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Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award 2019 Winners Announced

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Two new technology businesses share this year’s £70,000 prize for novel applications of graphene and other 2D materials. The two teams, based at The University of Manchester, are addressing key societal challenges on future energy and food security. They are seeking breakthroughs by using 2D materials to produce hydrogen to generate energy, and by designing polymer hydrogels to increase food production.

The Eli and Britt Harari Enterprise Award, in association with Nobel Laureate Sir Andre Geim, is awarded each year to help the implementation of commercially-viable business proposals from students, post-doctoral researchers and recent graduates of The University of Manchester based on developing the commercial prospects of graphene and other 2D materials.

The first prize of £50,000 was awarded to NanoPlexus and its founding team Jae Jong Byun, Dr. Suelen Barg, Francis Moissinac, Wenji Yang and Thomas Moissinac. Jae and Wenji are undertaking their PhD studies in Dr. Suelen Barg’s research group (Nano3D), with Francis starting in September. Thomas is an aerospace engineering graduate from The University of Manchester. The team has worked under the Nano3D lab in formulating their idea into a marketable product.

NanoPlexus will be developing a range of products using their platform technology; the unique nano-material aerogel technology will offer cost-effective renewable hydrogen production with increased material efficiency for a sustainable green-economy.

Jae said: “Recently, there has been an increased footprint and sense of urgency to transition into renewable energy to tackle climate change. Our concept is ideally positioned to support this transition by acting as a stepping-stone for innovative technology growth into conventional energy systems. Our idea of 2D material-based cells supports the forecasted need of renewable energy implementation, as it uses low to zero carbon energy resources.”

Our commitment to the support of entrepreneurship across the University has never been stronger and is a vital part of our approach to the commercialisation of research. Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor

Francis added: “We are very grateful to Eli and Britt Harari for their generosity and for the support of the University, which will enable us to develop our novel concept that could one day make a meaningful difference; connecting innovation to convention.”

The runner-up, receiving £20,000, was AEH Innovative Hydrogel Ltd, founded by Beenish Siddique. Beenish has recently graduated with a PhD from the School of Materials. Her technology aims to provide an eco-friendly hydrogel to farmers that, not only increases crop production but also has potential to grow crops in infertile and water stressed lands, with minimum use of water and fertilisers.

Beenish said: “Many farmers, especially in third world countries with warmer climates, are interested in my product. I have a solution that offers higher crop yield with less water and fertiliser usage, hence, less greenhouse gases emission and a much cleaner environment.”

The quality of the business proposals presented in this year’s finals was exceptionally high. Professor Luke Georghiou, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester and one of the judges for this year’s competition said: “Our commitment to the support of entrepreneurship across the University has never been stronger and is a vital part of our approach to the commercialisation of research. The support provided by Eli Harari over the last five years has enabled new and exciting ventures to be developed. It provides our winners the early-stage funding that is so vital to creating a significant business, while also contributing to health and social benefit. With support from our world-leading graphene research facilities I am certain that they are on the path to success.”

The winners will also receive support from groups across the University, including the University’s new state-of-the-art R&D facility, the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC); its leading support infrastructure for entrepreneurs, the Masood Enterprise Centre; as well as wider networks to help the winners take the first steps towards commercialising these early stage ideas.

The award is co-funded by the North American Foundation for The University of Manchester through the support of one of the University’s former physics students, Dr Eli Harari, founder of global flash-memory giant, SanDisk, and his wife, Britt. It recognises the role that high-level, flexible, early-stage financial support can play in the successful development of a business targeting the full commercialisation of a product or technology related to research in graphene and 2D materials.

Tags:  2D materials  AEH Innovative Hydrogel Ltd  Andre Geim  Beenish Siddique  Eli Harari  Graphene  Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre  Jae Jong Byun  Luke Georghiou  NanoPlexus  SanDisk  Suelen Barg  Thomas Moissinac  Wenji Yang 

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Graphene infrared radiation shielding

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, July 22, 2019
Updated: Thursday, July 18, 2019

Scientists of the Warsaw University of Technology Faculty of Chemistry and Process Engineering use graphene oxide and graphene-related compounds to develop new materials for infrared radiation protection. Their IR-GRAPH Project was funded by the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR).

“We want our materials to act as a barrier to both heath absorption and release,” says Marta Mazurkiewicz-Pawlicka, Ph.D. Eng., who supervised the work. “They are composites. We create them of polymers, using two types at this time. We use graphene materials with added metal oxides, such as titanium oxide, as the filler.”

