EU-funded ATTRACT consortium presents its support of several graphene projects

The MULTIMAL research project is developing a small device that can be used to rapidly identify malaria parasites using saliva samples, without the need for lab equipment. MULTIMAL is one of eight projects exploring new uses for graphene with support from ATTRACT, a €20 million EU-funded, CERN-led consortium, which has awarded 170 grants worth €100,000 each for one-year proof-of-concept technology projects.

Today’s portable malaria testing kits are “just above flipping a coin,” because they are right only 60 percent of the time, says MULTIMAL principal investigator Jérôme Bôrme. The disease, which the World Health Organisation says killed 435,000 people in 2017 (nearly all of them in Africa), is caused by five species of parasite that can be easily identified in a lab. But treating the disease in remote towns and villages is difficult because of the lack of reliable portable testing kits, explains Bôrme, MULTIMAL’s principal investigator and staff researcher at the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory in Portugal, which runs MULTIMAL in collaboration with the University of Minho.

Graphene-enhanced carbon fiber could lead to affordable, stronger aerospace and automotive materials

A research team, which includes researchers from Penn State, the University of Virginia and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in collaboration with industry partners Solvay and Oshkosh, has found that adding small amounts of graphene to the production process of carbon fibers - which are typically expensive to make - both reduces the production cost and strengthens the fibers and so could one day lead to using these lightweight, high-strength materials to improve safety and reduce the cost of producing planes and cars.

For decades, carbon fibers have been a mainstay of airplane production. If created in the right way, these long strands of carbon-based atoms are lightweight, stiff and strong. "Even though carbon fibers have really nice features, they would make a car far more expensive" with the way carbon fibers are manufactured now, said Adri van Duin, professor of mechanical and chemical engineering, Penn State. "If you can get these properties easier to manufacture then you can make cars significantly lighter, lower the cost of them and make them safer."

Researchers demonstrate the laser-propulsion of graphene sails in microgravity

ESA-backed researchers from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and SCALE Nanotech in Estonia have demonstrated the laser-propulsion of graphene sails in microgravity.

As demonstrated first by JAXA's mission IKAROS (2010) and recently by The Planetary Society's LightSail 2 (2019), using light sails as propulsion system is among the most promising ideas to enable fast and affordable space trips. Not only sails do not require fuel to move, but they save its corresponding costly weight and that of its containing tanks.

Rolls-Royce to work with Verasrien and Manchester's GEIC on graphene-enhanced aerospace applications

It was recently reported that Rolls-Royce is to work with the University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) and its partner Versarien on the use of graphene and other 2D materials used in wiring for next-generation aerospace engine systems.

The initial program of work will use the state-of-the-art chemical vapor deposition (CVD) equipment located within the GEIC.

Graphene-based stress sensor could help NASA in testing anxiety levels of astronauts

A new graphene-based sensor that measures stress via cortisol in sweat could be used by NASA to gauge the anxiety levels of astronauts.

Graphene-enhanced stress monitor to help NASA image

Developed by Caltech assistant professor of medical engineering, Wei Gao, the device features a plastic sheet etched with a laser to generate a 3D graphene structure with tiny pores in which sweat can collect. Those pores create a large amount of surface area in the sensor, which makes it sensitive enough to detect compounds in the sweat that are only present in very small amounts. Those tiny pores are also coupled with an antibody sensitive to cortisol, allowing the sensor to detect the compound.