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The ACS Publishes a Chicken-Sh!T Article About Graphene

Posted By Graphene Council, Friday, February 14, 2020

A joke targeted at graphene research seems driven more by envy than providing a check on its excesses 

Last month, the venerable American Chemical Society (ACS) in its journal ACS Nano decided to take a step off the path of its mandate to promote scientific discovery and thought it might be fun to ridicule it. ("Will Any Crap We Put into Graphene Increase Its Electrocatalytic Effect?" by Lu Wang, Zdenek Sofer and  Martin Pumera*

Of course, the target of the ridicule was graphene, which over the last decade has been taking much of the research funding targeted for advanced materials. Let’s say it was an easy target to malign, especially for those who are not invested in graphene’s development.

The ridicule was formulated in this way: a lot of research papers are published on how to dope graphene (add impurities to it), so what if we published a paper on someone doping graphene with chicken guano. Hysterical, right?

There’s just one problem with this joke, one of the cornerstones of semiconducting engineering for at least the last half-century has been doping. Doping is used to enhance, or just tweak, the conductivity of semiconductors by intentionally introducing impurities into them. 

To forego a long explanation of solid-state physics and band gaps, suffice it to say that digital electronics (the kind of electronics that enables you to read this post) depends on doping of electronic materials to function.

In the decade-and-a-half since graphene was first isolated, researchers have been mesmerized by its extraordinary properties and by logical extension its enormous potential in electronics. However, graphene in its pure state is not a semiconductor, but rather a conductor. In order for it to be useful in electronic applications, especially digital electronics, it needs to behave as a semiconductor: possessing the capability of starting and stopping the flow of electrons through it thereby creating the on/off states for binary digital logic.

Of course, researchers have spent countless hours researching on how to best exploit graphene for electronics—attracted to its extraordinary electronic properties—and have often been funded handsomely to do so. This funding—which has come at the expense of other lines of research (making graphene research an easy target for envy)—has been so strong because of the hope that it would lead to some breakthrough that would stave off the end of Moore’s Law. 

Moore’s Law argued back in 1965 that the number of transistors placed in an integrated circuit (IC) or chip doubles approximately every two years.  It turns out graphene hasn’t saved Moore’s Law as of yet. And Moore’s Law may have seen its road come to a dead end two years ago when chip makers just threw up their hands at a 7-nm node and said, “No more.”

This means for the last decade there has been a pressing need and a fervent hope that graphene could come to the rescue of complimentary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) digital electronics. To meet this need and interest, graphene research had to devote much of its time to doping of the material.

It is a worthy argument to contest how effective this has all been in bringing graphene closer as a viable alternative in a post-CMOS world. However, it would be silly to argue that such research should never have been undertaken, or even taken on so aggressively and broadly. There was a need and the market pulled for such a use for the material. This was not an idle or wasted effort as the ACS Nano article insinuates.

The gist of the ACS Nano article in the form of a joke was to suggest that all doping of graphene research is nonsense because so much of it is performed and published. “Look how funny it would be to dope graphene with chicken droppings. That will really stick their noses in it.” While this may be funny to some, it’s highly detrimental to the spirit and inspiration for scientific inquiry.

And it certainly doesn’t do justice to the many innovative ways that graphene and a whole class of 2D materials are being applied to solve existing and new engineering challenges. 

Tags:  2D materials  American Chemical Society  Electronics  Graphene  Lu Wang  Martin Pumera  Semiconductors  Zdenek Sofer 

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A novel formulation to explain heat propagation

Posted By Graphene Council, Thursday, February 13, 2020
Researchers at EPFL and MARVEL have developed a novel formulation that describes how heat spreads within crystalline materials. This can explain why and under which conditions heat propagation becomes fluid-like rather than diffusive. Their equations will make it easier to design next-generation electronic devices at the nanoscale, in which these phenomena can become prevalent.

Fourier's well-known heat equation describes how temperatures change over space and time when heat flows in a solid material. The formulation was developed in 1822 by Joseph Fourier, a French mathematician and physicist hired by Napoleon to increase a cannon's rate of fire, which was limited by overheating.

Fourier's equation works well to describe conduction in macroscopic objects (several millimeters in size or larger) and at high temperatures. However, it does not describe hydrodynamic heat propagation, which can appear in electronic devices containing materials such as graphite and graphene.