Such a combination provides efficient screening. “Graphene materials are added to absorb radiation while metal oxides are supposed to disperse it,” explains the researcher.

Competitive Material

The market already offers, for example, window films for radiation protection. However, the materials developed by the scientists of the Warsaw University of Technology can compete with them. “They contain about 5% of added filler to reduce the temperature by a few degrees Celsius,” says Doctor Mazurkiewicz-Pawlicka. “We obtain similar results by adding 0.1%, that is 50 times less, of the filler.”

But for now, the team is focused on the materials alone rather than on specific applications. And potential applications are quite easy to see, just to mention windows as well as façades or even fabrics. The materials would protect against heat losses in winter and they would prevent overheating in summer.

For buildings or vehicles, that could mean an alternative to the now common air-conditioning systems, which as we know are extremely energy-intensive. The greater the desired modification of the ambient temperature in a room, the more energy is needed to achieve it. A less energy-intensive support would bring savings in the budget and benefits to the environment.

Looking into the future

Warsaw University of Technology scientists have carried out short-term tests. The results are promising but still a number of aspects must be investigated further, e.g. the polymer performance under UV radiation or at elevated temperatures or at a modified humidity. It is important to test the existing solutions both under various conditions and over a long time. Such testing could be done in a climatic chamber where a material sample could be placed and monitored.

“For instance, we have to work on the color to be able to use our materials in window films as the current color, which is in shades of grey, obscures visibility,” says Doctor Mazurkiewicz-Pawlicka. “We want to find new polymers that could be used as warp in our materials.”

A Collaborative Act

The team led by Doctor Mazurkiewicz-Pawlicka included Leszek Stobiński, Ph.D., D.Sc., Artur Małolepszy, Ph.D. and a group of students working on their engineer’s or master’s theses under the project. Members of the Chemical and Process Engineering Student Research Group also made a contribution. “They have built a device to measure how efficient our films are,” says Doctor Mazurkiewicz-Pawlicka. “It comprises an infrared lamp and a sensor which measures the degrees of temperature reduction.”

The WUT scientists closely collaborated with Tatung University, Taiwan, under the IR-GRAPH project. They also received support of the University of Warsaw Faculty of Physics. “Faculty Dean Prof. Dariusz Wasik and Andrzej Witowski, Ph.D., D.Sc., are experts in solid-state physics and they have carried out spectrometer measurements for us”, says Doctor Mazurkiewicz-Pawlicka.

Why IR screening?

Graphene is mainly associated with electronics and automation applications. Graphene use for radiation screening has not been that common yet. “There are references reporting that graphene can offer screening against electromagnetic radiation,” says Doctor Mazurkiewicz-Pawlicka. “This aspect is widely researched in the context of microwave radiation and, recently, also terahertz radiation, primarily for military applications. We thought we could investigate graphene properties for infrared radiation as this is quite an unexplored territory.

Infrared radiation has the wavelength ranging from 780 nanometers to 1 millimeter. It combines with the visible light and UV radiation to create the spectrum of sunlight. Excessive sunlight has a harmful effect on human skin. As much as 50% of sunlight which reaches the Earth’s surface is infrared radiation (which can be felt as heat). That is why IR screening is vital.

Tags:  Andrzej Witowski  Artur Małolepszy  Dariusz Wasik  Graphene  Leszek Stobiński  Marta Mazurkiewicz-Pawlicka  National Centre for Research and Development  polymers  Warsaw University of Technology 

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High-safety, flexible and scalable Zn//MnO2 rechargeable planar micro-batteries

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, July 18, 2019
Updated: Monday, July 15, 2019
Increasing development of micro-scale electronics has stimulated demand of the corresponding micro-scale power sources, especially for micro-batteries (MBs). However, complex manufacturing process and poor flexibility of the traditional stacked batteries have hindered their practical applications.

Planar MBs have recently garnered great attention due to their simple miniaturization, facile serial/parallel integration and capability of working without separator membranes. Furthermore, planar geometry has extremely short ion diffusion pathway, which is attributed to full integration of printed electronics on a single substrate. Also, in order to get rid of the safety issues induced by the flammable organic electrolyte, the aqueous electrolyte, characterized by intrinsic nonflammability, high ionic conductivity, and nontoxicity, is a promising candidate for large-scale wearable and flexible MB applications. As the consequence, various printing techniques have been used for fabricating planar aqueous MBs. "In particular, screen printing can effectively control the precise pattern design with adjustable rheology of the inks, and is very promising for large-scale application." The author said.

