The European roadmap for graphene science and technology
Europe’s Graphene Flagship lays out a science and technology roadmap, targeting research areas designed to take graphene and related 2d materials from academic laboratories into society.
In October 2013, academia and industry came together to form the Graphene Flagship. Now with 142 partners in 23 countries, and a growing number of associate members, the Graphene Flagship was established following a call from the European Commission to address big science and technology challenges through long-term, multidisciplinary R&D efforts.
In an open-access publication in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Nanoscale, more than 60 academics and industrialists lay out a science and technology roadmap for graphene, related two-dimensional crystals, other 2d materials, and hybrid systems based on a combination of different 2d crystals and other nanomaterials. The roadmap covers the next 10 years and beyond, and its objective is to guide the research community and industry toward the development of products based on graphene and related materials.
“We are very proud of the joint effort of the many authors who have produced this roadmap,” says Jari Kinaret, director of the Graphene Flagship. “The roadmap forms a solid foundation for the graphene community in Europe to plan its activities for the coming years. It is not a static document, but will evolve to reflect progress in the field, and new applications identified and pursued by industry. We are already working on the next edition of the roadmap, to further guide research and innovation.”
Graphene and related materials are expected to revolutionise the fields in which they are applied, and they have the potential to become the materials of the 21st century. They will supplement and at times replace existing substances in a range of applications. Two-dimensional materials shall in some cases be integrated into existing platforms in order to enhance them. For example, graphene could be integrated into silicon photonics, exploiting established technology for constructing integrated circuits.
The roadmap highlights three broad areas of activity. The first task is to identify new layered materials, assess their potential, and develop reliable, reproducible and safe means of producing them on an industrial scale. Identification of new device concepts enabled by 2d materials is also called for, along with the development of component technologies. Our ultimate goal is to integrate components and structures based on 2d materials into systems capable of providing new functionalities and application areas.
Eleven science and technology themes are identified in the roadmap. These are: fundamental science, health and environment, production, electronic devices, spintronics, photonics and optoelectronics, sensors, flexible electronics, energy conversion and storage, composite materials, and biomedical devices. The roadmap addresses each of these areas in turn, with timelines.
Research areas outlined in the roadmap correspond broadly with current flagship work packages, with the addition of a work package devoted to the growing area of biomedical applications, to be included in the next phase of the flagship. We are learning here from experience, and also feedback from expert reviews of our work. A recent independent assessment has confirmed that the Graphene Flagship is firmly on course. With hundreds of research papers, numerous patents and marketable products to its name, the flagship is providing excellent value for money.
Roadmap timelines predict that, before the end of the 10-year period of the flagship, products will be close to market in the areas of flexible electronics, composites, and energy. We also hope to see advanced prototypes of silicon-integrated photonic devices, sensors, high-speed electronics, and biomedical devices.
“This publication concludes a four-year effort to collect and coordinate state-of-the-art science and technology of graphene and related materials,” says Andrea Ferrari, director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre, and chairman of the Executive Board of the Graphene Flagship, who with Francesco Bonaccorso, of the Graphene Labs at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, led the roadmap effort. Professor Ferrari adds: “We hope that this open-access roadmap will serve as the starting point for academia and industry in their efforts to take layered materials and composites from laboratory to market.”
Further reading: Ferrari et al, Science and technology roadmap for graphene, related two-dimensional crystals and hybrid systems, Nanoscale 7, 4598 (2015). DOI: 10.1039/C4NR01600A.