Graphene 2015 – promises and hopes

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As the uncommon sunny period in Bilbao came to an end, so did Graphene 2015 and ImagineNano 2015. The conferences, co-located at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre, were organized by Phantoms Foundation, who have experience hosting this event, although it’s certainly gotten even larger this year.

We’ve already covered the first two days in a separate post. It seems that my outcries about the high priority of standardization were timely, because on Thursday Graphenea’s Iñigo Charola announced that the Graphene Flagship formed a committee for standardization, with a first aim of producing a “standardization methods” document within a year. That is excellent news for the industry, because a lack of definition of “graphene” makes room for all sorts of manipulations and general confusion. Furthermore, standardization will allow for more precise market roundups and estimates.

Graphene-enhanced paddle racquets.

Graphene-enhanced paddle racquets.

Iñigo was speaking at the Industrial Forum part of the event, which on Thursday was dedicated to graphene. At the start of the day, Dr. Khasha Ghafferzadeh of IDTechEx laid out the current status of the graphene market and future estimates. He also agreed that standardization is an issue that makes market analysis difficult, and suggested that in the next couple of years not much will happen, in terms of selling large volumes of graphene. Khasha also claims that we are seeing some traces of disillusionment, and are thus likely entering a period in which some graphene companies will go bust. This agrees well with the peak of hype that we witnessed last year.

In the same session, BASF presented their recent work on graphene anodes. In certain forms, graphene-enhanced batteries do perform better than their traditional silicon-based ones, but reaching favourable cost levels is still something BASF is working on. XG Sciences made an announcement with similar results.

After a strong and fairly upbeat Industrial Forum on Thursday, Friday was another day packed full of good science, mostly from Europe and Asia. Interestingly, Jean-Louis Sauvajol of CNRS (France) was making claims that the traditional Raman measures that everyone uses are not a good indicator of graphene layer thickness. Those claims could be a good start for the standardization committee to look into. Further we saw graphene biosensors from Max Lemme, graphene plasmon optics from Pablo Alonso-Gonzales, various talks about perfecting graphene synthesis, and some more about other 2D materials and van der Waals heterostructures.

Overall, organizing such a large event must have been a challenge, but evidently not one too big for the Phantoms Foundation. Next year the conference moves to Genoa, and we certainly hope to see you there.

Deserted exhibition area at the end of the conference.

Deserted exhibition area at the end of the conference.

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Marko is a scientific researcher (PhD in Physics, University of Twente, NL), with experience in graphene and other nanomaterials. He is the owner of Graphene Tracker, Assistant Professor at the Institute of Physics in Belgrade, blogger and online content manager for Graphenea, co-founder of 2D Atomic Crystals (www.2d-atomicrystals.com), and a member of the Advisory Board of the Graphene Stakeholders Association.

Twitter: @graphenetracker