One of these heat-propagation phenomena is known as Poiseuille heat flow. This is where heat propagates within a material as a viscous-fluid flow. Another phenomenon, called "second sound," takes place when heat propagates in a crystal like a wave, similar to the way in which sound spreads through the air.

Since these phenomena are not described by Fourier's equation, until now researchers have analyzed them using explicit microscopic models, such as the Boltzmann transport equation. However, the complexity of these models means that they cannot be used to design complex electronic devices.

This problem has now been solved by Michele Simoncelli, a PhD student at EPFL, together with Andrea Cepellotti, a former EPFL PhD student now at Harvard, and Nicola Marzari, the chair of Theory and Simulation of Materials in the Institute of Materials at EPFL's School of Engineering and the director of NCCR MARVEL. They showed how heat originating from the atomic vibrations in a solid can be described rigorously by two novel "viscous heat equations", which extend Fourier's law to cover any heat propagation that is not diffusive.

"These viscous heat equations explain why and under which conditions heat propagation becomes fluid-like rather than diffusive. They show that heat conduction is governed not just by thermal conductivity, as described by Fourier's law, but also by a second parameter, thermal viscosity," says Simoncelli.

This breakthrough, published in Physical Review X, will help engineers design next-generation devices, particularly those that feature materials such as graphite or diamond in which hydrodynamic phenomena are prevalent. Overheating is the main limiting factor for the miniaturization and efficiency of electronic devices, and in order to maximize efficiency and predict whether a device will work - or simply melt - it is crucial to have the right model.

The results obtained by EPFL's team are timely. From the 1960s until recently, hydrodynamic heat phenomena had only been observed at cryogenic temperatures (around -260oC) and were therefore thought to be irrelevant for everyday applications. Already in 2015 Marzari and his colleagues predicted that this would be very different in two-dimensional and layered materials - a prediction that was confirmed with the publication in Science of pioneering experiments that found second-sound (or wavelike heat propagation) in graphite at temperatures around -170oC.

The formulation presented by the EPFL researchers yields results that line up closely with those experiments. Most important, they also predict that hydrodynamic heat propagation can also happen at room temperature, depending on the size and type of material.

Through their work, the EPFL researchers are providing new and original insight into heat transport, but also laying the groundwork for an understanding of shape and size effects - not only in next-generation electronic devices but also in "phononic" devices that control cooling and heating through engineered superstructures. Finally, the novel formulation can also be adapted to describe viscous phenomena involving electrons discovered in 2016 by Philip Moll, now a professor at EPFL's Institute of Materials.

Tags:  Andrea Cepellotti  Electronics  EPFL  Graphene  Michele Simoncelli  Nicola Marzari  Philip Moll  photonics 

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Nanotech SME and University of Sussex team up with Walmart to reduce retail waste

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Nanomaterial specialists Advanced Material Development (AMD) and researchers from the University of Sussex Business School have teamed up with Walmart to examine and develop the impact of bringing an innovative solution into retail supply chains, significantly reducing metal waste.

The project will be funded via a grant from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the National Productivity Investment Fund. It follows the recent £8 million ESRC investment into the Digital Futures at Work Research Centre.

The funded project will examine the employment consequences of the development, adoption and implementation of new environmentally friendly digital technologies; in this case Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags in the retail sector. Material scientist Professor Alan Dalton and his team have created an alternative to the traditional metal tags on clothing and food by developing antennas based on graphene inks.

John Lee, CEO of AMD, said: “Our work at Sussex in the field of highly conductive inks has partly been driven by demands from the retail industry searching for a sustainable solution in the replacement of metal content in RFID antennas. We are continuing to improve our technology for our partners in this space, with a possible large-scale print trial this year. The opportunity to work with a company with the global impact and sustainability reputation of Walmart is a substantial boost for us, and testament to the potential value of this innovation.”

AMD has recently announced a £1.5m equity funding round as the company further extends its nano-material research and development operations. It will also support its government and industry partnerships in Europe and the US. The business has now incorporated in the United States and formed an office presence in the Washington metropolitan area.

“This is a key development in the AMD business plan,” said John Lee. “The U.S. effort has been the key thrust for our business in the last year and our success to date is notable. Our partners have urged us to establish a local presence and we now see this to be just the start of a huge growth opportunity for the company.”

