Graphene 2017 shone brilliantly, with a record high attendance this year compared to any previous edition of the conference. The conference, hosted in lovely Barcelona, housed nearly 100 Keynotes and Invited Speakers, more than 400 posters, more than 150 oral contributions, 55 exhibitors and a 2-day Industrial Forum.
Now in phase II, the Graphene Flagship has decidedly moved towards implementing 2D materials in real world products and applications, which has reflected in this conference as well. Applications such as opto-electronics, nanophotonics, biosensors, medical applications, and energy were among the major discussion topics. It is becoming evident that functionalization of 2D materials with chemical and biological agents and their integration with other 2D materials in heterostructures is the next frontier in the applications of graphene and related materials. Integration in composites is also an important direction, especially for applications demanding large-scale production for thermal and mechanical exploitation.
Standardization and characterization remain acute, as evidenced by many sessions dedicated to those issues, as does cutting-edge research on mechanical properties, spintronics & valleytronics, and theory & simulation. Interestingly, the industrial forum sessions were dedicated to composites, printing, thin films and devices, and commercialization. We saw examples of pushes to apply graphene for environmental protection, in composites for the automotive and aerospace industries, thermal management, flexible touch screens, MEMS, OLED electrodes, logic and memory devices, gas sensors, etc. There is a notable push for novel production methods, in particular for CVD growth of high-quality 2D semiconductors on various insulating substrates.
The industrial exhibit was a rich as ever, with three country pavilions making an appearance: Canadian, Chinese, and Malaysian. Outside of those pavilions, a broad spectrum of companies made an appearance, showcasing the latest in graphene production and characterization technology. Visitor interest was intense throughout the conference, as even the last day Plenary Sessions were packed full.
The social program appropriately supplemented the technical aspects of the event, with well-organized lunch breaks and a generous conference dinner organized at the site of the conference. Finally, the conference organizers announced that next year’s edition will take place in Dresden. See you there!