In a new article published in Beijing-based National Science Review, Zhong-Shuai Wu at Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, constructed aqueous rechargeable planar Zn//MnO2 batteries by an applicable and cost-effective screen printing strategy. "The planar Zn//MnO2 micro-batteries, free of separators, were manufactured by directly printing the zinc ink as the anode and γ-MnO2 ink as the cathode, high-quality graphene ink as metal-free current collectors, working in environmentally benign neutral aqueous electrolytes of 2 M ZnSO4 and 0.5 M MnSO4." The author stated. Diverse shapes of Zn//MnO2 MBs were fabricated onto different substrates, implying the potential for widespread applications.

The planar separator-free Zn//MnO2 MBs, tested in neutral aqueous electrolyte, deliver high volumetric capacity of 19.3 mAh/cm3 (corresponding to 393 mAh/g), at 7.5 mA/cm3, and notable volumetric energy density of 17.3 mWh/cm3, outperforming lithium thin-film batteries (<=10 mWh/cm3). Moreover, The Zn//MnO2 planar MBs present long-term cyclability, holding high capacity retention of 83.9% after 1300 times at 5 C, superior to stacked Zn//MnO2 MBs reported. Also, Zn//MnO2 planar MBs exhibit exceptional flexibility without observable capacity decay under serious deformation, and remarkable serial and parallel integration of constructing bipolar cells with high voltage and capacity output.

This satisfactory result will open numerous intriguing opportunities in various applications of intelligent, printed and miniaturized electronics. Also, this work will inspire scientists working in nanotechnology, chemistry, material science and energy storage, and may have significant impact on both future technological development of planar micro-scale energy-storage devices and research of graphene based materials.

Tags:  Batteries  Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics  Energy Storage  Graphene  Zhong-Shuai Wu 

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AGM advances applications for water based anti-corrosion coatings

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Thursday, July 18, 2019
Updated: Monday, July 15, 2019

Applied Graphene Materials, the producer of specialty graphene materials, has announced it has achieved significant technological progress (patent pending) on the deployment of graphene into water-based coatings to enhance their barrier properties.

Water-based coating development remains a focus for industry formulators.

This push is driven by the continuing tightening of regulations brought in to lessen the detrimental impact that solvent- based coatings have on both worker health and the environment. As the technology for water-based coatings continues to evolve, one of the key challenges that remains is to significantly improve their anti-corrosion performance. In doing so, this will fully extend their use away from decorative applications into broader industrial protective coatings.

Over recent years AGM has proven the outstanding barrier and anti-corrosion performance gains possible by incorporating graphene into solvent-based coating systems using its Genable® dispersion technology. This has been demonstrated with several commercial products reaching industrial end-user markets. However, effective incorporation of graphene into water-based systems has previously proven more problematic due to interrelated issues around materials compatibility and film formation.

This water-based breakthrough is again based on AGM's platform Genable® technology, a range of master dispersions that are designed to facilitate the easy incorporation of graphene into coating formulations and existing processes. Genable® dispersions are fully scalable industrial products and, based on initial findings, the addition levels required to significantly enhance anti-corrosion performance in water-based systems are low enough to ensure commercial viability, even in light industrial applications.

Adrian Potts, CEO of Applied Graphene Materials, said:
"A key driver for coatings developers to upgrade their product formulations is increasing regulatory pressure to improve the environmental impact and safety of their products. This is why AGM is working to replicate the success we have already achieved with the incorporation of our Genable® products into solvent-based products with its incorporation into water-based products. We are delighted to be able to present significant technological progress to our customers, reaffirming AGM as the leader in the development of cutting-edge graphene applications tailored to add significant value for paints and coatings manufacturers."

While the findings being shared publicly are in a commercial acrylic DTM (Direct-to-Metal) coating, AGM believes that water-based Genable® technology could, with considered formulating, equally well be adopted into epoxy chemistries and likewise into more complex formulated primer systems.



AGM remains the industry leader for graphene exploitation into the global paints and coatings industry, boasting a highly experienced formulations and applications team, supported by a well-equipped product development and characterisation laboratory and production capability for consistent manufacturing.

