World’s Lightest and Strongest Material Brings Nokia €1 Billion
[02/01/2013 04:57 PM]
by Anton Shilov
“Nokia is proud to be involved with this project, and we have deep roots in the field – we first started working with graphene already in 2006. Since then, we have come to identify multiple areas where this material can be applied in modern computing environments. We have done some very promising work so far, but I believe the greatest innovations have yet to be discovered,” said Henry Tirri, executive vice president and chief officer of Nokia.
Graphene As New TechnologyMeasuring only one atom thick, graphene is classed as a 2D structure with super-useful properties. While thin, it is also the strongest material ever tested, having a breaking strength 300 times greater than steel. Graphene has been subject to a scientific explosion since the groundbreaking experiments on the novel material less than ten years ago, recognized by the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 to professor Andrey Geim and professor Konstantin Novoselov, at the University of Manchester. Graphene’s unique combination of superior properties makes it a credible starting point for new disruptive technologies in a wide range of fields.
“Graphene happens to be an area where we, in Europe, have all the important players in the value chain who are ready to use it in applications. From that perspective, this is a very efficient and promising way of doing research investments for Europe,” added Mr. Tirri.
Graphene As New Driver for EconomyThe GFC (graphene flagship consortium) currently consists of 74 partners from the EU, from many different sectors. Nokia is flying the flag for the electronics corner, as well as the mobile one, with dreams of the industry. Nokia has been working with nanotechnologies since 2006, mostly from the Nokia research center based in Cambridge, UK, and also with teams in Finland and Russia.
“During the last 18 months we have seen a tremendous effort to build collaboration between European academia and industry. Now we have all the ingredients in place to be globally successful. We believe that new two-dimensional materials will have an impact on industrial value chains in many ways, creating opportunities for new products, services and economic growth,” said Tapani Ryhänen, head of the sensor and material technologies laboratory at Nokia.
“Not only does creating a graphene research consortium open up new research possibilities, it will also create work and jobs across all of Europe. […] When we talk about graphene, we have reached a tipping point. We’re now looking at the beginning of a graphene revolution. Before this point in time, we figured out a way to manufacture cheap iron that led to the industrial revolution. Then there was silicon. Now, it’s time for graphene.”said Jani Kivioja, research leader at Nokia research center.
The Grand PlanFrom the start in 2013 the Graphene Flagship will coordinate 126 academic and industrial research groups in 17 European countries with an initial 30-month-budget of 54 million euro. The consortium will be extended with another 20-30 groups through an open call, issued soon after the start of the initiative, which will further strengthen the engineering aspects of the flagship. The flagship will be coordinated by Chalmers University of Technology based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Director is professor Jari Kinaret who will lead the research activities together with the leaders of the 15 work packages. The management team is supported by a strategic advisory council.
During the 30 month ramp-up phase, the Graphene Flagship will focus on the area of communications, concentrating on ICT and on the physical transport sector, and supporting applications in the fields of energy technology and sensors. After the ramp-up phase, the flagship will grow to full size and include many new groups and activities. The details of flagship implementation after the ramp-up phase are still open and form a part of the discussions on the Horizon 2020 research program of the European Union.
“Although the flagship is extremely extensive, it cannot cover all areas. For example, we don’t intend to compete with Korea on graphene screens. Graphene production, however, is obviously central to our project,” said Jari Kinaret.