Graphene diagram. Source: The University of Manchester
Graphene diagram. Source: The University of Manchester

Grafoid Inc., a graphene research, development and investment company, has signed an agreement with Altamat Inc., an advanced materials manufacturing consulting firm, to construct an atomization facility to produce MesoGraf graphene-based powders and filaments for 3D printing. The facility will be located at the Innovation Park Technology Building in Kingston, Ontario.

Graphene is a material with exciting possibilities. The video below states that, “Graphene is light and thin, only one atom thick, but it is 200 times stronger than steel. It is the lightest and most conductive man-made material on Earth. Graphene can be used for DNA sequencing. It can be programmed to attach itself to cells, such as cancer cells, which will revolutionize medicine. Graphene devices can carry electricity more efficiently. A piece of graphene, thinner than a human hair, is strong enough to hold the weight of a grand piano.”

The University of Manchester’s website explains that “Graphene is a two dimensional material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb or chicken wire structure. It is the thinnest material known and yet is also one of the strongest. It conducts electricity as efficiently as copper and outperforms all other materials as a conductor of heat. Graphene is almost completely transparent, yet so dense that even the smallest atom helium cannot pass through it.

Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov are the scientists who isolated graphene into its thinnest layer. Graphene is derived from graphite, found in every pencil. Researchers say anyone who has used a pencil probably has created a small amount of graphene.

Studies on graphene began as early as 1947, by Phillip Wallace, a Canadian theoretical physicist and professor at McGill Univeristy. Wallace studied the band structure of graphite and graphene.

In 1984, Gordon Walter Semenoff , David P. DeVincenzo and Eugene J. Mele pointed out that theoretically, electric currents would be carried by effectively massless charge carriers in graphene.

In 1987, S. Mouras and co-workers described layers of graphite that had various compounds inserted between the layers, forming the Graphite Intercallation Compounds (GICs).

It wasn’t until 2002 that the work of measuring graphene began when Andre Geim asked a PhD student, Kostya Novoselov, to discover how thin he could get the layers of graphene. They tried polishing the graphite, when Oleg Shklyarevskii, a senior fellow from the Ukraine, pointed out that the tape used to create a clean surface from which to work on produced thinner layers of graphene than polishing.

In 2003, Geim and Kostya produced the first isolated graphene flakes, and the work was published in 2004, inspiring researchers and scientists to double their studies on graphene. Geim and Kostya received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 for their work.

Grafoid Inc. has developed a unique process that transforms raw graphite to high-purity graphene, called Mesograf that can be mass-produced at affordable prices. The agreement between Grafoid and Altamat gives Grafoid exclusive global rights to apply the technologies of powders used for 3D printing.

The possible applications of graphene are vast and researchers expect that its uses will revolutionize the future.