Tags:  Adrian Potts  Applied Graphene Materials  Coatings  Corrosion  Graphene 

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Leading Graphene Innovator Sees Graphene Market at a Tipping Point

Posted By Dexter Johnson, IEEE Spectrum, Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Global Graphene Group (G3) has a 17-year relationship with graphene since Dr. Bor Jang, cofounder of Nanotek Instruments, Inc., discovered graphene in 2002.

Today, the G3 organization currently consists of three groupings of companies. First, there is Nanotek Instruments that holds the over three hundred patents the company has filed since its inception in 1997.

Another of the three branches involves graphene production and this branch includes Angstron Materials Group and Taiwan Graphene Company. Angstron Materials is involved in producing graphene intermediates and thermal interface materials. Taiwan Graphene Company produces graphene oxide and graphene powder.

The third branch of the corporate structure of G3 involves the company’s energy storage interests. This includes two companies: Honeycomb Battery Company and Angstron Energy Company. Angstron Energy produces both a high-energy silicon anode and a graphene-enabled cathode. Honeycomb Battery is focused on producing lithium-sulfur batteries, non-flammable electrolytes and next-generation lithium battery technologies.

G3 recently became a member of The Graphene Council and we took the opportunity to talk to the company’s representatives, including Dr. Jang. Here is our discussion.

Q: The Global Graphene Group (G3) has an interesting pedigree, being a holding company for Angstron Materials, Nanotek Instruments and Honeycomb Battery. Could you provide a bit of background of how the company came to be and how the various companies that make it up create an overall strategy for the commercialization of graphene?

A: In order to properly answer this question, we would like to tell a brief story about a 17-year relationship with graphene.

Dr. Bor Jang founded Nanotek Instruments Inc. in 1997 and over the past two decades, researchers at Nanotek have developed a broad array of nanomaterials and energy storage and conversion technologies.

A significant accomplishment of Nanotek researchers is the fact that Dr. Jang’s research team discovered/invented graphene in 2002, two years before Drs. A. Geim and K. Novoselov published their first paper on graphene in 2004 [Science 306, 666–669 (October 2004)]. Drs. Geim and Novoselov won the 2010 Nobel Physics Prize for their work on graphene.

There is no doubt that Drs. Geim and Novoselov have made highly significant contributions to graphene science and, as such, well-deserve this Nobel Prize. However, it is important for Graphene Council’s members and associates to recognize that Nanotek researchers had submitted three (3) US patent applications and delivered a lecture on graphene before October 2004 when that milestone paper was published. This fact is evidenced in the following:

  • B. Z. Jang and W. C. Huang, “Nano-scaled Graphene Plates,” US Patent Application No. 10/274,473 (submitted on 10/21/2002); now U.S. Pat. No. 7,071,258 (issued 07/04/2006).
  • B. Z. Jang, et al. “Process for Producing Nano-scaled Graphene Plates,” U.S. Patent Application No. 10/858,814 (06/03/2004).
  • Bor Z. Jang, “Nanocomposite compositions for hydrogen storage and methods for supplying hydrogen to fuel cells,” US Pat. Appl. No. 10/910,521 (08/03/2004); now US Pat. No. 7,186,474 (03/06/2007).
  • W. Schwalm, M. Schwalm, and B. Z. Jang, “Local Density of States for Nanoscale Graphene Fragments,” Am. Phy. Soc. Paper No. C1.157, 03/2004, Montreal, Canada.

(In March 2004, Dr. Jang and his colleagues (Drs. W. Schwalm, M. Schwalm, and J. Wagner) presented a paper at the American Physical Society’s Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada that discussed the density of state function and related electronic properties of graphene.)

Contrary to the common misconception in the graphene space that the liquid phase exfoliation method was developed in 2008 by a Dublin College team (Hernandez, Y. et al. “High-yield production of graphene by liquid-phase exfoliation of graphite,” Nature Nanotechnology, 3, 563–568 (2008)), Dr. Zhamu/Dr. Jang’s research team at Nanotek developed this method and filed a patent application in 2007.

This provides an effective way of producing pristine graphene directly from graphite without chemical intercalation or oxidation [A. Zhamu, et al., “Method of Producing Exfoliated Graphite, Flexible Graphite, and Nano-Scaled Graphene Plates,” US Patent Application No. 11/800,728 (05/08/2007); now US Patent No. 7,824,651 (11/02/2010)].

Between 2002 and 2007, the Nanotek teams also developed other important graphene production processes, including chemical oxidation, supercritical fluid exfoliation, and electrochemical exfoliation.

