Dr Monica Craciun and Professor Saverio Russo have developed a novel smart material called GraphExeter.

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Centre for Graphene Science

The advances in nanoscale engineering have taken enormous strides forward and the discovery of new materials has been essential in the creation of new applications in defence, health care and communication technologies to improve our quality of life and welfare.

However, despite these advancements, these technologies still don’t fully address the global challenges of climate change, health care and energy production.

Much of the heat produced in our buildings is still inefficiently lost , the monitoring of critical health care conditions still requires heavy-weight equipment and most of our communication and transportation devices suffer from the lack of high capacity energy harvesting and storage devices.

The problems encountered with current technologies mean that the development of future electronic applications now relies on materials such as graphene; which is part of an entirely new generation of ultra-lightweight, transparent and mechanically flexible smart functional materials.

At the forefront of addressing how graphene can be developed to tackle these is the Centre for Graphene Science, a collaborative venture between the University of Exeter and the University of Bath.

Collaborations with industrial partners, such as Argans Ltd and Dart Sensors Ltd have been investigating the use of graphene for a new generation of sensors. This research will fill the gap in the sensing market on the detection of traces of atmospheric pollutants (eg, formaldehyde), biomarkers of early-stage disease onset (eg, Parkinson's Disease), and non-invasive, continuous monitoring of body fluid components (eg, glucose).

The global challenge of creating light-weight and energy efficient technologies is at the core of the interdisciplinary research activity at the Centre which, brings together over 50 academic and research staff and students working in various aspects of graphene research and development.

The pioneering research conducted within the Centre has applications which impact strongly on various societal aspects; a recent interdisciplinary research conducted by the groups of Professor Saverio Russo in Physics and Dr Monica Craciun in Engineering has led to the discovery of GraphExeter, the best known transparent material able to conduct electricity. 

Owing to the unique properties engineered in GraphExeter, this novel material truly holds the promise for transforming the current display industry with the development of ultra-flexible, brighter and more energy efficient wearable displays.

The Centre for Graphene Science is also actively engaging in the production of low-cost graphene inks for future printed electronics. This will be embedded in ultra-lightweight wearable health monitoring devices which will improve significantly the experience of patients.

The vibrant research environment created within the Centre for Graphene Science has stimulated an overwhelming number of scientific discoveries published in more than 430 peer reviewed articles since its foundation in 2009.