This fall the Graphene Flagship held a series of International Workshops designed to encourage the exchange of experiences, practices and ideas related to current and emerging research topics in graphene and 2D materials between Europe and other countries including the United States, Korea, Japan, Australia and China. Specifically, the workshops attempt to identify research challenges that need to be addressed by the research community, though researchers are often reluctant to present challenges until they have found a solution to them.
Taking advantage of existing networks and connections between the principal investigators within the Graphene Flagship and their international counterparts, workshop chairs invite delegates to attend based on the topics that will be discussed. This year an effort was made to include more young researchers in the workshops.
While the workshops have tended to focus on fundamental graphene research, they have identified a need to address challenges relating to standardization, material validation and other obstacles to industrialization. Several of the workshops agreed to invite industry participants to future editions or to tour companies working with graphene as part of the event. Workshops co-located with graphene conferences were also found to be of value in maximizing the delegates' exposure to graphene information and make the most of the time required to attend.
The Graphene Flagship offers mobility grants to students looking to travel to other countries to learn from their experience or take advantage of research equipment available at other facilities. The US, Korea and Japan also offer mobility grants to their students. To date few students have taken advantage of these opportunities.
The 4th EU-Korea Workshop on Graphene and Related Materials was held on 8-9 September 2018 in San Sebastian, Spain, immediately before Graphene Week 2018, and gathered 22 participants (13 from Korea and 9 from Europe), coming mainly from academic institutions. Several Graphene Flagship work-packages (Enabling Materials, Health and Environment, Electronic Devices, Functional Foams & Coatings, Management, Dissemination) and leading Korean institutions active in GRM research were represented at the meeting which offered a unique opportunity for direct exchanges and the development of new collaborations.
Graphene Flagship Director Jari Kinaret, the EU event chair, presented on the challenges facing the Graphene Flagship and its plans for Core 3, the final phase of the project. He identified large scale production, materials uniformity and toxicity hype as the main obstacles to achieving the Flagship's goal of industrialising graphene.
Sung-Yool Choi, the Korean event chair, introduced the Korean Graphene Society and highlighted the major research institutes and centres involved in GRM research in Korea and some results highlights from nationally funded projects. Choi also presented his research on graphene electrode for OLEDs.
Co-organized by the European Graphene Flagship project and the National Science Foundation (NSF), the EU-US Workshop, was held in San Sebastian, Spain on 13-14 September 2018. For the first time, the workshop was organised as a parallel session of the Graphene Week 2018 conference and gathered over 150 participants.
The workshop provided a platform for discussing the common challenges and opportunities in graphene and 2D materials, allowing delegates to learn about each other's work and to further the strong tradition of collaboration between the US and the European Union.
The event was organised as an open technical forum bringing together leading researchers from the US and Europe to discuss cutting-edge research in 2D materials, their heterostructures and devices based on these materials.
Standardisation of materials produced by different techniques (and suppliers) was identified as a common challenge to both countries' advance towards the industrialisation of graphene and other 2D materials-based products and technologies. Collaboration in setting common and accepted standards across the Atlantic and even worldwide is important. Therefore, establishing measurement methodologies as a tool for industry is an area where there are real opportunities to foster collaboration between the Flagship's efforts in standardization and the US National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST).
The 1st Australia-EU workshop on graphene and related materials was held on 17 October 2018 and 18-19 October 2018 in Adelaide and Sydney respectively. The unique format of this workshop, splitting the time between two cities and including technical visits and tours allowed the EU delegates to get a much broader view of the Australian research and development. The first day in Adelaide included visits to the ARC Research Hub for Graphene Enabled Industry Transformation Labs, Adelaide University's 3D printing lab and Silanna, a local semiconductor company, as well as technical sessions covering bulk GRM preparation, coatings and composites. The second day at CSIRO Eveleigh in Sydney included technical sessions covering 2D materials fundamentals, energy storage and an industrial forum featuring 10 Australian companies commercialising GRM and their applications. The final day comprised technical sessions covering bio, CVD graphene and membranes/filters as well as a collaboration session. A CSIRO Lindfield tour followed, showcasing their graphene lab, superconductor device lab, sensor lab and Nobel prize winning LIGO lab. Ten EU delegates and 38 Australian delegates were in attendance featuring a good mix of industry and academic participants.
In addition to the more popular GRM applications such as coatings, composites and inks, discussions revealed that in Australia, GRMs are finding novel applications for agriculture, large area sensing and water purification which the Graphene Flagship does not currently work on. The Flagship, however, could contribute to their work by producing the GRM for these applications and by testing its material for these new applications.
Australia and the EU are already engaged in graphene work together. The Australian company, First Graphene Ltd, is collaborating with University of Manchester, and Talga Resources is collaborating with Cambridge Graphene Center. The possibility of greater collaboration is currently being explored directly between the participants.
The 3rd Japan-EU Flagship Workshop on Graphene and Related 2D Materials was held at the Nano-Spin Building, Research Institute of Electrical Communication, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan on 9-11 November 2018. The workshop gathered 46 participants (28 from Japan and 18 from Europe), coming mainly from academic and research institutions.
The local organizer, Taiichi Otsuji, and the main EU representative Stephan Roche designed the workshop program so as to maximize possible interaction between Japanese and EU attendees by selecting topics of mutual interest and well positioned representatives on both sides (although efforts were made to bring more young researchers compared to the two previous editions). The sessions were divided by topic: Fundamentals, Growth and Devices (including applications). Otsuji's presentation on the generation of THz radiation using graphene plasmonics was noted as a highlight among the talks.
Beyond the existing collaboration between European and Japanese researchers, stimulating discussions between participants has been key to opening novel possibilities for future collaboration in the field of material growth and device integration, as well as certain types of applications such as biosensing. At least five different Japanese-European groups plan to start new collaborations.
The 2nd Graphene Flagship EU-China Workshop on Graphene and related 2D materials was held on 7-8 December 2018 at Hotel Pullman Dresden Newa, Dresden, Germany, bringing together 34 participants (16 from China and 18 from Europe). Speakers gave 29 talks that demonstrated the breadth of activities and topics covered by their respective research groups.
Workshop delegates concluded that fundamental science of graphene and related materials (GRM) growth, heterostructures, devices and physics where the areas of common interest. While the Chinese speakers mostly presented results on fundamental science, the Europeans presented results on more applied science and graphene-related devices, thus representing both areas.
Both sides agreed that there would be value in continuing the series of workshops. The next edition, to be held in Shanghai, China, will aim to strike a better balance between basic and applied research topics.