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Cambridge Spin-out Producing Graphene At Commercial Scale

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Paragraf approach delivers direct compatibility with compound semiconductors SiC, GaN, AlN, InGaN and 2D materials such as BN

A recent University of Cambridge spin-out company, Paragraf, has started producing graphene at up to eight inches in diameter, large enough for commercial electronic devices.

The Paragraf approach delivers direct compatibility with industry standard and compound semiconductors substrates including silicon, sapphire, SoI, SiO2, SiC, GaN, AlN, InGaN and 2D compound semiconductors such as BN.

The company is producing graphene 'wafers' and graphene-based electronic devices, which could be used in transistors, where graphene-based chips could deliver speeds more than ten times faster than silicon chips; and in chemical and electrical sensors, where graphene could increase sensitivity by a factor of more than 30. The company's first device will be available in the next few months.

Colin Humphreys from the Centre for GaN in Cambridge's Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, along with his former postdoctoral researchersSimon Thomas and Ivor Guiney, developed a new way to make large-area graphene in 2015. Using their method, the researchers were able form high-quality graphene wafers up to eight inches in diameter, beating not only other university research groups worldwide, but also companies like IBM, Intel and Samsung.

The three researchers spun out Paragraf in early 2018. Thomas is currently the company's CEO and Guiney is its CTO, while Humphreys, who has recently moved to Queen Mary University of London, serves as Chair.

Paragraf has received £2.9 million in funding to support the development of its first commercial products and moved into premises in February 2018. The funding round was led by Cambridge Enterprise, the University's commercialisation arm. Paragraf already employs 16 people and has filed eight patents.

"Paragraf has the potential to transform a wide range of industries, including electronics, energy and healthcare," said Humphreys. "It will enable the brilliant basic science results achieved in laboratories worldwide using small graphene flakes to be commercially exploited in graphene-based devices and to realise the potential and benefits to society of graphene, the wonder material."

The original research was funded by the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).


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