Top Ten Graphene Flagship News Stories of 2020
Although 2020 has been a tumultuous year for many, the Graphene Flagship has remained as committed as ever to their goal of fostering research, innovation and collaboration in Europe. Even through hard times, Graphene Flagship scientists still achieve excellent results, with great progress on many different fronts.
Here, we will take a look at some of our most popular news stories from 2020 that showcase exciting developments using graphene and layered materials, enabled by the Graphene Flagship.
Graphene is a unique material with great potential for the long-distance transportation of spin information. Now, researchers at Graphene Flagship partners ICN2 and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain, and the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, have achieved efficient spin-to-charge interconversion in graphene and graphene-based heterostructures at room temperature, and devised a way to make this process tuneable using an external electric field. The findings could allow scientists to use layered heterostructures for ultra-compact, low-power consumption magnetic memory devices.
Lilei Ye is the Business Developer for electronics applications at the Graphene Flagship. She has more than 10 years of experience developing carbon-based materials for electronics. Lilei has been involved in technical project management interfacing between academia and industry with business development, product development and technology transfer. She offers her thoughts on the current state of graphene for applications in the field of electronics.
Graphene Flagship researchers successfully combined graphene with tandem perovskite-silicon solar cells to achieve efficiencies of up to 26.3%. Moreover, they envisioned a new manufacturing method that, thanks to the versatility of graphene, can reduce production costs and could lead to the production of large-area solar panels. Graphene-based tandem solar cells almost double the efficiency of pure silicon.
Researchers at Graphene Flagship partners Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, CIC EnergiGUNE and INCAR-CSIC, Spain, have produced rechargeable batteries and energy storage devices made of a non-toxic and environmentally friendly graphene-based material. With current metal-ion batteries reaching their theoretical limitations in terms of cycle life, capacity and power, researchers focused on metal-air alternatives, such as sodium-air (Na-O2) batteries. Equipped with sodium anodes and oxygen-trapping cathodes, these devices have interesting and unique rechargeable capabilities – especially when they incorporate graphene.
We interviewed Nathan Feddy, our business developer for composites applications for the Graphene Flagship. Feddy has worked with several high-profile companies to incorporate graphene into their composite materials and products, looking to provide multi-faceted performance improvements and additional enhancements. In this article, he offers his thoughts on the current state of graphene in composites applications.
Amorphous boron nitride shows excellent insulating properties for the next generation of electronics, as demonstrated in a collaborative study by Samsung, UNIST (Korea) and the Graphene Flagship. The team developed ultrathin boron nitride films for new electronics with extremely low dielectric characteristics, high breakdown voltage and superior metal barrier properties. This newly fabricated material has great potential as an interconnect insulator in the next generation of electronic circuits.
Silicon-based lithium-ion batteries could soon become the new standard. However, silicon has serious swelling problems that hinders progress towards commercial devices. A multidisciplinary team of Graphene Flagship researchers at VARTA Micro Innovation GmbH, Austria, and BeDimensional and Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), Italy, have identified how to use graphene as a key ingredient to overcome these obstacles in a practical application. These newly developed graphene-enabled batteries withstand over 300 cycles and have capacities that are 30% higher than any currently available alternative.
Connecting the global community of women working in the field of graphene and layered materials, the Graphene Flagship hosted its first ever digital Women in Graphene conference on 18 and 19 March 2020. The event looked to tackle the gender gap in the graphene and wider science field. Through a range of seminars and workshops, the Graphene Flagship's two-session event challenged gender bias by connecting women working in the scientific field, promoting gender diversity and providing a support network for professional growth.
A new €20M project funded by the European Commission aims to gather European expertise across the value chain to bring graphene and related materials to market. The 2D Experimental Pilot Line (2D-EPL) is a collaborative project that will pioneer the manufacture of new prototype electronics, photonics and sensors integrating GRMs, and offer prototyping services to companies, research centres and academics to develop their innovative technologies based on 2D materials in an established processing platform.
The Graphene Flagship published the handbook of graphene manufacturing, a comprehensive review article that encompasses methods for producing and processing graphene and up to 5,000 innovative layered materials. The publication is completely open access and aims to provide a single source of knowledge on graphene and related layered materials (GRMs).