National Physical Laboratory

NPL announced as Foundation Partner for new Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has become a Foundation Partner to The University of Manchester's Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), as part of the far-reaching agenda to accelerate the commercial prospects of graphene and related two-dimensional materials.

The GEIC, which is set to officially launch next week, is the University's second state-of-the-art graphene facility complementing the activity of the National Graphene Institute (NGI). Together, the two centres cement Manchester's position as the home of graphene 15 years after the material was first isolated at the University.

The GEIC has already registered three Tier One members and several Affiliate Partners. Two Foundation Partners have also been announced – the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the University of Central Lancashire's (UCLan) Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC).

Through the GEIC, Foundation Partners will be a key University partner supporting the creation of a graphene community and ecosystem within the GEIC to encourage early stage development and collaborations.

The GEIC will focus on industry-led application development in partnership with academics. It will fill a critical gap in the graphene and 2D materials ecosystem by providing facilities which focus on pilot production and characterisation; together with application development in composites, energy, solution formulations and coatings, electronics and membranes.

One of the barriers to market for any new material before standards are agreed is confidence in the materials quality and reproducibility when developing new applications and processes.

NPL's expertise in test and verification of materials leads to new standards. To enable the commercialisation of graphene, NPL's world-leading measurement scientists have collaborated with the NGI's research and development excellence to develop a good practice guide and definitive terminology for graphene.

Now, as a Foundation Partner, NPL will be able to work directly within the graphene community at the GEIC to understand the emerging measurement needs for the applications of commercially supplied graphene.

JT Janssen, Research Director at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), said: "We are delighted to become a Foundation Partner for The University of Manchester's Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC). The Centre is a fantastic step forward, putting the UK's emerging graphene economy at the forefront, accelerating commercialisation of next generation technologies in the same country the material was first isolated.

"As the National Measurement Institute for the UK, NPL is in a prime position to provide the materials verification and standardisation expertise as part of the GEIC's remit. Our experts will be on-site in Manchester, working collaboratively alongside other industry experts to provide these services.

"Through this partnership, we hope to continue the great work already underway in this area, such as the NPL-led graphene ISO standard , a world-first on graphene terminology. In collaboration with the University's National Graphene Institute, we also produced the NPL Good Practice Guide on the Characterisation of the Structure of Graphene, as well as the Graphene Characterisation Service, launched earlier this year."

James Baker, CEO, Graphene@Manchester said:

"For the GEIC and graphene to be successful, we need to ensure a wider holistic approach than the manufacturing ecosystem as a whole, as well as doing the work in the lab and around scale-up and prototyping we also need to generate confidence in new materials which has historically taken a long time.

"What we have seen with graphene has been very quick with applications already in the market and we are at a tipping point now where this will increase. We also need to ensure that false promises aren't being made and that comes with the implementation of standards and demonstrating real-world value through prototypes.

"As a Foundation Partner, NPL will provide the standardisation expertise required to generate confidence in new graphene materials. NPL experts will work alongside other industry professionals, at the GEIC, to test and verify the measurement needs required for the application of commercially supplied graphene to market."

Find out more about the work NPL does around graphene

Last Updated: 10 Dec 2018
Created: 7 Dec 2018

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