process(es) (computer software included) that results in increased performance, function, reliability, or quality.

 Q: Do you have an estimate of how much tax credits can a company might recoup based on their revenues or size?

A: A company’s size or revenue are not main determinants of the credit. Typically the best indicators are the amount of technical salaries and research and development related consumables that are incurred by a company during any given fiscal year. The bigger the pot of qualifying expenditures, the larger the credit will typically be. At the Federal level it is typically around 10% of the qualifying expenditure identified per year, but it is not always a simple 10% calculation due to the incremental nature of the credit. This credit can be used to reduce your current year tax bill, creates a refund if you are submitting on an amended return or can be carried forward for up to 20 years.

 A further determining factor can be in what state the company is located. Many states offer their own R&D credit with the qualifying criteria typically matching that of the Federal credit. As each state has control of their credit, the rates of return will vary but can be at the same level as the federal credit. The great thing is, the state and federal credits are separate, so you can claim them both together!

 A further thing to take note of is that there is an alternative way to realize the credit for qualified small businesses. As early stage companies who were highly innovative but incurring losses could not benefit from the standard credit, the payroll credit was brought into effect. The qualifying activities and expenditures remain the same, as does the amount of credit you receive. However, instead of reducing your income tax liability, which you don’t have, you are able to reduce (and potentially eliminate) your quarterly payroll tax bill. The great thing is, these companies nearly always have employees and a payroll tax bill!

 Q: Do you have an example of how some innovation companies have benefited from your services?

Companies have benefited directly by having the ability to put additional funds back into their business allowing them to hire additional staff, purchase new equipment, or securing a valuable tax credit to reduce their future tax bill. Our experience has shown that this is a perfect benefit for companies no matter what their current stage of growth. Any way to create additional funding is vital for businesses and we understand that, we also understand that your business should be your focus. That is why at Leyton we constantly monitor market developments to provide the most up-to-date funding solutions for our clients, delivered as efficiently as possible.

If anyone has any further questions about our services, our contact details and social media links are covered below:

  Website: www.leyton.com

Email: dmarinofsky@leyton.com

Phone: +1 (347) 417 – 0970.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leytonusa/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeytonUSA

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/leyton-usa/

DISCLAIMER: The Graphene Council does not have ANY financial interest in, and does NOT receive any commissions, participation or any other remuneration connected to Leyton client engagements. Please contact Leyton directly for information on how to obtain R&D Tax Credits. 

Tags:  funding  investment  start-ups  tax credits 

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Using 3-D Printed Mother-of-Pearl to Create Tough New Smart Materials

Posted By Graphene Council, Monday, August 12, 2019

The silvery shine of mother-of-pearl has long been prized for jewelry and decorative arts. But the interior of mollusk shells, also known as nacre, is more than just a pretty face. It is actually one of the most robust materials in the natural world. You can drive over nacre with a truck, and while the mollusk shell might crack under the weight, the shiny interior will stay intact.



Professor in the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Yong Chen and his team have created a new 3-D-printed replica of this natural super-material, which will have important new applications in responsive smart materials and safety devices, such as helmets and armor for sports or military, as well as smart wearable technology, biomedical devices and more.

The work, which was recently published in Science Advances, also represents the first time that electrical fields were used in 3-D printing to form the material, meaning the finished product has strong electrical conductivity. This makes it ideal for smart products.

Chen and postdoctoral researcher Yang Yang worked on the paper with co-authors Qiming Wang, Assistant Professor in the Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Qifa Zhou, Professor of Ophthalmology and Biomedical Engineering and others.

Chen said that in nature, the main purpose of a material like nacre is to protect a delicate, soft-bodied creature inside the shell.

“Nacre is strong because it stacks microscale and nanoscale components together in a brick-like structure and uses soft material to bind them together.”

Chen said the result was a very lightweight, robust material that was also far more responsive to pressure and loading compared with more rigid materials like ceramic and glass.

“Even very strong glass can be easy to crack when you drop it. Microcracks on the surface of these materials can quickly propagate all the way through it, whereas nacre combines soft and hard material in an intelligent way,” Chen said.

He said that when microcracks form in nacre, the soft material binding the nacre together works to deflect the force of impact and prevent cracks from propagating into more serious damage.

“The main motivation for this research was to see whether we could 3-D print any shape at a microscale, using the architecture of nacre combining both hard and soft materials, to achieve a much tougher structure.”

