Graphene, the two-dimensional crystal of carbon, has many extraordinary properties and characteristics which are either unique or surpass those of other materials.
What makes graphene really special, and a potentially disruptive technology, is all the properties that are combined into one material - strong, flexible, transparent, and an excellent conductor of both heat and electricity - make it ideal for a wide range of real-world applications in areas such as electronics, biomedicine, energy and composites, to name just a few. Graphene has been classified as an advanced material (one of the UK government's eight great technologies), and identified as an area of research where the UK has a leading position.
The uptake of graphene will be driven by confidence in its performance and 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.
The National Graphene Metrology Centre (NGMC) at NPL has been supporting the development of graphene through research into the associated characterisation and measurement science (metrology) - a key enabler to the successful and efficient commercialisation of this revolutionary material and will enable the industrialisation of graphene production and its adoption.
Through our research we are using graphene to develop standards that are based on its unique properties, including a graphene-based quantum Hall resistance standard as part of the Graphene Flagship.
We are also heavily involved in developing international standards for graphene terminology and characterisation methods, and held a consultation workshop with the University of Manchester, National Graphene Institute in June 2015 to meet with key stakeholders from industry and understand the UK characterisation, standardisation and quality control needs.
From Research to Applications
Following on from the highly successful NPL Graphene Conferences in 2012 and 2014, the Graphene & 2-D Materials Conference 2016 (16-17 November) was aimed at addressing some of the new concepts of graphene applications, metrology and technology.
- NPL, Oxford Instruments and the National Graphene Institute are joining together on a turnkey quantum Hall system for graphene characterisation and primary resistance metrology.
- NPL scientist Vishal Panchal has been growing 1D graphene nanostructures at NIST.
- Research into graphene, the wonder material of the last decade is now maturing into providing the quality control methods and processes which will lead to impact on UK industry.
- Graphene is the thinnest and strongest material known. As a result it has many potential applications in the sensing area.
- Investigation of CVD graphene topography and surface electrical properties.
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