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Vol 7 Issue 7



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We explore the Manchester graphene ecosystem this month. Our special feature takes an in depth look at how the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) bridges the gap between idea and industrialisation. This is a spotlight on the institutions created by the University of Manchester and how they connect with the private sector.

Ideas are not just brought in from the University. The leadership of the GEIC, especially James Baker the CEO, have had ‘proper jobs’ so they have extensive networks and credibility in the industrial world that has allowed them to create a development funnel of candidate organisations to test and build ideas and create proof of concepts and prototypes. Making ideas real can be an important step in gaining investor attention. However, investors want to see companies with capable management that will nurture their funding to generate returns. The GEIC has built in business mentoring with experienced business leaders like Ray Gibbs. Scientists in start-up companies have to learn a new language of pitch decks, and sharpen their entrepreneurial skills to build successful businesses of the future and mentoring can speed this whole process.

Not all businesses are successful. We have seen Applied Graphene Materials disappear and become part of Universal Matter. This month there are reports that another UK graphene company has financial troubles and has called a general meeting to explore options for survival with its shareholders, p.31.

In the USA the biosensors market is starting to liven up. General Graphene has announced it is working in partnership with two biosensor manufacturers making graphene field effect transistors for the rapid detection of diseases and toxins. General Graphene has positioned itself as a manufacturer of CVD graphene rather than an applications developer. It is backed by an investor with ‘patient capital’ so we will have to wait some time to discover if this strategy is successful. For the moment it looks like General Graphene is staying true to its stated aim of being a ‘pure play’ graphene foundry.

The research community is still discovering new things about graphene. A few days ago, an international team of researchers has been exploring what happens to water when it comes into contact with graphene. It seems that the water molecules interact with the electrons in graphene and the experimental work has proved the existence of quantum friction. The implications of this work could be profound for energy generation as well as controlling the lubricant / frictant properties of graphene in when in contact with water.

Again, this is just a fraction of the stories we highlight and interpret this month, please do read on, dear reader…

Adrian Nixon
1st July 2023