National Physical Laboratory

Graphene Graphene

Realising the potential through metrology.

Graphene, the two-dimensional crystal of carbon, has many extraordinary properties and characteristics which are either unique or surpass those of other materials.

Graphene has superior mechanical stiffness, strength and elasticity, electrical and thermal conductivity. It is optically active, chemically inert and impermeable to gases. What makes graphene really special, and a potentially disruptive technology, is that all these properties are combined into one material. Applications could include flexible electronics, efficient transistors for RF applications, novel sensors, protective coatings and barrier films.

The uptake of graphene will be driven by progress in its production with properties appropriate for specific application. Currently, there are many methods being used and developed to prepare graphene of various dimensions, shapes and quality, from micromechanical cleavage to chemical vapour deposition.

NPL is working to provide the measurement capability (quantum metrology and nanoanalysis techniques) necessary to characterise the graphene produced by the various methods. This will help enable the industrialisation of graphene production and its adoption.

NPL is also heavily involved in developing international standards for graphene terminology and characterisation methods, and using graphene to develop standards that are based on its unique properties, including a graphene-based quantum Hall resistance standard.


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