What is graphene?
Graphene is a carbon-based material with extraordinary physical and technical properties. Graphene is just one atom thick; a true two-dimensional material that conducts electricity better than copper. It is stronger than steel and has unique thermal and optical properties.
The discovery of graphene kicked off a new era in materials science, triggering the discovery of thousands of two-dimensional and layered materials. Scientists combine them like ingredients in a sandwich to manufacture devices for all sorts of different applications.
The Graphene Flagship
The Graphene Flagship is one of the first two Future Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagships launched in 2013 by the EU. It is one of Europe's biggest ever research initiatives, gathering more than 170 academic and industrial partners from 22 countries, all exploring different aspects of graphene and related materials.
It assembles over 100 associate members and 37 partnering projects, which bring diverse competencies to the consortium. Moreover, the European Commission has now funded the creation of an experimental pilot line for graphene-based electronics, optoelectronics and sensors with an additional €20 million investment.
The Graphene Flagship facilitates cooperation between its partners, accelerating the timeline for industry acceptance of graphene technologies. The project’s effort covers the entire value chain, from materials production to components and system integration. And, it aims at developing applications and products in the areas of flexible electronics, telecommunications, batteries, aerospace, medical technologies, filtration and automotive, among others.
The Graphene Flagship's performance can be assessed through some key indicators (figures from mid-2020):
- over 3800 scientific publications;
- 15 spin-off companies;
- leading EU industries make up 48% of the Graphene Flagship consortium, including Airbus, ABB, Nokia, VARTA, Lufthansa Technik, MEDICA, Tetra Pak and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles.
One example of the Graphene Flagship’s recent remarkable breakthroughs is the launch of two systems that enable the large-scale production of graphene through chemical vapour deposition.
These can deposit large areas of graphene on metal foils under ambient conditions and enable the wafer-scale production of graphene on insulating wafers. These breakthroughs will speed up the development of new graphene electronics and bring the cost of graphene films down by two orders of magnitude.
A collaboration between the Graphene Flagship’s academic and industrial partners enabled the creation of graphene-enabled silicon batteries with a capacity boost of 30%. Graphene is key to solving the swelling problems of lithium-ion silicon-based batteries, used in wireless headphones, hearing aids, wearables and small electronic devices. Together with VARTA, Graphene Flagship spin-off BeDimensional is further developing this technology, which will enable customised solutions for energy storage.
Several Graphene Flagship outstanding research results and prototypes are regularly showcased at international events and tradeshows such as Mobile World Congress, ICT, Composites Europe and Medica, among others.
You can find a collection of results in this Graphene Flagship leaflet (external link for PDF download) and discover all the latest news on the Graphene Flagship website.
How to join the Graphene Flagship
Contributing to the Graphene Flagship's objectives and roadmap is possible through the partnering mechanism. It is designed for the research projects funded at national, transnational or European level and for research organisations or companies that want to join the Graphene Flagship and benefit from its network and visibility.
- Graphene Flagship Newsroom: find the latest press releases, news stories and download relevant digital materials.
- CORDIS publication: Graphene and 2D materials on track to innovative applications
- Director Thomas Skordas' blog post: Graphene: on the way to changing our lives (archived content)
- Graphene turns 15 on track to deliver on its promises.
- Useful publications from the Graphene Flagship
- FET Flagships: lessons learnt;
- Blog post: The Human Brain Project and the Graphene Flagships are moving ahead to the next stage of their 10-Year Voyage (archived content);
- Blog post: News from the FET Flagships – The Voyage Continues (archived content).