Graphene – My New Years Resolutions

Happy 2016 and lets hope its a prosperous one for anyone involved in 2D materials. After 20 years in nanotech I’m grizzled enough to have ridden the hype curve a few time. While we are now in the midst of a “graphene revolution” here’s a few resolutions to help you avoid wasting too much time on the wrong things in 2016.

Don’t Believe Unsupported Production Claims

The last few years has been characterised by companies around the world claiming to be able to make hundreds of tonnes of graphene a year. Some of these claims are simply untrue, while others are based on producing some kind of material that stretches the definition of graphene to include a variety of forms of exfoliated graphite. In 2016 I’ll treat these claims with a high degree of scepticism unless I see some well characterised samples and a price list.

Ignore Market Reports About Graphene

I covered this in an article for AZoNetwork last year. Someone has now managed to edge the market for graphene over the media friendly billion dollar threshold but in 2016 I resolve to continue to focus on markets for specific applications, not black powder.

Look At Other 2D Materials

In 2016 we’ll hear a lot more about other 2D materials. A good resolution for anyone on the entrepreneurial side of materials technology would be to look beyond graphene. While graphene has grabbed the headlines it has stimulated huge amounts of research into the properties and production of other 2D materials.  Some of them aren’t as far away from commercial scale production as you might think.

Don’t Treat Every Lab Result As A Revolution

This year I resolve to largely ignore academic and public company hype about graphene (unless it is really cool). In 2015 graphene was revealed to be able to:

Treat cancer

Clean up oil spills 

Protect aircraft against lightening strikes

Give people night vision

Replace LED lightbulbs

Focus On The Unmet Need Not The Technology

With an ever increasing variety of 2D materials coming to market there are an increasing number of opportunities. Starting with the unmet need and then working back to the technology solution (which may or may not be 2D materials) will always yield better results than assuming that graphene is the solution to every problem.

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