National Graphene Institute reveals first results with industrial partner
The first official experimental results since the National Graphene Institute (NGI) opened in March have been produced. The novel collaboration between industry and academia is exploring the production of graphene in the first stage of a long-term project.
Morgan Advanced Materials joined forces last year with The University of Manchester – where graphene was first isolated a decade ago – to explore the potential of the material, with a full-time team based at the University’s National Graphene Institute (NGI). Morgan is one of the Institute’s first industrial partners.
The project is gathering pace, with early work focusing on scaling up Manchester’s patented technology to produce graphene. This process sees molecules driven between the layers of a graphite electrode to separate them.
The process is radically different from chemical vapour deposition (CVD) methods, which are used to grow individual graphene layers upon a substrate, and generally require high processing temperatures with low throughput.
Advances in this area enable greater flexibility of the process, controlling properties such as flake size and thickness while also allowing the inclusion of other attributes via in-situ functionalisation, to meet precise specifications depending on exact application needs.
Dr Mike Murray, Chief Technology Officer of Morgan Advanced Materials, commented: “With its unique combination of properties – lightweight, chemical inertness, and large surface area - the potential industrial applications of graphene are enormous, but much depends on finding the most viable and cost-effective method of manufacture.
“As a global leader in the development and practical application of proprietary materials, Morgan is ideally placed to lead this process in conjunction with the NGI. We have committed a full-time team to be based at the NGI and are delighted with the results to date, which indicate the very real possibility of manufacturing larger graphene layers, able to be adapted for a range of requirements.”
James Baker, Business Director at the National Graphene Institute, added: “We are already seeing great results from this exciting partnership and collaboration between NGI and Morgan Advanced Materials. This demonstrates the benefits of co-locating industry engineering and academic research teams to accelerate the commercialisation of graphene material and its applications.”
The National Graphene Institute is a £61m research centre for graphene and related 2D materials based at The University of Manchester. At 7,825 square metres, with state-of-the art facilities and equipment, the NGI academics and their industrial partners to work side-by-side on new and exciting applications.