Graphene on the Horizon: A Discussion with Zina Jarrahi Cinker, Ph.D.

Posted 14th February 2019 by Christina Molina

Dubbed the wonder material of the 21st century, graphene is displaying serious opportunity in a wide range of industries, including industrial print. Zina Jarrahi Cinker, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the National Graphene Association and shares insight on the full potential of this wonderous material.

What is graphene and its current state of development and commercialization?
Graphene is one atomic layer of carbon and the thinnest and strongest material ever known to man. It is transparent, flexible and it can have extremely high thermal and electrical conductivity. These properties all in one package make graphene an excellent candidate for use in many different fields and applications from transparent biosensing tattoos to greener, more durable concrete and lighter and stronger cars.

As an industry, we are still facing the challenges of any nascent field such as development of standards, streamlining the supply chain and expediting evaluation and adoption by end user industries. However, we have seen an increasingly rapid pace in graphene commercialization in the past decade. In the past five years, we have seen graphene stepping out of the lab and entering the commercial market. There are currently more than 50,000 patents on graphene worldwide and we hear about more and more products entering the market regularly.

How does graphene benefit industrial print?
Graphene films have very high electron mobility and conductivity and are also flexible and transparent. Graphene platelets and powders, which are much cheaper to produce, can be used as an additive, have very desirable electronic and structural properties and are much more environmentally sustainable in comparison to precious metals. That is why there is such a fast-paced momentum when it comes to graphene inks for printed electronics, smart wearables and embedded sensors.

What value does InPrint bring NGA?
Printing is an area where graphene can provide significant benefits. But the evaluation and adoption of a novel material by an industry starts with education on the material, reliable information on status of the field and an established network of resources. I believe, our partnership with InPrint will provide the channels and resources needed to better introduce and ultimately integrate graphene in the printing industry.

What applications or industries does graphene work with or trying to break into?
Graphene has so many unique properties in one package that makes it a vastly versatile material that could impact almost any industrial segments such as automotive, telecom, composite manufacturing, energy storage, next gen electronics, water treatment, biomedical applications, wearables and many more.

We are already seeing graphene used in mass products such as cars, biosensors, tires, sporting goods from running shoes to golf balls and headphones and speakers. With the global efforts on developing international standards and our efforts at diagnosing and strengthening the supply chain, we will see many more industries implementing graphene and many more products entering the market in the next few years.

Why was the National Graphene Association founded?
National Graphene Association is the main organization and body in the US promoting and advocating for the commercialization of graphene and addressing critical issues such as standards and policy development. We launched NGA about 2 years ago as a remedy to the lack of an organized momentum and leadership in the development of graphene in the US. This problem has set the US back considerably compared to other regions in the world, such as Europe and China. In the past 2 years, NGA has had great success in convening the stakeholders and changing the landscape for graphene industry in the US.

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