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Innovative method of producing graphene at scale

NPL and Paragraf demonstrate that graphene Hall Effect sensors are ready for high-radiation applications in space and beyond.

Based on testing from NPL, Paragraf, the leader in graphene-based transformative electronic sensors and devices, has demonstrated the ability of graphene Hall Effect sensors to withstand high levels of radiation.

Used to measure the magnitude of a magnetic fields, Hall Effect sensors are a critical electronic component in a variety of applications, from proximity sensing and speed detection through accelerometers to current sensing. However, historically, their deployment in high-radiation environments such as satellites and nuclear power plants has faced significant challenges. This is because conventional sensors made from silicon and other semiconductor materials react adversely to neutron radiation, unless they are encapsulated in radiation-hardened packaging. This entails a more complex, lengthy, and costly manufacturing process and may require the sensor to be replaced over time if, for example, the packaging is damaged. 

By contrast, tests conducted at NPL have shown that, following exposure to an extremely high neutron dose (241 mSv/ Hour – 30,000 times the neutron dose rate in the International Space Station), Paragraf graphene Hall Effect Sensors are not affected by radiation. This is the first time that a commercially-available, graphene-based electronic device has proved impervious to neutron radiation.

Héctor Corte-Leon, Higher Research Scientist, NPL states: “Our first set of findings is very promising, and we are now expecting more positive outcomes over the next few months. Testing graphene-based electronics is key to demonstrating whether they can be used in harsh environments where, traditionally, their deployment has been limited.”

Ivor Guiney, co-founder of Paragraf, commented: “NPL’s findings have the potential to be a game changer when it comes to high-performance satellites and other critical high-radiation applications such as nuclear decommissioning. Due to the exceptional mechanical strength and high transparency of graphene, our Hall Effect sensor can be used reliably in high-radiation applications without requiring packaging. This is key to improving reliability and durability while reducing manufacturing costs and time to market.”

17 Sep 2020