Professor Alan Dalton from the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex said: “The nanotech ink we create in our lab has loads of important, sustainable applications. We’re excited that our world-leading research has paved the way for Walmart and other retailers to bin metal-dependent tags and replace them with our much more eco-friendly answer. There’s no need now for the old-fashioned supermarket tags of the past to populate landfill sites.”

As part of the project, social sciences and management studies academics will examine the learning process from product development to implementation and its impact on labour requirements and productivity. The global RFID market was estimated to be worth US$11bn in 2018, and is predicted to increase to US$13.4bn by 2022.

Professor Jackie O’Reilly, Co-Director for the new Digital Futures at Work Research Centre (digit-research.org), said: “This is a fantastically exciting project. It is a unique opportunity to work with brilliant physics researchers to understand their world and what they create; to understand how these hard science ideas are exported into the business world; and to understand how these decisions affect the way work is constructed and what kinds of jobs people get as a result of major companies adopting these new technologies."

Tags:  Advanced Material Development  Alan Dalton  Graphene  Jackie O’Reilly  John Lee  nanomaterials  RFID  University of Sussex 

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First Graphene signs exclusive supply agreement with Steel Blue

Posted By Graphene Council, Wednesday, February 12, 2020
First Graphene Ltd, the leading global producer of advanced graphene products, has signed an exclusive supply agreement with Steel Blue, a major global manufacturer of work boots. Under the supply agreement, Steel Blue will exclusively source graphene and any other graphite or graphene products from First Graphene over a 2-year term.

First Graphene recently partnered with Steel Blue to develop an effective manufacturing process, with graphene being incorporated successfully into thermoplastic polyurethane masterbatches, used for the production of the soles and other components of safety boots. This work was followed by wear trials and independent product testing by Viclab Pty Ltd, one of Australia’s leading NATA accredited testing facilities. The results showed an increase in abrasion and tensile strength, potentially leading to extended product life, plus enhanced heat transfer and reduction in weight.

First Graphene’s Managing Director, Craig McGuckin, explains that, “The new supply agreement highlights the confidence that Steel Blue has in our PureGRAPH® materials and in our ability to deliver large volumes of graphene over an extended period. PureGRAPH® has the ability to help our customers throughout industry transform the characteristics of existing products and materials. For example, PureGRAPH® additives are a key enabler in taking elastomers, composites, coatings and concrete to new levels of performance and we’re actively working with customers in these sectors. As a result, we anticipate that the supply agreement with Steel Blue will be the first in a growing number to be signed during 2020.”

Chief Executive Officer, at Steel Blue, Garry Johnson, commented, “Steel Blue is committed to developing innovative solutions for our customers. We’re excited by the innovations we have developed with First Graphene. We look forward to bringing exciting new safety technologies to the global work boot market.”

Tags:  Craig McGuckin  First Graphene  Garry Johnson  Graphene  Graphite  Steel Blue  Viclab Pty Ltd 

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NUST MISIS: New Graphene-Based Material to Extend Life of Storage Devices

Posted By Graphene Council, Tuesday, February 11, 2020
International group of Russian and Japanese scientists developed a material that will significantly increase the recording density in data storage devices, such as SSDs and flash drives. Among the main advantages of the material is the absence of rewrite limit, which will allow implementing new devices for Big Data processes. The article on the research is published in Advanced Materials.

The development of compact and reliable memory devices is an increasing need. Today, traditional devices are devices in which information is transferred through electric current. The simplest example is a flash card or SSD. At the same time, users inevitably encounter problems: the file may not be recorded correctly, the computer may stop "seeing" the flash drive, and to record a large amount of information, rather massive devices are required.

A promising alternative to electronics is spintronics. In spintronics, devices operate on the principle of magnetoresistance: there are three layers, the first and third of which are ferromagnetic, and the middle one is nonmagnetic. Passing through such a "sandwich" structure, electrons, depending on their spin, are scattered differently in the magnetized edge layers, which affects the resulting resistance of the device. The control the information using the standard logical bits, 0 and 1, can be performed by detecting an increase or decrease in this resistance.

International group of scientists from National University of Science and Technology MISIS (Russia) and National Institute for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology (Japan) developed a material that can significantly increase the capacity of magnetic memory by increasing the recording density. The scientists used a combination of graphene and the semi-metallic Heusler alloy Co2FeGaGe.

