It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything on graphene. There was a lot of buzz about it earlier in the decade, but the technological breakthroughs needed to make the material viable for use in commercial applications, including in medical devices, have been slow to materialize. Is there anything new to report? Not really … but …
There are significant efforts underway to solve the technical problems that have stymied efforts in the past. One example is the Graphene Flagship that has been put together by the European Commission. Established in 2013 to bring research efforts, funding sources, and industry together, the goal is to move graphene out of the realm of academic laboratories and into practical uses to benefit society within 10 years.
The properties of graphene give it the potential of revolutionizing many current industries, as well as enabling the creation of new industries yet to be conceived of. Graphene’s potential impact is huge, but so far it has proven exceedingly difficult to manufacture sheets of the material (graphene is essentially a 2-dimensional material, being only a single atom thick) that maintain their mechanical stability.
Figuring out how to split the atom ushered in the Atomic Age. Figuring out how to hold it together in the form of graphene will have a similar effect – if we can achieve it.