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Asia's first Graphene Nano-Tech facility opens in Singapore

SINGAPORE, June 13 — A S$ 15 million Micro and Nano-Fabrication facility has opened at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Graphene Research Center, the first nano-science and nano-technology facility of its kind in Asia dedicated to graphene.

The Center, set up in August 2010 as part of the NUS Faculty of Science, is involved in projects totalling over S$ 100 million, and aims to be a world leader in the emerging field of graphene research.

Helmed by Professor Antonio H. Castro Neto, who is one of the world leaders in graphene research, the Center is set up under scientific advising by Professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, from Manchester University in the UK and winners of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of graphene.

NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said: "Graphene is one of the most interesting and promising materials of our time although its unique properties have yet to be fully explored.

"We look forward to seeing novel discoveries and innovative breakthroughs emerge from the Center, putting Singapore in the forefront of research in revolutionary new materials."

There is an intense global drive towards graphene commercialization. Graphene grown by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) could be a game changer in the industry of transparent conductive coatings (TCC) essential for the modern display, lighting touch panel, and photovoltaic industries.

This market is expected to reach annually US$ 55 billion by 2020.

Solution-processed graphene is expected to have a major impact on batteries, catalysts and composite materials, reaching a projected market value of US$ 675 million in 2020.

Neto said: "Our research addresses immediate growth, synthesis, transfer and doping problems of existing approaches. We aim to break current technological bottlenecks for industry adoption by meeting the industrial benchmarks of conductivity and optical transparency for graphene and by improving size and conductivity of graphene flakes from solution at a low cost.

"Our long-term goal is to create a strong patent portfolio that will allow for start-up spin-offs and for commercialization via the route of IP licensing to industry leaders."

The Center has 19 researchers spearheading 16 research projects that look into areas ranging from medicine to nano-technology.

Scientists there are studying a new class of atomically thin material that has functionalities that graphene does not.(PNA/Bernama)

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