Leading Authority on Standards for Graphene Industry

19 Aug 2015

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and the University of Manchester have joined together to accelerate the commercialisation of Graphene through the development of graphene metrology, characterisation and standards vital to its industrial uptake.

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NPL has been working within the Graphene Flagship Standardisation Committee to develop standards for adoption at European and International levels. This can be achieved through bodies such as the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) TC229, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) TC113 and The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN352.

Tom Taylor adds, While graphene has many early supporters, in order for it to be fully adopted by industry its attributes and properties must be proven. In simple terms, quality assurance is an issue and international standardisation would address this issue. However, such standards require time to evolve and to be endorsed, so this joint venture between NPL and the University of Manchester will help bridge the gap and work towards establishing accurate metrology and characterisation of the materials.”

NPL is currently conducting a survey to understand the standardisation needs in the field of graphene and other 2D materials.

In broad terms, standards are needed for industry to be able to offer greater certainly in its product offerings to developers to assess the quality of graphene materials for particular products. These can be either in the form of business pull (for specific applications) or technology push (to enable fast developments). Often key performance parameters of products are governed by the underlying material properties although often it is not a simple correlation. Product research needs reliable and predictive methods in order to deduce how these critical parameters are influenced. Then ways to control the processing for maximum effect can be employed. Industry therefore needs fast and cost effective methods to validate quality for fast product iteration which are underpinned by this pre-normative research. By careful technical discussion and consensus building, describing graphene morphology (shape, layers, end groups etc.) and its specific electrical properties can be agreed and standards published. This then empowers developers to choose the correct materials using agreed methods for their application in mind for example in structural composites or sensors where maximum strength for minimum added volume may be needed or special alignment of the nanomaterial plates to aid conductance.

Standards may also need to be developed according to broad methods of basic manufacture, subtractive (exfoliation) or additive (CVD growth). These methods often result in materials which have very different characteristics and price points. Commercially, Backing these written standards, characterisation of vendors techniques and underpinning metrologies are required and these will need efforts in validating quantitative methods (pre-normative research) especially which are being extrapolated or modified for use in graphene characterisation (e.g. particle sizing).

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