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Posted: Jun 12, 2012
National University of Singapore's Graphene Research Centre opens S$15 million graphene fabrication facility
(Nanowerk News) The National University of Singapore's Graphene Research Centre today announced the opening of a S$15 million micro- and nano-fabrication facility to produce graphene products.
The facility is the first of its kind in Asia and will be fully operational by October.
Graphene, a carbon-like material which scientists say has many uses, was only discovered in 2004. While it has been called the strongest material in the world, it is also incredibly flexible despite being only one-atomic-layer thick.
Director of the Graphene Research Centre Antonio Castro Neto said the facility would use graphene to develop new technologies for flexible and transparent electronics and new devices that do not yet exist in the market, using the latest scientific equipment.
Another area which scientists are looking at are stem cells. Researchers say that stem cells infused with graphene could produce artificial bones and even liver cells.
"The material is very new, so we're still learning how to deal with that material, but the potential is enormous. That's why there's a big investment worldwide on graphene research. Many companies are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars," he said.
"But Singapore started very early, which means we're in a position to protect intellectual property and patents, and even spin-off companies and so on."
The transparent conductive coatings industry is touted to be worth US$55 billion by 2020.
The Graphene Research Centre was set up in 2010 and is currently involved in over S$100 million worth of projects.
Dean of NUS Faculty of Science Andrew Wee said the research centre was already being published in top scientific journals and has gained attention internationally.
"We hope this will continue to grow. We'll be able attract research funding, we'll be able to attract industry collaboration and train top quality students that will eventually go into industry and academia and become the next generation of knowledge creators," he said.
The centre hopes to attract 60 graduate students and 30 research fellows in the future. It currently has 19 research fellows and 10 graduate students.