"Japanese colleagues for the first time grew a single-atom layer of graphene on a layer of semi-metallic ferromagnetic material and measured its properties. The Japanese team, led by Dr. Seiji Sakai, conducts unique experiments, while our group is engaged in a theoretical description of the data obtained. Our teams have been working together for many years and have obtained a number of important results," comments Pavel Sorokin, Sc.D. in Physics and Mathematics, head of the "Theoretical Materials Science of Nanostructures" infrastructure project at the NUST MISIS Laboratory of Inorganic Nanomaterials.

Previously, graphene was not used in magnetic memory devices as carbon atoms reacted with the magnetic layer, which led to changes in its properties. By careful selection of the Heusler alloy composition, as well as the methods of its application, it was possible to create a thinner sample compared to previous analogues. This, in turn, will significantly increase the capacity of magnetic memory devices without increasing their physical size. Next, scientists plan to scale the experimental sample and modify the structure.

Tags:  Electronics  Graphene  nanomaterials  NUST MISIS  Pavel Sorokin  Seiji Sakai 

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Zen Graphene Solutions Announces Grand Opening of Guelph Facility for Graphene Materials Production and Development

Posted By Graphene Council, Saturday, February 8, 2020
ZEN Graphene Solutions is pleased to announce the grand opening of its Guelph facility on March 3, 2020. The facility will be used for small scale pilot plant production to produce future Albany Pure TM graphene products as well as further research and development work. All shareholders and interested parties are invited to attend. The Guelph facility is located at 24 Corporate Court, Guelph, Ontario. The opening will start at 1pm with an opportunity to meet with management, look at the lab facilities and attend a formal presentation at 3pm.

The company is currently sourcing and purchasing the necessary equipment to build a small-scale graphite purification pilot plant that will produce 99.8% high-purity graphite from the flotation concentrate (86%). James Jordan, P.Eng., has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer and will be leading the work at the facility.

"This new facility will move the Company towards the production and sale of Albany Pure TM graphene products and introduce our high-quality nanomaterials to the market. Albany Pure TM will be our marketing seal to identify that all our products are sourced from the Albany deposit. We look forward to bringing our nanomaterials including Graphene Quantum Dots, Graphene Oxide, reduced Graphene Oxide and Graphene to the market." Stated Francis Dubé, CEO.

As the Company moves forward towards graphene production and applications development, ZEN is pleased to announce that Colin van der Kuur has been appointed as Head of Research for ZEN, and Monique Manaigre has been appointed as Senior Government Relations and Account Manager for ZEN.

On May 8, 2019, ZEN was awarded a $1,000,000 grant that has allowed the Company to accelerate its graphene-enhanced concrete research and development project. To date, the Company has received a total of $465,000 in reimbursement payments related to this grant as ZEN continues its research into graphite purification, graphene production research, concrete additive research and large-scale graphene-enhanced concrete testing.

Shares for Debt Settlement
ZEN announces the issuance of shares in connection with its previously announced shares for debt agreement with Alphabet Creative. The Company issued 47,222 common shares at a deemed price of $0.36 per common share in settlement of a debt of $17,000 owed by the Company. The common shares issued in connection with the shares for debt agreement will be subject to a hold period until May 1, 2020 in accordance with applicable securities laws.

Issuance of Broker Warrants
Further to the Company's previously announced closing of its private placement of flow-through common shares, an aggregate amount of $54,840 in finders' fees as well as an aggregate amount of 137,100 broker warrants were paid to certain brokers in connection to the offering. These broker warrants expire on December 19, 2021 and have an exercise price of $0.50 per warrant share.

Tags:  Colin van der Kuur  Francis Dubé  Graphene  James Jordan  nanomaterials  ZEN Graphene Solutions 

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Engineers mix and match materials to make new stretchy electronics

Posted By Graphene Council, Saturday, February 8, 2020
At the heart of any electronic device is a cold, hard computer chip, covered in a miniature city of transistors and other semiconducting elements. Because computer chips are rigid, the electronic devices that they power, such as our smartphones, laptops, watches, and televisions, are similarly inflexible.

Now a process developed by MIT engineers may be the key to manufacturing flexible electronics with multiple functionalities in a cost-effective way.

The process is called  “remote epitaxy” and involves growing thin films of semiconducting material on a large, thick wafer of the same material, which is covered in an intermediate layer of graphene. Once the researchers grow a semiconducting film, they can peel it away from the graphene-covered wafer and then reuse the wafer, which itself can be expensive depending on the type of material it’s made from. In this way, the team can copy and peel away any number of thin, flexible semiconducting films, using the same underlying wafer.

