When Will Carbyne Change The World?

Anyone irritated by the hype about graphene may become somewhat apoplectic as a result of recent reports about carbyne. Carbyne is yet another allotrope of carbon like buckyballs, nanotubes and graphene, but is predicted to be “stronger than both graphene and diamond, and around twice as stiff as the stiffest known materials.” However in common with graphene, buckyballs and nanotubes it …

Stop Being Irritated And Start Innovating

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.” Chinese Proverb A report in Chemical and Engineering News, Graphene’s global race to market, highlights the difficulty of commercialising anything from UK universities. While the article reports numerous commercial opportunities being exploited around the world, British academics seem still rooted in their ivory towers. It’s bad enough that …

Graphene and Nanotubes – Deja Vu?

I wrote a piece about the rather low graphene market sizes on AZoNano last year since when Applied Graphene Materials have raised a further £8.5 million and Haydale a further £6m. Now Michigan based XG Sciences have announced their intent to raise £16.8 million ( $24 million) via an IPO. Add that to the operating losses so far of £30 million ($43 million) …

Watch Out Graphene, Here Comes Boron Nitride

Finally some good news about 2D Materials (although perhaps not necessarily for graphene) as the number of commercially available materials just doubled. Thomas Swan and Co, who are probably the only company in the history of nanomaterials to manage to exploit 2D materials without over promising and then bankrupting themselves trying to live up to overinflated expectations, have just launched their …

Graphene & Composites – A Very Risky Business

One of the questions that the UK Parliament graphene enquiry should perhaps consider is “Why are the applications of graphene so unimaginative?” Quite aside from the infamous but hardly revolutionary graphene lightbulb invented by, well, someone somewhere around Manchester, the only other application seems to be composite materials. Reading the interim results this week from AIM listed graphene companies Haydale …

UK Parliament Science and Technology Committee to launch an inquiry on Graphene

The terms of reference of the UK Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology  graphene enquiry have just been announced and written evidence can be submitted online here.  I’m particularly pleased to see that it focusses more on learning how to reap the economic benefits of emerging technologies rather than simply apportioning blame. The inquiry will explore the lessons from Graphene for research and innovation …

Welcome to the National Graphene Institute – Now Go Home!

As a result of the recent press articles about the National Graphene Institute a variety of correspondents have been letting me have their opinion on the commercialisation of graphene. The general tenor of views has ranged from “Britain is useless at commercialising innovation so why bother spending any more money on trying?” to “What’s the point of putting bloody academics in charge of …

UK Graphene: Another Fine Mess?

The Sunday Times reports that “Researchers at the new £61m National Graphene Institute are refusing to work amid fears about the security of their ideas” in an article headlined  “Academics in revolt as China reaps benefits of British breakthrough” The article alleges some ill conceived deals and potential conflicts of interest, but perhaps the idea was ill conceived in the first place? …

Keeping Wearable Technologies In The Underwear Drawer Not The Junk Drawer

Swiss watch vs Smart watch An article in the New York Times points out the major problem with current wearable technologies,  expensive reminders of how wearable gadgets are not ready for prime time. As a result, most gadgets end up gathering dust, with Google, Jawbone and Fitbit al failing to provide devices that consumers actually accept. The combination of high …

Have We Reached Peak Graphene?

I often used Gartner’s hype cycle during nanotechnology talks to illustrate the danger of believing everything you read, and around 2006-7 we probably hit peak nanotechnology hype. The evidence for this was the growing realisation among nanotech companies, market research publishers, brokers, advisors, consultants and conference organisers that no one was making any money. One by one we saw people …