Graphene researchers competing for 10 billion
Two research projects will each receive SEK 10 billion over 10 years for putting the EU on the technological breakthrough map. One of the six pilot projects that was chosen deals with graphene, where Linköping University is a world leader on research into this field.
LiU researchers are thus competing for research grants that could support close to a thousand researchers for ten years, a giant investment that could be compared to American efforts putting men on the moon.
During the next decade, the EU wants to gather forces for two flagship projects in information and communications technology. Six pilot projects have been chosen where the participating research groups will have close to a year to write up their applications; they need to be ready by April 2012. The two projects that emerge as the winners will each receive SEK 10 billion over 10 years, commencing in 2013.
The six pilot projects deal with everything from advanced brain research and individual medicines to automatic ‘guardian angels’ or so called friendly robot assistants, and a knowledge accelerator that analyses enormous amounts of data. And, of course, the supermaterial graphene. The material that could provide processors 100 times faster than current ones, which in turn could be used in flexible consumer electronics, or entirely new types of sensors, quick-thinking electric cars and much much more.
The Graphene Coordinated Action project, led by Chalmers researcher Jari Kinaret, includes research groups from Great Britain, Germany, Italy, and Spain, as well as the successful research group at Linköping University, under the leadership of Professor Rositza Yakimova. The Linköping researchers are at the cutting edge of research as far as production of the material is concerned.
“We have competitors in the United States who can develop graphene in pieces up to 3.5mm by 4.5mm in size whereas we can produce pieces 50mm in diameter. They don’t have the same know-how at all, and now we want to seize that advantage,” says senior lecturer Mikael Syväjärvi .
The Linköping researchers are experts in the production technology, while Chalmers researchers produce components in their ‘clean room’ lab.
“We complement each other perfectly,” says Syväjärvi.
He is now working on commercializing and hiving off production of the material.
Equipment in the lab is working at full speed; interest from the world of research is great. But if it is to be a go-ahead for a flagship effort, entirely different quantities are needed and thus modern production equipment.
The researchers are seeking financiers and are also in close contact with the Swedish Energy Agency. The equipment alone costs SEK 5 million.
“If we had the money we’d form a company immediately, we’d have no problems selling what we produce,” Syväjärvi says.
But right now it’s a question of also convincing financiers of the material’s potential.
LiU Electronic press
Last updated: 2013-05-30