Supported by significant IP on several different graphene production processes and graphene applications in composites, thermal management, supercapacitor, and batteries, etc., Drs. Zhamu and Jang decided to co-found Angstron Materials, Inc. in 2007 to begin to scale-up of selected graphene production processes and certain graphene application products.

Subsequently, after many years of development, prototyping, and mass production efforts and establishment of a vast IP portfolio, we found the timing was right for us to establish several business units for more effective commercialization of vastly different products for different industries.

Taiwan Graphene Company (TGC) was founded in 2015 as a leading producer of single-layer graphene oxide, graphene-based nano-intermediates and non-energy-focused application products. Angstron Energy Company (AEC) was founded in 2015 as producer of lithium battery anode and cathode materials. Honeycomb Battery Company (HBC) was also founded in 2015 as a developer and producer of next-generation safe and long-lasting lithium metal batteries, including quasi-solid state battery, lithium-sulfur battery, and lithium-air battery. Angstron Materials was assigned as a research and development company for development of new processes and products. Nanotek remains as the IP-holding company. As suggested by our investors, we also decided to position all five organizations under one umbrella – Global Graphene Group (G3).

Q: How are you marketing graphene at this point, i.e. are you selling graphene raw materials, master batches, etc.? Or are you developing products that incorporate graphene, specifically for Li-ion batteries? Are there other applications you’re pursuing in addition to energy storage?

A: Our Taiwan Graphene Co. (TGC) is selling graphene in powder and dispersion forms, masterbatches for composites, thermal management products, etc. Angstron Energy Co. (AEC) is selling graphene-enabled Si anode materials and graphene-enhanced cathode materials for the lithium-ion battery industry. Honeycomb Battery Company (HBC) is poised to commercialize lithium metal protection technology, non-flammable electrolytes, graphene-enabled sulfur and selenium cathodes, and graphene-enhanced current collectors for next-generation lithium batteries.

Q: What production methods do you use to make your graphene? How has this production avenue determined the applications for your material?

A: We use a combination of improved chemical oxidation process, liquid phase exfoliation, and other proprietary processes, which G3 invented. We have found that different applications require the use of different graphene types produced by different processes.

Q: What have you discovered to be the biggest challenges for your commercialization of graphene and how have you overcome them?

A: We see the greatest challenge to commercialization that it takes time to qualify the application of graphene into various products. We have relationships with several large OEMs in different markets working with our graphene. It just takes time to go through the qualification process.

Q: What direction do you see for the company in the future? Do you see the company moving further up the value chain to the point where all your graphene production is used internally?

A: The future is to grow. We’re targeting to reach $600m+ in annual sales within the next five years between the combination of products in our value chain and graphene raw materials.

Q: What do you think we can expect in the commercialization of graphene over the next 5 to 10 years?

A: Several major applications (so-called killer applications) of graphene are expected to emerge soon. We will see exponential growth as customers integrate graphene into their products to a point where large expansions of graphene manufacturing are necessary. The challenge will be keeping up with the demand.

Tags:  batteries  discovery  graphene  Nobel Prize 

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Haydale graphene-enhanced composite tooling and automotive body panels

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Haydale announces that its graphene-enhanced prepreg has now been incorporated in the composite tooling and automotive body panels of the new 'BAC Mono R', which made its debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed.


Briggs Automotive Company (BAC), working alongside both Haydale and Pentaxia, has built the lightweight BAC Mono R body using Haydale’s graphene-enhanced carbon composite materials.

The component parts have been formed using Haydale’s graphene-enhanced tooling materials. The outcome of the process for manufacturing the body parts is a full visual carbon material which can be lacquered or painted as required. Utilisation of graphene-enhanced tooling materials offers the potential for significant improvements in the following aspects:

  • The coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) – is more closely matched when using composite tooling. A key issue with the use of metal tooling is a significant mismatch in (CTE)
  • The need for superior quality – higher dimensional stability tooling is increasing the demand for composite tooling
  • Current composite tools also suffer from a finite life - wearing of the tool surfaces and microcracking. The use of graphene has the potential to increase the life of the tools

Keith Broadbent, CEO at Haydale, commented: “In the development of this project, Haydale has improved the supply chain and cycle times as well as enabling BAC to reduce weight and increase performance of the material. Whilst this outcome has focused on the automotive sector, the knowledge and improvements made provide a wider opportunity for tooling materials across several markets, particularly where there are throughput constraints.”

