Last week we reported that Graphene Frontiers has been awarded a $744,600 grant from the NSF to develop and scale up their roll-to-roll graphene production. After discussing this with Graphene Frontier's CEO Michael D. Patterson, we have some more information about the company's technology and its business.
Graphene Frontier's technology was developed at the University of Pennsylvania. It is called Atmospheric Pressure CVD, or APCVD. This roll-to-roll process does not need a vacuum so it works in room pressure. The equipment required is smaller, faster and cheaper compared to CVD and this means that the manufacturing will be cost effective.
The company currently focuses on single layer graphene continuous films. Their model for large scale production is via joint development and licensing the technology and IP. The idea is that companies can build graphene production and applications into their own product lines. The leading applications for those large-area materials include transparent, flexible conductors for electronics and filtration/barrier membranes.
The company's currently production facility has batch production capabilities of 300 cm2 and larger pieces. They will be moving to a new, expanded location in 2014 and will conduct their development for the NSF project at the new facility and at a (confidential) partner site.
Graphene Frontiers has 5 employees currently and they recorded first sales in 2012. They are offering sample material for R&D and basic device via partners (e.g. SPI Supplies) as an early revenue stream. The company is working towards joint development agreements with leading advanced material and electronics manufacturers and after prototype/JDA completion will license technology in the field of use. Graphene Frontiers will also produce and sell functionalized graphene field effect transistor (GFET) sensors and arrays.