UK failing to capitalise on graphene


A new policy statement from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) warns that while UK universities lead the world in graphene development, the country’s poor commercialisation of the material could see it fall behind.

Graphene is a flat sheet of carbon atoms, a single atomic layer arranged in a hexagonal arrangement reminiscent of chicken wire. Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov at the University of Manchester first produced the material in 2004, and received the 2010 Nobel prize for physics for their discovery.

Scientists have since discovered graphene has a number of impressive optical, electronic and mechanical properties that could lead to numerous new applications. However, IMechE has found that while over 7500 graphene-based patents had been filed worldwide, only 54 are from the UK. In comparison, over 2200 are from China and 1754 from South Korea – Korea’s Samsung alone holds 407 patents. The institute warns that UK government and industry must work collaboratively with academia to develop a coherent strategy if the country is to reap the benefits of graphene.


Related Content

Forensic science service closure criticised

30 July 2013 News and Analysis

news image

UK science and technology committee warns that crimes may go unsolved thanks to underfunding and outdated technology

Nanotech patent jungle set to become denser in 2013

17 January 2013 News and Analysis

news image

Is a thicket of patents strangling a nascent industry?

Most Read

UC Davis chemist sentenced to four years over explosion

19 November 2014 News and Analysis

news image

Postdoc sentenced over attempt to make explosive device and reckless disposal of hazardous waste

Spanish fly

10 October 2013 Podcast | Compounds

news image

Helen Scales looks at cantharidin, the active ingredient in this famous aphrodisiac

Most Commented

Beetle behind breath test for bank notes

17 November 2014 Research

news image

Photonic crystal inks inspired by longhorn beetle could help to fight counterfeiting

Toxicologists enter the fray on endocrine disruptors

29 July 2013 News and Analysis

news image

Open letter urges the European commission to consult with the scientific community before enacting any regulation