Ian Briggs, Design Director at Briggs Automotive Company, added:

“BAC is forever an innovator, and being able to release a new car fully incorporating the use of graphene is just another example of how we’re pushing the boundaries. Niche vehicle manufacturers are of paramount importance in the automotive industry, acting as stepping stones for mass-market production technology – and after the overwhelming success of our R&D project with Haydale and Pentaxia, Mono R could well be a stepping stone for graphene-enhanced composite body panels and tooling reaching the wider automotive industry in the near future.”

Tags:  Briggs Automotive Company  Graphene  Haydale  Ian Briggs  Keith Broadbent 

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Laser-induced graphene composites are eminently wearable

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Monday, June 24, 2019
Graphene has a unique combination of properties that is ideal for next-generation electronics, including mechanical flexibility, high electrical conductivity, and chemical stability. The burgeoning field of wearable electronics – 'smart' fabrics with invisibly integrated energy harvesting, energy storage, electronics and sensor systems – benefits from graphene in numerous ways. Graphene materials, be they pristine or composites, will lead to smaller high-capacity and fast-charging supercapacitors, completely flexible and even rollable electronics and energy-storage devices, and transparent batteries.

To realize the commercial potential of graphene, it is necessary to develop reliable, cost-effective and facile processes for the industry-scale fabrication of graphene-based devices.

One possible route is inkjet printing, already extensively demonstrated with conductive metal nanoparticle inks. Although liquid-phase graphene dispersions have been demonstrated, researchers are still struggling with sophisticated inkjet printing technologies that allow efficient and reliable mass production of high-quality graphene patterns for practical applications.

A novel solution comes from the team at Joseph Wang's Laboratory for Nanobioelectronics at UC San Diego. Reporting their findings in Advanced Materials Technologies ("Laser-Induced Graphene Composites for Printed, Stretchable, and Wearable Electronics"), they demonstrate the synthesis of high-performance stretchable graphene ink using a facile, scalable, and low-cost laser induction method for the synthesis of the graphene component.

As a proof-of-concept, the researchers fabricated a stretchable micro-supercapacitor (S-MSC) demonstrating the highest capacitance reported for a graphene-based highly stretchable MSC to date. This also is the first example of using laser-induced graphene in the form for a powder preparation of graphene-based inks and subsequently for use in screen-printing of S-MSC.

Back in 2014, researchers at Rice University created flexible, patterned sheets of multilayer graphene from a cheap polymer by burning it with a computer-controlled laser, a technique they called laser-induced graphene (LIG). This high-yield and low-cost graphene synthesis process works in air at room temperature and eliminates the need for hot furnaces and controlled environments, and it makes graphene that is suitable for electronics or energy storage.

"LIG can be prepared from a few polymeric substances, such as Kapton polyimide and polyetherimide, as well as various sustainable biomasses, including wood, lignin, cloth, paper, or hydrothermal carbons," Farshad Tehrani, the paper's first author. "On the other hand, LIG has considerably enhanced dispersion in typical solvent and binders due to its inherently abundant defects and surface functional groups."

He points out that the team's novel method, while maintaining the distinct advantages of the direct-written LIG, unlocks untapped potentials of the LIG material in several areas:

Mechanical stretchability: In this study, the inherently brittle and mechanically fragile LIG electrodes are turned into a mechanically robust, highly stretchable electrodes, with the new ink attractive for diverse wearable electronic devices.

Enhanced electrochemical performance: The areal capacitance of the team's S-MSC has far surpassed that of direct-written laser LIG and has produced the highest areal capacitance reported for highly stretchable supercapacitors.

Customized composite formulations: The basic ink formulation is compatible with a wide range of compositions using the LIG as an attractive conductive filler.

Substrate versatility: Unlike direct-laser writing, which is limited to polymeric substrates and several biomasses, the LIG ink can be printed on almost any stretchable and non stretchable substrate, such as polymeric substrates, fabrics, or textiles.

"During the development of our new supercapacitor, we discovered a specific synergic effect between polymeric binders poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) mixed with Polyurethane (PU), PEDOT:PSS-PU and graphene sheets in producing exceptional electromechanical performances," adds Fernando Soto, a co-author of the paper. "We realized that when both sides of the graphene sheets are thoroughly covered with the conductive/elastic PEDOT:PSS/PU polymer, it results in a robust composite that withstands severe shear stresses during stretching."