Replicating nacre with graphene and polymer
To do this, the team used a novel method to build synthetic nacre at a microscale using graphene powder as a building block. The researchers ran an electrical charge of around 1,000 volts through the graphene.

“Originally we had this randomly distributed graphene,” Chen said. “When you add it to the electrical field, these random grains of graphene are aligned parallel to each other.”

“Then we cure the material and finalize the layer. We then stack layer after layer on top so that it is similar in microstructure to nacre,” Chen said.

“We create a composite with polymer, which serves as the soft material inside and between the graphene.”

Chen said that previously nacre-like materials were formed using different approaches, such as magnetic fields to align the particles. After fabrication, the research team conducted material testing that showed the electrically-aligned product was lightweight with strong engineering properties.

He said that while naturally-formed nacre doesn’t conduct electricity, the 3-D printed bioinspired version can. As such, if it were used to fabricate protective material such as helmets or armor, the synthetic nacre can act as a sensor that alerts the wearer of any structural weaknesses before it fails.

The team tested the material by creating a small scale model of a smart helmet. The helmet functioned as a sensor connected to a LED light. When enough pressure was put on the helmet, the LED would be activated, indicating the material was under stress.

“Using the electrical-aligned approach leads to better alignment of the particles. It also means we can work with particles that react to an electrical field. When you use a magnetic field, then you can only work with a particle that reacts to that.”

Chen said that for the next stage of the research, the team would be investigating the new material’s capacity for thermal conductivity, in addition to its mechanical strength and ability to conduct electricity.

Tags:  3D Printing  Graphene  polymers  Qifa Zhou  USC Viterbi School of Engineering  Yong Chen 

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3D printable 2D materials based inks show promise to improve energy storage devices

Posted By Graphene Council, Sunday, August 11, 2019
Updated: Sunday, August 4, 2019
For the first time, a team of researchers, from the School of Materials and the National Graphene Institute at The the University of Manchester have formulated inks using the 2D material MXene, to produce 3D printed interdigitated electrodes.

As published in Advanced Materials, these inks have been used to 3D print electrodes that can be used in energy storages devices such as supercapacitors.

MXene, a ‘clay-like’ two-dimensional material composed of early transition metals (such as titanium) and carbon atoms, was first developed by Drexel University. However, unlike most clays, MXene shows high electrical conductivity upon drying and is hydrophilic, allowing them to be easily dispersed in aqueous suspensions and inks.

Graphene was the world’s first two-dimensional material, more conductive than copper, many more times stronger than steel, flexible, transparent and one million times thinner than the diameter of a human hair.

Since its isolation, graphene has opened the doors for the exploration of other two-dimensional materials, each with a range of different properties. However, in order to make use of these unique properties, 2D materials need to be efficiently integrated into devices and structures. The manufacturing approach and materials formulations are essential to realise this.

Dr Suelen Barg who led the team said: “We demonstrate that large MXene flakes spanning a few atoms thick, and water can be independently used to formulate inks with very specific viscoelastic behaviour for printing. These inks can be directly 3D printed into freestanding architectures over 20 layers tall. Due to the excellent electrical conductivity of MXene, we can employ our inks to directly 3D print current collector-free supercapacitors. The unique rheological properties combined with the sustainability of the approach open many opportunities to explore, especially in energy storage and applications requiring the functional properties of 2D MXene in customized 3D architectures.”

Wenji and Jae, PhD students at the Nano3D Lab at the University, said: “Additive manufacturing offers one possible method of building customised, multi-materials energy devices, demonstrating the capability to capture MXene’s potential for usage in energy applications. We hope this research will open avenues to fully unlock the potential of MXene for use in this field.”

The unique rheological properties combined with the sustainability of the approach open many opportunities to explore, especially in energy storage and applications requiring the functional properties of 2D MXene in customized 3D architectures. Dr Suelen Barg, School of Materials

The performance and application of these devices increasingly rely on the development and scalable manufacturing of innovative materials in order to enhance their performance.

Supercapacitors are devices that are able to produce massive amounts of power while using much less energy than conventional devices. There has been much work carried out on the use of 2D materials in these types of devices due to their excellent conductivity as well as having the potential to reduce the weight of the device.

Potential uses for these devices are for the automotive industry, such as in electric cars as well as for mobile phones and other electronics.

