Nokia is leading a consortium of companies that has reportedly received a $1.35 billion grant from the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies to develop the 'strongest material ever tested'.
A report in Tom's Hardware notes that Graphene is a class 2D structure measuring just one atom thick and is the strongest material ever produced, carrying 300 times the strength of steel. It's also one of the lightest conductors in existence.
Tapani Ryhanen, Nokia's head of the Sensor and Material Technologies Laboratory, is excited about the potential of grapheme as a successor to silicon, that kicked-off the digital revolution. "When we talk about graphene, we've reached a tipping point. We're now looking at the beginning of a graphene revolution. Before this point in time, we figured out a way to manufacture cheap iron that led to the Industrial Revolution. Then there was silicon. Now, it's time for graphene."
Tapani notes in the report that products made entirely out of graphene may be unlikely, the potential to use it to enhance today's products definitely exists.
"During the last 18 months we have seen a tremendous effort to build collaboration between European academia and industry," added Tapani. "Now we have all the ingredients in place to be globally successful. We believe that new two-dimensional materials will have an impact on industrial value chains in many ways, creating opportunities for new products, services and economic growth."
Henry Tirri, EVP, CTO of Nokia, said, "Nokia is proud to be involved with this project, and we have deep roots in the field - we first started working with graphene already in 2006. Since then, we have come to identify multiple areas where this material can be applied in modern computing environments. We've done some very promising work so far, but I believe the greatest innovations have yet to be discovered."
Interestingly, the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2010 was awarded to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov "for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene". Most of the work around graphene so far has been experimental, its potential applications include lightweight, thin, flexible, yet strong display screens, electric circuits, and solar cells.
It'll be interesting to see how the likes of Nokia further push the boundaries of technology in developing the next generation of materials.