Graphene Flagship pioneers two new IEC standards to characterise graphene
The Graphene Flagship Standardisation Committee pioneered the creation of two new IEC standards in the characterisation of graphene, fundamental to accelerate technology transfer. The new specifications will promote the adoption of graphene and layered materials within key European industrial sectors.
The Graphene Flagship’s ultimate goal is commercialising graphene-enabled products, spearheading materials innovation in Europe. Now, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has approved two technical specifications that will catalyse technology transfer, enabling better quality control of graphene samples through state-of-the-art measurement techniques. These new recommendations were pioneered by the Graphene Flagship Standardisation Committee, and Graphene Flagship experts in France, Germany and the UK. Standardised methods for the characterisation of graphene will lead to robust value networks in industry.
The IEC is a worldwide organization for standardisation, highly regarded in the electrical and electronic industries. Their decisions and recommendations reflect international consensus – and the new technical specification on graphene showcase the growing interest for this material. Through different approved laboratory techniques, the IEC is promoting better solutions to characterise graphene and layered materials, ensuring excellent reliability in terms of quality, functionality and performance.
One of the new IEC specifications focuses on Raman spectroscopy, one of the most widely used techniques to characterise graphene and other carbon-based materials. Graphene yields very characteristic peaks in Raman spectra – like a unique fingerprint of the material. These experiments offer valuable information about the graphene samples, including the number of layers, the materials’ defects and the concentration of ‘doping’ agents, often used to tailor the properties of this two-dimensional substance. It’s important to determine these parameters to assess the quality of the material and its suitability for different applications. The proposal, drafted by Graphene Flagship experts at the Cambridge Graphene Centre, UK, describes the evaluation of defect density in monolayer graphene, which directly affects properties like conductivity. Anna Ott, now based at Institute Saint-Louis, France, led the project and pursued it to publication.
The second technical specification approved by IEC focuses on characterisation of graphene and related materials using the Eddy current method. This technology uses electromagnetic fields to assess the materials’ resistance, contactless and with high throughput. The small currents in the graphene layers help measure the effects induced and calculate the resistance. One of the advantages of this method is its applicability to large areas of graphene, even when deposited on non-conductive substrates, thus enabling quality control in industrial settings. The current IEC standard will work with surfaces of up to five square centimetres; soon other strategies will follow to facilitate the characterisation of bigger graphene-based devices, like wafers. The establishment of this standard was pioneered by Marcus Klein, managing director of Graphene Flagship Associated Member SUGARUS GmbH, in Germany.
Standards in graphene and layered materials will lower the barriers towards innovation, industrialisation and, eventually, commercialisation. The Graphene Flagship Standardisation Committee works towards establishing consensus-based international standards, such as these two IEC specifications, in the field of graphene and related materials.
Thurid Gspann, the Chair of the Graphene Flagship Standardisation Committee, says: “These two IEC specifications contribute to the long-term goal of our Committee and our Graphene Flagship project. The new pieces in the puzzle will surely stimulate innovation, providing industries in Europe and across the world with guaranteed, standardised procedures to assess the quality of graphene sheets, using reliable and reproducible techniques like Raman spectroscopy and the Eddy current method.”
To highlight the value of these contributions, the Graphene Flagship Standardisation Committee has awarded Anna Ott and Markus Klein with Standardisation Certificates. “We want to acknowledge these valuable contributions to the field, since standardisation is tremendously important to accelerate market penetration of graphene-enabled products.”
Kari Hjelt, Head of Innovation of the Graphene Flagship, adds: “I’m thrilled to see the successes of our Graphene Flagship Standardisation Committee, they’re truly pushing commercialisation through the establishment of key standards, specifications and recommendations that will guarantee industrial uptake. Furthermore, the IEC recognitions showcase the international importance of our project; the Graphene Flagship has become a pioneer and a leader in the field of graphene and layered materials, successfully establishing Europe at the forefront of innovation.”