Researchers from Rice University developed a method to create a hybrid graphene-nanotube material that promises to have a better electrical and mechanical qualities than both materials. They call this new material "rebar graphene" because it resembles the way a rebar is used in concrete.
The researchers say that the resulting material contains large, flexible and conductive transparent sheets of graphene that are much easier to manipulate than pure graphene. A few layers of this new material could prove to be a cost-effective ITO alternative for displays and solar cells.
Last month we reported that UK-based Perpetuus Carbon Technologies entered the graphene supply market and will soon start producing graphene materials (GNPs) in its new 100 annual-ton factory. Today Perpetuus launched two new graphene based products (developed in collaboration with Gwent Electronics Group).
The first is a graphene based ink that features a resistance below one ohm per square centimeter. Perpetuus says this is the most conductive graphene enabled ink in the world, and they are already able to immediately deliver single kilogram batches for R&D and manufacturing optimization. The company will be able to offer ton quantities later on. Perpetuus' inks are available in formulations for ink jet, flexographic printing and sensors technologies.
UK-based Perpetuus Carbon Technologies announced that it entered the graphene supply market. The company will soon start production of customer-tailored surface modified graphene materials (excellent quality stacked graphene flakes) in its new 100 annual ton facility. The company can provide 50Kb batches within 48 hours and ton-sized orders within 28 days. The price of their graphene materials is £50 ($83) per kilogram.
The company also holds an R&D arm (called Perpetuus Research and Development). The development activities focus on graphene based ink, and also include transparent condcutive films (for ITO replacement), stress strain actuators and printable coatable electrodes for use in lithium Ion batteries.
The Graphene Research Centre (GRC) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and BASF announced a new partnership to develop the use of graphene in organic electronics devices - such as OLED devices. The goal of this collaboration is to interface graphene films with organic electronic materials, with an aim to create more efficient and flexible lighting devices.
In this collaboration, the GRC will contribute its graphene knowledge (the synthesis and characterization of the graphene) while BASF is focused on organic materials. Of course BASF is also engaged with graphene research (for several years) and are looking to speed up their device development with this new partnership.
In July we reported that China's Ningbo Morsh Technology is establishing a new graphene production line that will have an annual capacity of 300 tons (or tens of millions of graphene films). The line was supposed to be operational by August 2013, and now there are reports from china that finally production began.
The report further says that China plans to build a state-level graphene industrialization base in China's Chongqing Municipality. Within 5 years, they hope to reach revenues of 100 billion yuan ($16.35 billion). If the capacity is indeed 300 tons per year, than China is now the world's leading graphene producer by far.
Researchers from MIT and the University of California at Berkeley developed a new way to evenly functionalize graphene with oxygen at low (50-80 C) temperatures. The method is environmentally friendly (no harsh chemical treatment) and can be applied on a large scale.
The researchers use low-temperature annealing and this cause the oxygen atoms to form clusters. This leaves areas of pure-graphene between the oxygen clusters. This decreases the graphene's electrical resistance by four to five orders of magnitude (the oxygen clusters are insulating) which is good for applications such as sensing, electronics and catalysis.
A couple of months ago Cientifica raised £241,000 ($389,000) in the UK's stock exchange and the company is now public. According to press releases, Cientifica aims to acquire and build businesses that make use of graphene materials. The company will invest in by buying shares or by buying IP, assets or entering into partnerships of joint-venture arrangements.
Cientifica's CEO Tim Harper was kind enough to answer a few questions I had regarding the company's business and future plans. So first of all - congratulations Tim on the fund raising, the readmission to the AIM and on being the world's first pure-play-graphene applications public company!