(Image credit: AlexanderAIUS via Wikipedia)


Graphene is one of the world’s most robust materials even though its only 1-atom thick, and coupled with its highly conductive nature, one of the most sought out materials for a myriad of applications, including electronics, semiconductors, and super-strong composites. It’s been 15 years since Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov isolated the substance using a lump of graphite and some tape, and according to Graphene Flagship, the material is on track to deliver on its promises in the materials sector, and for commercial applications.


The Graphene Flagship is a Future and Emerging Technology frontrunner commissioned by the EU for joint coordinated research into graphene applications and has a budget of over $1-billion in funding. According to the research conglomerate, “The Graphene Flagship is tasked with bringing together academic and industrial researchers to take graphene from the realm of academic laboratories into European society in the space of 10 years, thus generating economic growth, new jobs, and new opportunities.”


After analyzing the current graphene landscape and market forecasts, the Graphene Flagship expects a lucrative future for the carbon-based material over the next decade. In the materials sector, we can expect to see graphene-infused inks, composites, and coatings in applications ranging from packaging to sporting goods. Textiles are mentioned, along with graphene-enabled batteries and supercapacitors, as well as the first solar farm using the material expected to be built in Crete next year.


Over the next decade, we should see graphene introduced into the optoelectronics market, significantly boosting the performance over current technologies. The Graphene Flagship has also announced the creation of a foundry, which will act as a starting point for commercial graphene products, including transceivers, photodetectors, and sensors, and will guarantee final designs are high-quality and consistent.


According to Head of Innovation (Graphene Flagship) Kari Hjelt, “We are now seeing the first wave of graphene-enabled products on the market. The commercialization activities of graphene are moving from materials development towards components and system-level integration. In the future we will see a growing number of high-value add products for various application domains.”


For some reason, this outlook for graphene-based electronics and products reminds me of the Jet Packs people thought they would have back in the 50s but never became a realization (until now). Don’t get me wrong; scientists had known about the properties of silicon for over 100 years before the first transistor was produced in 1958, I just want to see the realization of ultra-fast graphene-based processors before they become standard in my great-grandkids lives.


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