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| Live from the Labs cnrs I international w 14 magazine Nanotechnology Since its discovery in 2004, graphene has generated tremendous interest for its exceptional electrical and mechanical properties. This year, the European Commission has selected it as a Future Emerging Technology (FET) Flagship. CNRS International Magazine explores ongoing research in this promising new field. In for the Graphene BY Xavier Müller Although practical applications are a material can be produced using other Glong way away, many researchers have methods, which French research is also raphene consists of a single already joined the race to develop investigating,” explains Annick Loiseau, sheet of carbon atoms arranged graphene-related technologies. Along a researcher at the LEM1 in Paris, and in a hexagonal “honeycomb” with Asia and the US, France has been director of the GNT Research Network. lattice similar to at the forefront of this effort ever since Epitaxial growth on silicon carbide, for graphite (formed by multiple layers of 2005, through its National Research example, is a very interesting approach graphene). An excellent electrical and Network on Mesoscopic Physics and the consisting in heating this artificial mineral thermal conductor, both flexible and creation of the Graphene and Nanotubes used as an industrial abrasive. The mechanically resistant, graphene can be (GNT) International Research Network silicon atoms on the surface evaporate, “doped” to become a semiconductor like (GDRI), involving 60 research teams in leaving behind a sheet of graphene. silicon in electronic circuits. Andre France and Europe. Both structures are “Chemical vapor decomposition”—or Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who driven by CNRS. CVD—is another promising method first isolated it in 2004, were awarded France is now a leader in graphene where a carbonated gas like methane is the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics in research, not only regarding synthesis but decomposed at the surface of a metal such recognition of the potential of this also characterization and applications in as copper or nickel. The carbon released extraordinary material. In January electronics. Synthesis is all the more important reorganizes itself in graphene sheets. this year, the European Commission as the method used by the two Finally, it is also possible to exfoliate  made this new field of research one of Nobel laureates cannot produce samples graphite using chemical techniques. its first Future Emerging Technology in large quantities. For practical purposes, France has many facilities for experimentation Flagship projects, funded to the tune they used adhesive tape to strip off layers and characterization, including of one billion euros over the next of graphite until only a single sheet of the synchrotron Soleil or the LNCMI2 in 10 years (see box). graphene remained. “Fortunately, this Grenoble. French laboratories are putting w The European Commission (EC) has selected graphene as one of the first Future Emerging Technology (FET) flagship projects. With a budget of €1 billion, the 10-year project aims to boost the EU economy by federating the efforts of researchers, entrepreneurs, and industrialists across Europe to transform graphene from a laboratory phenomenon into a wellspring of revolutionary applications. Judging by the number of scientific 01 publications on the subject, the EU is already world leader in graphene research. Yet “Asia produces about 10 times more patents on graphene,” explains Annick Loiseau, 1 project coordinator for France and CNRS representative within the program. To ensure that Europe gets a strong return on investment, the flagship project is designed to foster collaboration between research and industry. The scheme involves 74 academic and industrial partners from 17 EU countries. Academic research institutions such as CNRS make up nearly half of the partners involved. France is the largest contributor to the graphene FET, with 14% of the initial budget spread across 15 laboratories, 11 of which from CNRS. These laboratories cover disciplines such as materials science, electronics, nanotechnology, biology, magnetism, or ecology, to name but a few. By harnessing the synergies created through these collaborations, the flagship project should generate many exciting new applications for graphene, such as high-speed high-power electronics, flexible displays, and new composite materials for the aerospace and medical fields. These and other applications are expected to have a significant knock-on effect on industry, the economy, and society as a whole. 01. Laboratoire d’étude des microstructures (LEM) (CNRS / Onera). Contact information: LEM , Châtillon. Annick Loiseau > annick.loiseau@onera.fr 01 The ideal crystalline structure of graphene is a hexagonal lattice. © A. AlUS/wikime dia comons The EU Invests in Graphene by Brett Kraabel


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