Series 8 – Episode 9 – Manufacturing graphene at an industrial scale
Paige West talks with Paul Hedges, CEO and Co-Founder at Applied Nanolayers about 2D materials, their properties and design benefits, particularly in the context of graphene.
Graphene has come to the point where people have defined what it is and what it can do and there are hundreds of potential applications for its use.
The question is, how do you get this material into volume use in an industry which is producing billions of devices per day?
Hedges comments: “You have to produce the material in a way that’s compatible with the way manufacturing goes today.
“Showing a graphene device, which is the size of your thumb, was good in the 1940s when people were first making transistors but today the comparison is between a device which is a few nanometres across.
“So, when we look at proving your technology, it’s important to prove it as the scale and performance that the existing industry has.”
In April, Applied Nanolayers’ graphene devices travelled into space through the SpaceX Fourth Transporter mission. The essential plan was to show that getting this material into space was possible and that it would survive. Hedges notes that it may be a while before we see the results of this mission.
2D materials also have a role to play in semiconductor manufacturing. Biosensors are a segment where there’s a lot of interest. Graphene is also being used for photonic modulators – if you’re producing photonic chips which are modulating light, predominately inside data centres, there is evidence that using graphene can increase the switching speed of these devices.
Hedges goes on to discuss some of the key plans and hopes that the big chip manufacturers are wishing to realise by using graphene and what key milestones need to be reached in order for graphene to be manufactured effectively at an industrial scale.