15.04.2016 change 15.04.2016

Polish graphene production method with US and the EU patents

Photo: Fotolia / Dariusz T. Oczkowicz Photo: Fotolia / Dariusz T. Oczkowicz

Graphene production method developed at Lodz University of Technology received patent protection in the US and the European Union. Among the products available on the market, graphene produced by Advanced Graphene Products is closest to the model graphene, which was awarded the Nobel Prize.

Method of producing HSMG (High Strength Metallurgical Graphene) has been developed by scientists from the Institute of Materials Science and Engineering of Lodz University of Technology under the supervision of Prof. Piotr Kula.

"Today\'s global lack of success of graphene arises from the fact that graphene with suitable properties is not available on the market. Our product is the most similar to the graphene, for which the Nobel Prize was awarded" - Prof. Piotr Kula told PAP. "The method we developed is different from all known in the science and technology world. We produce graphene on liquid metal, which gives it a chance to be an almost perfect graphene" - the scientist emphasised.

Polish scientists are able to produce graphene in square meters, which allows for an industrial scale production. "It is not a simple process because it requires a large and flat mirror of liquid metal. To have such a forming matrix, we need to maintain a very thin layer of a liquid metal on a large area. Later, only chemical and heat treatments are carried out" - described Prof. Kula.

He emphasized that there are no defect-free processing materials. "However, the less defects there are, the more the graphene approaches the model material, which has incredibly high electrical, mechanical properties" - he explained.

Graphene produced with the HSMG method can be used primarily in composites, structural materials. "At Lodz University of Technology we are working on using multilayer graphene for storing hydrogen as a fuel, but also on sensors and water filters. The range of applications is very wide" - emphasised the scientist.

Another technology to produce low-cost graphene on a silicon carbide substrate was developed in 2011 by a team led by Dr. Włodzimierz Strupiński from the Institute of Electronic Materials Technology in Warsaw. In May 2015 it obtained patent protection in the US. "We highly value the method based on silicon carbide, but it is a typical application for electronics. Our graphene, due to its strength, possibility of transferring from one surface to another, has far wider range of potential applications" - Prof. Kula told PAP.

Ultimately, the installation, which will enable the launch of production of HSMG at full industrial scale will be located in the Science and Technology Park of the University of Zielona Gora, where the new office of Advanced Graphene Products is located.

For the discovery of graphene, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov received the Nobel Prize in physics in 2010. It is a transparent material with a thickness of one atom. Its uses cover virtually all areas of life. It is a hundred times stronger than steel yet flexible and stretchable. Is can repel water molecules and has bactericidal properties, it conducts electricity better than copper or silver and transfers electrons a hundred times faster than silicon.

It has applications in many industries including the automotive industry, aviation, space (graphene composites), energy industry (batteries, supercapacitors, solar energy), and can even be used to develop innovative solutions for desalination of sea water.

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