GRAPHIC MAN: Graphene Electronics Manufacturing in the UK

Paragraf is very pleased to announce the successful launch of the GRAPHIC MAN project in conjunction with our partners RAM Innovations and INEX Microtechnology and supported by Innovate UK.

This is a disruptive project to research and develop a manufacturing process for graphene electronic devices. Graphene, a single atomic layer of carbon, was discovered in 2004 at the University of Manchester, and its discoverers were subsequently awarded the Nobel Prize in 2010. This novel material has amazing properties: optically transparent, more electrically conductive than copper and stronger than stainless steel, to name but a few. This has resulted in enormous speculation that it could replace existing materials such as silicon in electronic devices. To date, various Tier 1 companies such as Intel, IBM, Samsung, etc. have invested over $5bn in bringing electronic devices made from graphene to market. The main reason for this is silicon electronics are reaching their theoretical limits: Moore’s Law is ending. Therefore, the nearly $500bn electronics market needs a new material technology.

However, attempts to bring graphene electronic devices to market have largely failed up to now. This is because it is very difficult to obtain graphene in large enough areas, and which can be processed into full devices by existing industry infrastructure.

Paragraf, a recent spin-out company from Prof. Sir Colin Humphreys’ group at the University of Cambridge, has developed a new way to synthesise large-area graphene (up to 8-inch diameter so far) using a modified deposition method. We call this “next-generation graphene”. In the normal deposition process the graphene is grown on copper. The copper support then has to be removed and the graphene transferred to the desired substrate. However, it is not possible to remove all copper, and this is an insurmountable problem for the semiconductor industry. Because of these problems graphene has not been used in electronic devices. Our next-generation graphene can be grown directly on substrates such as silicon and it is free from metallic contamination. Developing devices and products made from our graphene, and processed and packaged in identical ways to existing electronic devices, will be transformational.

We will make Graphene compatible and useful for manufacturing electronic devices for the first time in the world.

We would like to acknowledge and give thanks to InnovateUK for funding this truly transformation project. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government. For more information, visit the UK Research and Innovation website.

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