Irish technical breakthrough Colm Kelpie
IRELAND has won the race to find a way to produce industrial high quality graphene, the Government has claimed.
Described as a wonder material, graphene is a sheet of carbon the thickness of a single atom. It is light and stronger than steel, yet flexible and electrically conductive.
Until now, researchers were unable to produce graphene of high quality in large-enough quantities.
But researchers in AMBER, the materials research centre in Trinity College, have found a way to produce industrial quantities of the material.
The discovery could change the way consumer and industrial products are manufactured.
UK fine chemicals manufacturer Thomas Swan Ltd has been working with AMBER for two years and has invested €750,000 to date.
Research and innovation minister Sean Sherlock (inset) said Ireland has won a worldwide race to produce the material.
"This is something that the US, China, Australia, UK, Germany and other leading nations have all been striving for and have not yet achieved," Mr Sherlock said. "This announcement shows how the Irish Government's strategy of focusing investment in science with impact, as well as encouraging industry and academic collaboration, is working."