In total, 88 delegates from 22 countries participated in this dynamic workshop, representing research institutes, university research centres, large companies and SMEs. Challenges in graphene integration and applications of new materials were discussed in depth by a varied range of speakers including graphene researchers and producers. Four lively parallel discussion and networking sessions on scaling up production, challenges in graphene transfer, layered materials beyond graphene and new types of devices gave all participants the opportunity to make the most of the combined expertise of academic and industrial research.
The Graphene Connect events are invaluable in enabling researchers working with graphene and related materials (GRMs) to interact with potential end users and determine the criteria and specifications necessary for adoption in new technologies. To take advantage of the unique advantages of GRMs, the specific applications must be considered to develop tailored processing methods. Within the inspiring setting of Athens and Graphene Week, Graphene Connect offered an excellent opportunity for focused group discussions on tackling challenges on the road to exciting new technologies.
Ken Teo (AIXTRON, UK) outlined the possible methods for depositing graphene films and possible integration schemes for electronic devices. Teo is the leader of the Production Work Packages in the Graphene Flagship, focused on enabling large-scale commercial production of graphene-related technologies. AIXTRON provide solutions for scale-up of wafer integration with new materials such as graphene. “Both at AIXTRON and in the Graphene Flagship, we are tackling issues such as uniformity, reproducibility, particles, contamination and automation which will ultimately allow us to improve yield which will lead to economically viable electronic products utilising graphene,” said Teo. Teo’s talk outlined the potential ways companies might offer graphene-based integration to end-users and highlighted the needs of in-situ monitoring during growth.
Stephan Roche (ICN2, Spain), Deputy of the Flagship’s Spintronics Work Package, believes that graphene and related materials have strong roles to play in future computing technologies. “Graphene exhibits unique electronic properties and its interfacing with many other materials has been shown to allow for unprecedented spin manipulation possibilities,” said Roche, stressing that these proximity effects could lead to fast and efficient memory and processors.
The collaborative nature of the Graphene Flagship project means that advances in graphene spintronics will come through synergy of experimental and theoretical research. “Graphene Connect is an opportunity for companies to get clear messages about the progress of the Flagship and graphene-based technologies towards industrial innovation,” he added.
Graphenea (Spain) have been highly successful in turning graphene into a profitable business opportunity. Their status as top graphene producers in films, flakes and powders, and inks is underpinned by strong research into the material. Amaia Zurutuza (Graphenea) commented that merely scaling production is not enough – for graphene, the different integration scenarios must be considered in order to deliver an optimal product.
Zurutuza found the wide-ranging nature of the discussions a benefit of the Graphene Connect workshop. “There were participants from different industries and covering various aspects related to graphene, starting from material producers and up to end users. The discussion covered many aspects ranging from identifying the business potential of graphene in different fields, to performance improvement, pricing, standards (consistent source of material) and even discussing about graphene related investments in other countries.”
Innovation is about bridging the gap between laboratory research and commercialised output. Understanding the needs of the markets and the competitive landscape is crucial to successful technology transfer. Through the series of Graphene Connect workshops, the Graphene Flagship provides a targeted forum for in-depth discussions with key industry focus, ensuring cooperation and collaboration between academic and industrial research.