"Not only that, but it also maintains above 85% of its electrochemical performance such as its charge storing capacitance properties, composite conductivity and electrochemical stability at high charge-discharge cycles," he adds.

In developing wearable electronic devices, researchers need to deal with a range of issues where stretchability and mechanical performance of the device is as important as its electronic properties such as conductivity, charge storage properties and, generally, its high electrochemical performance.

Rather than focusing on one of these specific problems, the team's work addresses a series of challenges that include high mechanical and electrochemical performance while keeping the costs at their lowest possible point for realistic commercialization scenarios.

"From the design to the implementation stages of our study, the primary focus has been devoted to scalability, versatility and cost efficiency of a high performance platform that can potentially spark further innovations using nanocomposite materials in the field of wearable electronics," notes Tehrani.

The next stages of the team's work in this area of wearable applications will see the integration of these high-performance S-MSCs with batteries and energy harvesting systems such as biofuel cells, triboelectrics, and piezoelectrics.

Tags:  Farshad Tehrani  Graphene  Joseph Wang  nanocomposites  nanoelectronics  Sensors  UC San Diego 

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Why is Characterizing Graphene So Damn Hard?

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Friday, June 21, 2019

Graphene materials are notoriously difficult to characterize despite the many different techniques available today, including Raman Spectroscopy, TEM, SEM, BET, XPS, AFM and others depending on what aspect of the material you are looking to understand. 

In addition, different types and forms of graphene will lend themselves to some test and less so for others. For example, it will make a significant difference in the test and testing procedure if you are working with CVD mono-layer graphene or multi-layer graphene nanoplatelets, not to mention Graphene Oxide (GO) or a reduced Graphene Oxide (rGO). 

Is the material in a dry powder form, in solution or is it in a paste? Has it been treated with a surfactant? Has it been functionalized and if so with which molecules? 

Layered on top of these challenges is the fact that you are often testing just an incredibly small fraction of a production run. Is the sample representative to begin with? And once you are running your test are you just looking at a few isolated flakes or are you looking at the full sample set? 

Add all of this together and it becomes quite clear that proper testing of graphene material, especially in an industrial production setting, is expensive and time consuming. 

There is a tremendous need therefore for new testing methodologies that can test graphene batches and larger sample sizes in a way that is still meaningful and useful without being overly expensive. Oh, and it should be fast and not subject to complicated preparation procedures nor wide margins of uncertainty.

Are you using XRD for Graphene Characterization? 

One method that has been used is XRD (X-Ray Diffractometer), however it is not one of the more commonly used tests for graphene characterization at this point. 

The Graphene Council would like to start a discussion to help understand if XRD could be used more frequently for reliable graphene testing. 

We kindly ask you to send me your comments to this post and answer the following questions in your own words;

Q. What are the benefits of using XRD to test dry bulk samples of graphene materials (in all forms of commercially available materials) and what are its most obvious limitations? 

SEND TO: tbarkan@thegraphenecouncil.org

(Two papers have been linked above [click on the images] for reference.)

We will collect the replies and put them together in an article for the community. 

Thank you in advance for contributing to our understanding of whether XRD could be a candidate for broader use as a measurement technique for graphene characterization. 

 

 

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Operational Update on Commercial Graphene Facility

Posted By Graphene Council, The Graphene Council, Tuesday, June 18, 2019
Updated: Saturday, June 15, 2019

NanoXplore Inc. has recently provided an operational update on its new 10,000 metric ton/year commercial graphene facility in Ville St-Laurent (Montréal), Québec, including:

- New Graphene Facility Construction Project Update;
- Capital Expenditures (“CapEx”) Update;
- Operating Expenditures (“Opex”) Update; and
- Graphene Sales Update.

Mr. Rocco Marinaccio, Chief Operational Officer of NanoXplore, commented:

“We are delighted to report on the Corporation’s first significant operational steps in solidifying the commercialization of graphene. The operations team has been working diligently to ensure that the project remains on time and within budget. I am happy to announce that we have achieved this goal to date.

We are now fully engaged and focused on the project’s execution that will further demonstrate that our technology is scalable and economically viable in comparison to other carbon-based additives. As originally scheduled, we plan to commission the new facility at the end of this calendar year and execute our Phase One objective (4,000 metric tons/year) by calendar Q1, 2020”.

New Graphene Facility Construction Project Update  

NanoXplore’s new graphene production facility (located at 4500 Thimens Blvd, Ville St-Laurent, Montréal, Québec) will be housed within an existing 70,000 square foot building. The Corporation has ordered all major long lead time equipment for Phase One (4,000 metric tons/year) development with expected delivery scheduled for the end of calendar Q4 of this year.