In a paper published today in the journal Nature, the researchers demonstrate that they can use remote epitaxy to produce freestanding films of any functional material. More importantly, they can stack films made from these different materials, to produce flexible, multifunctional electronic devices.

The researchers expect that the process could be used to produce stretchy electronic films for a wide variety of uses, including virtual reality-enabled contact lenses, solar-powered skins that mold to the contours of your car, electronic fabrics that respond to the weather, and other flexible electronics that seemed until now to be the stuff of Marvel movies.

“You can use this technique to mix and match any semiconducting material to have new device functionality, in one flexible chip,” says Jeehwan Kim, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT. “You can make electronics in any shape.”

Buying time

Kim and his colleagues reported their first results using remote epitaxy in 2017. Then, they were able to produce thin, flexible films of semiconducting material by first placing a layer of graphene on a thick, expensive wafer made from a combination of exotic metals. They flowed atoms of each metal over the graphene-covered wafer and found the atoms formed a film on top of the graphene, in the same crystal pattern as the underlying wafer. The graphene provided a nonstick surface from which the researchers could peel away the new film, leaving the graphene-covered wafer, which they could reuse. 

In 2018, the team showed that they could use remote epitaxy to make semiconducting materials from metals in groups 3 and 5 of the periodic table, but not from group 4. The reason, they found, boiled down to polarity, or the respective charges between the atoms flowing over graphene and the atoms in the underlying wafer.

Since this realization, Kim and his colleagues have tried a number of increasingly exotic semiconducting combinations. As reported in this new paper, the team used remote epitaxy to make flexible semiconducting films from complex oxides — chemical compounds made from oxygen and at least two other elements. Complex oxides are known to have a wide range of electrical and magnetic properties, and some combinations can generate a current when physically stretched or exposed to a magnetic field.

Kim says the ability to manufacture flexible films of complex oxides could open the door to new energy-havesting devices, such as sheets or coverings that stretch in response to vibrations and produce electricity as a result. Until now, complex oxide materials have only been manufactured on rigid, millimeter-thick wafers, with limited flexibility and therefore limited energy-generating potential.

The researchers did have to tweak their process to make complex oxide films. They initially found that when they tried to make a complex oxide such as strontium titanate (a compound of strontium, titanium, and three oxygen atoms), the oxygen atoms that they flowed over the graphene tended to bind with the graphene’s carbon atoms, etching away bits of graphene instead of following the underlying wafer’s pattern and binding with strontium and titanium. As a surprisingly simple fix, the researchers added a second layer of graphene.

“We saw that by the time the first layer of graphene is etched off, oxide compounds have already formed, so elemental oxygen, once it forms these desired compounds, does not interact as heavily with graphene,” Kim explains. “So two layers of graphene buys some time for this compound to form.”

Peel and stack

The team used their newly tweaked process to make films from multiple complex oxide materials, peeling off each 100-nanometer-thin layer as it was made. They were also able to stack together layers of different complex oxide materials and effectively glue them together by heating them slightly, producing a flexible, multifunctional device.

“This is the first demonstration of stacking multiple nanometers-thin membranes like LEGO blocks, which has been impossible because all functional electronic materials exist in a thick wafer form,” Kim says.

In one experiment, the team stacked together films of two different complex oxides: cobalt ferrite, known to expand in the presence of a magnetic field, and PMN-PT, a material that generates voltage when stretched. When the researchers exposed the multilayer film to a magnetic field, the two layers worked together to both expand and produce a small electric current. 

The results demonstrate that remote epitaxy can be used to make flexible electronics from a combination of materials with different functionalities, which previously were difficult to combine into one device. In the case of cobalt ferrite and PMN-PT, each material has a different crystalline pattern. Kim says that traditional epitaxy techniques, which grow materials at high temperatures on one wafer, can only combine materials if their crystalline patterns match. He says that with remote epitaxy, researchers can make any number of different films, using different, reusable wafers, and then stack them together, regardless of their crystalline pattern.

“The big picture of this work is, you can combine totally different materials in one place together,” Kim says. “Now you can imagine a thin, flexible device made from layers that include a sensor, computing system, a battery, a solar cell, so you could have a flexible, self-powering, internet-of-things stacked chip.”

