Australia-based biotechnology company Circa Group has announced that UK-based University of Manchester has successfully produced graphene ink using Circa's bio-based solvent Cyrene. Circa said academics have described the material as the “highest quality conductive graphene ink ever reported”.

Currently, one of the most common and successful ways of producing graphene involves exfoliating graphite using sonication - a process in which sound waves are used to agitate particles in solution. This requires toxic solvents, which has led scientists to seek alternative production methods. According to Circa, the University of Manchester has now successfully produced graphene ink with Cyrene. The company also said that work by the University of York and the Spanish National Research Council showed that Cyrene had “near-ideal physical properties for graphite exfoliation and the production of graphene dispersions”.

“Graphene is one of the world’s most important nanomaterials and the growing body of scientific evidence – generated by world-class research teams – further validates Cyrene as a viable alternative to toxic traditional solvents such as NMP,” Fabien Deswarte, business development manager at Circa Group.

He added: “Graphene production and dispersion is one of the many applications Circa is targeting for Cyrene, which is outperforming traditional solvents in many high-value market applications such as the manufacture of specialty polymers and formulations of different kinds. For Circa and other companies looking for high-performance, non-toxic, sustainably-produced solvents – it’s a win-win-win situation.”

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