All main equipment is being manufactured in America and Europe by reputable companies and all engineering related to these purchases has been completed. No further major equipment purchases will be needed. The detailed engineering related to electrical and mechanical for the major equipment has been completed and remains on-going for other components within the facility. The procurement has been completed for all major equipment and NanoXplore has awarded contracts for the construction and automation of the new facility. The new graphene plant will be a fully automated production plant that will enable a connected and flexible manufacturing system. 

CapEx Update 


NanoXplore anticipates CapEx (capital expenditure) to be 10% less than originally estimated. The overall development for Phase One (4,000 metric tons/year) of the new facility is expected to be on time and under the original planned budget. More specifically, the construction process has already commenced, as indicated above, installation and commissioning of the new plant is expected to begin during calendar Q4 of this year and all primary costs have been contracted and accounted for. The Corporation expects Phase One (4,000 metric tons/year), of a two-phase 10,000 metric tons/year production project, to be fully operational during calendar Q1 of 2020.   

Opex Update

NanoXplore’s Operations team has been working diligently to ensure that continual improvements are implemented during the facility’s project development. The new graphene facility layout has been finalized and fully optimized. This optimization will allow the Corporation to add an additional graphene production line without the need of expanding the new facility as originally contemplated. Furthermore, significant developments in manufacturing efficiencies have bolstered single line graphene production output from 2,000 metric tons/year to 4,000 metric tons/year, doubling single line production capacity. This improvement was a result of a vigorous twelve-month R&D and engineering project that has been successfully tested and implemented at the Corporation’s current production facility. These results were further validated through additional testing on the new facility’s equipment at the suppliers’ locations in the US and in Canada.  

The Operations team has also made significant improvements towards reducing the Corporation’s input costs to produce graphene. We are now able to produce high-quality graphene using small natural flake graphite (-150 mesh). Small natural flake graphite is substantially cheaper than large flake graphite (+80 mesh). Large flake graphite is the current graphite of choice for the Lithium Ion battery market. NanoXplore’s ability to move away from larger flake higher demand will not only dramatically reduce input costs, but will also help the Corporation secure a more readily available graphite supply, significantly reducing future supply risks.

Tags:  Graphene  NanoXplore  Rocco Marinaccio 

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The Graphene Council Expands Team of Graphene Experts

Posted By Terrance Barkan, Monday, June 17, 2019
Updated: Friday, June 14, 2019
No one knows more about graphene commercial applications than the team of experts at The Graphene Council . . . and that team just added an important new resource, Dr. Jo Anne Shatkin, Founder and President at Vireo Advisers.
 
Dr. Shatkin leads a global network of subject matter experts focused on regulatory and safety strategies for novel bio-based and nanoscale technology commercialization.
 
Providing state of the art analyses for public and private organizations toward safe and sustainable new product development, Dr. Shatkin is an environmental health scientist.
 
She is a recognized expert in environmental science and policy, human health risk assessment, emerging substances policy and nanotechnology, especially safety of carbon-based nanomaterials. 
 
Her skills form a perfect compliment to the existing Graphene Council Advisory Team, bringing deep expertise in health and safety issues at a critical time for graphene commercial adoption. Specifically; 
 
  • Safety Data Sheet preparation, 
  • Expert advice on safety and regulatory requirements for global markets and product categories, 
  • Best practice guidance on safe occupational handling strategies, 
  • Regulatory package preparation
  • Third party reviews and opinions, 
  • Safety methods development, testing coordination and, 
  • Introductions to specialty testing experts. 
 
As the largest community in the world for graphene professionals, researchers and academics, The Graphene Council is your best source for expert advice and guidance regarding any aspect of graphene application and development. 
 
Whether you are a producer looking for new markets, a buyer looking for the best source of graphene, a university tech transfer office looking for commercialization partners, or a materials R&D lab looking to leverage the graphene revolution, you can rely on The Graphene Council to find the right information, solutions and connections.
 
As an Affiliate Partner with the University of Manchester's Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) and partnerships with other leading institutions, The Graphene Council has unparalleled access to the best and the brightest in the field of graphene commercialization.
 
 
Terrance Barkan CAE
Executive Director, The Graphene Council

Tags:  Graphene Adviser  Graphene Consultants  Graphene Expert 

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