The team is exploring various combinations of semiconducting films and is working on developing prototype devices, such as something Kim is calling an “electronic tattoo” — a flexible, transparent chip that can attach and conform to a person’s body to sense and wirelessly relay vital signs such as temperature and pulse. “We can now make thin, flexible, wearable electronics with the highest functionality,” Kim says. “Just peel off and stack up.”

Tags:  Electronics  Graphene  Jeehwan Kim  MIT  Semiconductor 

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Crystal-stacking process can produce new materials for high-tech devices

Posted By Graphene Council, Saturday, February 8, 2020
The magnetic, conductive and optical properties of complex oxides make them key to components of next-generation electronics used for data storage, sensing, energy technologies, biomedical devices and many other applications.

Stacking ultrathin complex oxide single-crystal layers -- those composed of geometrically arranged atoms -- allows researchers to create new structures with hybrid properties and multiple functions. Now, using a new platform developed by engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researchers will be able to make these stacked-crystal materials in virtually unlimited combinations.

Epitaxy is the process for depositing one material on top of another in an orderly way. The researchers' new layering method overcomes a major challenge in conventional epitaxy -- that each new complex oxide layer must be closely compatible with the atomic structure of the underlying layer. It's sort of like stacking Lego blocks: The holes on the bottom of one block must align with the raised dots atop the other. If there's a mismatch, the blocks won't fit together properly.

"The advantage of the conventional method is that you can grow a perfect single crystal on top of a substrate, but you have a limitation," says Chang-Beom Eom, a UW-Madison professor of materials science and engineering and physics. "When you grow the next material, your structure has to be the same and your atomic spacing must be similar. That's a constraint, and beyond that constraint, it doesn't grow well."

A couple of years ago, a team of MIT researchers developed an alternate approach. Led by Jeehwan Kim, an associate professor in mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering at MIT, the group added an ultrathin intermediate layer of a unique carbon material called graphene, then used epitaxy to grow a thin semiconducting material layer atop that. Just one molecule thick, the graphene acts like a peel-away backing due to its weak bonding. The researchers could remove the semiconductor layer from the graphene. What remained was a freestanding ultrathin sheet of semiconducting material.

Eom, an expert in complex oxide materials, says they are intriguing because they have a wide range of tunable properties -- including multiple properties in one material -- that many other materials do not. So, it made sense to apply the peel-away technique to complex oxides, which are much more challenging to grow and integrate.

"If you have this kind of cut-and-paste growth and removal, combined with the different functionality of putting single-crystal oxide materials together, you have a tremendous possibility for making devices and doing science," says Eom, who connected with mechanical engineers at MIT during a sabbatical there in 2014.

The Eom and Kim research groups combined their expertise to create ultrathin complex oxide single-crystal layers, again using graphene as the peel-away intermediate. More importantly, however, they conquered a previously insurmountable obstacle -- the difference in crystal structure -- in integrating different complex oxide materials.

"Magnetic materials have one crystal structure, while piezoelectric materials have another," says Eom. "So you cannot grow them on top of each other. When you try to grow them, it just becomes messy. Now we can grow the layers separately, peel them off, and integrate them."

In its research, the team demonstrated the efficacy of the technique using materials such as perovskite, spinel and garnet, among several others. They also can stack single complex oxide materials and semiconductors.

"This opens up the possibility for the study of new science, which has never been possible in the past because we could not grow it," says Eom. "Stacking these was impossible, but now it is possible to imagine infinite combinations of materials. Now we can put them together."

The advance also opens doors to new materials with functionalities that drive future technologies. "This advance, which would have been impossible using conventional thin film growth techniques, clears the way for nearly limitless possibilities in materials design," says Evan Runnerstrom, program manager in materials design in the Army Research Office, which funded part of the research. "The ability to create perfect interfaces while coupling disparate classes of complex materials may enable entirely new behaviors and tunable properties, which could potentially be leveraged for new Army capabilities in communications, reconfigurable sensors, low power electronics, and quantum information science."

Tags:  Chang-Beom Eom  Evan Runnerstrom  Graphene  Jeehwan Kim  Massachusetts Institute of Technology  Semiconductor  U.S. Army Research Office  University of Wisconsin-Madison 

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AGM to present at international coatings conferences

Posted By Graphene Council, Saturday, February 8, 2020

Applied Graphene Materials, the specialty producer of graphene materials, announces that the Company will present to the global paints and coatings industry at five international conferences this spring.