Tags:  2D materials  3D Printing  Drexel University  Graphene  Suelen Barg  Supercapacito  University of Manchester 

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A novel graphene-matrix-assisted stabilization method will help unique 2D materials become a part of quantum computers

Posted By Graphene Council, Sunday, August 11, 2019
Updated: Monday, August 5, 2019
The family of 2D materials was recently joined by a new class, the monolayers of oxides and carbides of transition metals, which have been the subject of extensive theoretical and experimental research. These new materials are of great interest to scientists due to their unusual rectangular atomic structure and chemical and physical properties. 

Scientists are particularly interested in a unique 2D rectangular copper oxide cell, which does not exist in crystalline (3D) form, as opposed to most 2D materials, whether well known or discovered recently, which have a lattice similar to that of their crystalline (3D) counterparts. The main hindrance for practical use of monolayers is their low stability.

A group of scientists from MISiS, the Institute of Biochemical Physics of RAS (IBCP), Skoltech, and the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan (NIMS) discovered 2D copper oxide materials with an unusual crystal structure inside a two-layer graphene matrix using experimental methods.

“Finding that a rectangular-lattice copper-oxide monolayer can be stable under given conditions is as important as showing how the binding of copper oxide and a graphene nanopore and formation of a common boundary can lead to the creation of a small, stable 2D copper oxide cluster with a rectangular lattice. In contrast to the monolayer, the small copper oxide cluster’s stability is driven to a large extent by the edge effects (boundaries) that lead to its distortion and, subsequently, destruction of the flat 2D structure. Moreover, we demonstrated that binding bilayered graphene with pure copper, which never exists in the form of a flat cluster, makes the 2D metal layer more stable,” says Skoltech Senior Research Scientist Alexander Kvashnin.

The preferability of the copper oxide rectangular lattice forming in a bigraphene nanopore was confirmed by the calculations performed using the USPEX evolutionary algorithm developed by Professor at Skoltech and MIPT, Artem Oganov. The studies of the physical properties of the stable 2D materials indicate that they are good candidates for spintronics applications.

Tags:  2D materials  Alexander Kvashnin  Artem Oganov  Graphene  MIPT  Skoltech 

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New research highlights similarities in the insulating states of twisted bilayer graphene and cuprates

Posted By Graphene Council, Sunday, August 11, 2019
Updated: Monday, August 5, 2019
In recent decades, enormous research efforts have been expended on the exploration and explanation of high-temperature (high-Tc) superconductors, a class of materials exhibiting zero resistance at particularly high temperatures.

Now a team of scientists from the United States, Germany and Japan explain in Nature ("Maximized electron interactions at the magic angle in twisted bilayer graphene") how the electronic structure in twisted bilayer graphene influences the emergence of the insulating state in these systems, which is the precursor to superconductivity in high-Tc materials.

Finding a material which superconducts at room temperature would lead to a technological revolution, alleviate the energy crisis (as nowadays most energy is lost on the way from generation to usage) and boost computing performance to an entirely new level. However, despite the progress made in understanding these systems, a full theoretical description is still elusive, leaving our search for room temperature superconductivity mainly serendipitous.

In a major scientific breakthrough in 2018, twisted bilayer graphene (TBLG) was shown to exhibit phases of matter akin to those of a certain class of high-Tc superconducting materials – the so-called high-Tc cuprates. This represents a novel inroad via a much cleaner and more controllable experimental setup.

The scientists from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD), Freie Universität Berlin (both in Germany), Columbia University (USA) and the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan focused on the insulating state of TBLG.

This material is made up of two atomically thin layers of graphene, stacked at a very slight angle to each other. In this structure, the insulating state precedes the high- Tc superconducting phase. Hence, a better understanding of this phase and what leads up to it is crucial for the control of TBLG.

The scientists used scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy (STM / STS) to investigate the samples. With this microscopic technique, electrically conducting surfaces can be examined atom by atom. Using the pioneering “tear and stack” method, they placed two atomically thin layers of graphene on top of one another and rotated them slightly. Then, the team directly mapped the material’s atomic-scale structural and electronic properties near the ‘magic angle’ of around 1.1°.

The findings, which have just been published in Nature, cast new light on the factors influencing the emergence of superconductivity in TBLG. The team observed that the insulating state, which precedes the superconducting state, appears at a particular level of filling the system with electrons. It enables scientists to estimate the strength and the nature of the interactions between electrons in these systems - a crucial step towards their description.

