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Letter from the Editor - 2015 April
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Letter from the Editor

 

Properties, Applications and Manufacturability

 

It starts with a material. Nowadays that’s often in the shape of a theorized material. Then there are usually some computer models that verify the theory. Finally, someone synthesizes the material that people were beginning to think only inhabited computer models.

 

Such was the path of graphene over a decade ago and since then materials like silicene or germanene are just now peaking out from their theories and computer models to become the next “wonder material” in the real world.

 

Once these materials are synthesized, there is a long process of sorting out their properties and later how those properties might best be applied and then finally how you can manufacture devices made from these materials.

 

This quarter’s Graphene Council newsletter covers these three aspects in the development of a novel material: properties, applications and manufacturability. 

 

As much as it may frustrate some, graphene and its two-dimensional (2-D) cousins are still very early in their development. While some attempts have been made to commercialize products based on these 2-D materials, they remain largely in the laboratories of the world where their properties are still being sorted out.

 

Our Q&A this quarter also reflects this path from properties through to manufacturability. We interviewed both Frank Koppens, Group Leader at the Institute of Photonic Sciences (IFCO) in Barcelona and Jesus de la Fuente, CEO of Graphena based in San Sebastian, Spain. 

 

Graphenea and ICFO along with CIC nanoGUNE have been at the forefront of exploiting the often forgotten optoelectronic properties of graphene. The cross fertilization between these labs with a manufacturer is creating a strong innovation ecosystem in Spain for the development of graphene despite lacking the large government investments such as in the US or the UK.

 

In the Q&A, you can see where the focus on graphene’s optical properties came from and how a manufacturer is playing a part in the path from properties to applications to manufacturability.

 

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