Over the last 12 months, the Company has seen several customer coatings containing AGM’s graphene dispersion technology reach the consumer market, including Halfords’ graphene-enhanced primer and James Briggs’ Hycote graphene anti-corrosion primer. The Company continues in its commitment to developing customer engagement in the coatings sector by presenting the performance data supporting the application of its proprietary market-leading graphene enhanced coatings technology.

AGM has developed a robust high-volume synthesis production technology for graphene nanoplatelets (A-GNPs). A-GNPs possess unique characteristics that are then tailored into a range of commercial production ready dispersions (Genable® range), which deliver outstanding enhancements to anti-corrosion and general barrier performance, while providing opportunities to further optimise other coating characteristics.

AGM will take part in five leading international industry events, presenting selected
technology papers at the following:

  • Corrosion 2020, based in Houston, Texas (15-19 March 2020)
  • The American Coatings Show, based in Indianapolis (30 March – 02 April 2020)
  • Eurocoat, based in Paris (31 March – 02 April 2020)
  • Paint Expo, based in Karlsruhe, Germany (21-24 April 2020)
  • Surfex, based in Coventry (02-03 June 2020)

Tags:  Applied Graphene Materials  Coatings  Corrosion  Graphene  Halfords  James Briggs  Paint 

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Blue sky inking: How nanomaterials could lower retail waste and speed up the stock take

Posted By Graphene Council, Thursday, February 6, 2020
As part of the new £8 million ESRC investment in Digital Futures at Work Research Centre, University of Sussex academics and an innovative SME have teamed up with the world's largest retail company to understand how quantum digital technology could revolutionise employment in the retail sector and significantly reduce metal waste.

University academics and Advanced Material Development (AMD) are working with Quantum Physics researchers, sociologists at the University of Sussex Business School digit centre and Walmart to understand how more environmentally-friendly radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are developed, implemented and affect employment in the retail sector.

Materials scientist Professor Alan Dalton and his team have created an alternative to metal tags on clothing and food by developing antennas based on graphene inks which can be printed onto paper creating a sustainable solution to an essential part of the retail supply chain.

As part of the project, social sciences and management studies academics from the Digit Centre at the University of Sussex Business School will examine the learning process from product development to implementation and its impact on labour requirements and productivity.

Professor Alan Dalton from the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Sussex said: "The nanotech ink we create in our lab has loads of important, sustainable applications.

"We're excited that our world-leading research has paved the way for Walmart and other retailers to bin metal-dependent tags and replace them with our much more eco-friendly answer.

"There's no need now for the old fashioned supermarket tags of the past to populate landfill sites." The global RFID market was estimated to be worth US$11bn in 2018, and is predicted to increase to US$13.4bn by 2022.

Graphene-based nanomaterial inks, where the individual components are invisible to the human eye, have been developed as coatings which could replace metals in RFID systems and which can be applied to a range of surfaces using commercial printing techniques such as ink-jet, screen and flexographic.

The capability of the inks are also being expanded through the application of a quantum microscope - developed and constructed by the Sussex Programme for Quantum Research.

John Lee, CEO of AMD, said: "Our work at Sussex in the field of highly conductive inks has partly been driven by demands from the retail industry searching for a sustainable solution in the replacement of metal content in RFID antennas.

"We are continuing to improve our technology for our partners in this space, with a possible large scale print trial this year, and the opportunity to work with a company with the global impact and sustainability reputation of Walmart is a substantial boost and support of the need for us."

AMD has recently announced a £1.5m equity funding round as the company further extends its nanomaterial research and development operations. It will also support its government and industry partnerships in Europe and the US.

Professor Jackie O'Reilly, Co-Director for the new Digital Futures at Work Research Centre at the University of Sussex Business School, said: "The potential for this technology is huge.

"Implementation of RFID systems can transform supply chain efficiencies for large companies with complex supplier bases and can significantly reduce inventory count time from hundreds to a handful of hours.

"While this is hugely beneficial for companies, there is clearly the potential for huge consequences on employment rates, worker satisfaction and wellbeing that need to be adequately investigated.

"This is a unique opportunity to work with brilliant physics researchers to understand their world and what they create; to understand how these hard core science ideas are exported into the business world; and to understand how these?decisions?affect the way work is constructed and what kinds of jobs people get as a result of major companies adopting these new technologies."

Tags:  Advanced Material Development  Alan Dalton  biomaterials  Graphene  John Lee  nanomaterials  RFID  University of Sussex 

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