In particular, the results show that two distinct van Hove singularities (vHs) in the local density of states appear close to the magic angle which have a doping dependent separation of 40-57 meV. This demonstrates clearly for the first time that the vHs separation is significantly larger than previously thought. Furthermore, the team clearly demonstrates that the vHs splits into two peaks when the system is doped near half Moiréband filling. This doping-dependent splitting is explained by a correlation-induced gap, which means that in TBLG, electron-induced interaction plays a prominent role.

The team found that the ratio of the Coulomb interaction to the bandwidth of each individual vHs is more crucial to the magic angle than the vHs seperation. This suggests that the neighboring superconducting state is driven by a Cooper-like pairing mechanism based on electron-electron interactions. In addition, the STS results indicate some level of electronic nematicity (spontaneous breaking of the rotational symmetry of the underlying lattice), much like what is observed in cuprates near the superconducting state.

With this research, the team has taken a crucial step towards demonstrating the equivalence of the physics of high-Tc cuprates and those of TBLG materials. The insights gained via TBLG in this study will thus further the understanding of high-temperature superconductivity in cuprates and lead to a better analysis of the detailed workings of these fascinating systems.

The team’s work on the nature of the superconducting and insulating states seen in transport will allow researchers to benchmark theories and hopefully ultimately understand TBLG as a stepping stone towards a more complete description of the high-Tc cuprates. In the future, this may pave the way towards a more systematic approach of increasing superconducting temperatures in these and similar systems.

Tags:  Columbia University  Freie Universität Berlin  Graphene  Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamic 

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XG Sciences and Niagara Bottling Partner to Drive Graphene Enhanced PET Innovations in The Food & Beverage Packaging Industry

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Thursday, August 8, 2019

XG Sciences, Inc. (XGS), a market leader in designing advanced materials using xGnP® graphene nanoplatelets, announced that it has entered into an Intellectual Property License, Joint Development and Commercialization Agreement with Niagara Bottling, LLC, a market leader in  beverage packaging innovation and one of the largest beverage companies in the U.S. 

 

The Agreement provides XG Sciences with an exclusive license to Niagara’s patents and proprietary know-how related to the use of graphene nanoplatelets in PET in certain bottle applications. Under the Agreement, Niagara will assist XGS with field engineering support to install products into the manufacturing lines for new customers – greatly reducing the manufacturer’s time to market. This Agreement gives XGS access to a considerable IP portfolio relating to optimized dispersions of graphene nanoplatelets in PET and allows XGS to sell XGPET™ masterbatch pellets to global packaging companies within the next 6 to 12 months.  

 

The partnership will bring numerous advancements to the beverage bottle and packaging industry. When used in packaging production the advanced material, sold under the brand XGPET™, demonstrates improved physical strength, advanced product designs, processing benefits as well as potential reductions in the use of PET for given bottle designs.

 

“We are excited about the opportunities that partnering with an industry leader like Niagara Bottling will bring to the packaging industry. XGPET becomes the next innovative graphene enhanced material within our portfolio of high-performance composites, intended to solve major industry challenges, enable new products designs and accelerate a push towards more sustainable products,” said Bamidele Ali, Chief Commercial Officer, XG Sciences.

 

“For years we have used our expertise to innovate for Niagara Bottling’s customers. In this partnership with XG Sciences we are now advancing those innovations to the broader packaging industry,” said Jay Hanan, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, Niagara Bottling. “We are excited to further enable our industry to utilize graphene to create more efficiently produced and user-friendly packaging.”

 

Visit www.xgsciences.com/xgpet for details on the technical advantages of XGPET.

 

About XG Sciences, Inc.

XG Sciences, formed in 2006, specializes in utilizing graphene nanoplatelets to formulate advanced materials that amplify the performance of products across numerous industries. High-performance materials have been shipped to over 1,000 organizations in 47 countries. Test results have shown enhancements in manufacturing processability and improvements in mechanical, thermal, electrical, and barrier properties for many base materials.

 

For more information please visit www.xgsciences.com.

 

About Niagara Bottling, LLC

Family owned since 1963, Niagara Bottling is a leading beverage supplier in the U.S. producing a variety of beverages including bottled water, teas, sports drinks, vitamin water and sparkling water. Headquartered in Ontario, CA, Niagara operates bottling facilities throughout the U.S. and Mexico and works closely with some of the largest retailer stores throughout the country. With over 55 years of experience in advanced bottling technology, Niagara is committed to driving product innovation and environmental sustainability efforts in PET manufacturing.

 

For more information, visit www.niagarawater.com

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