Ultrapure water for graphene research

Published: 30-Jul-2015

Graphene, a hexagonal lattice of carbon atoms just one atom thick, has many unusual properties. Research into these requires ultrapure water. Greg Pilbrow, Sales Director, Veolia Water Technologies UK, describes the ultrapure water system installed in a cleanroom for graphene research

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In March 2015, George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, opened the National Graphene Institute (NGI), a research facility dedicated to understanding the science of this amazing material and applying this knowledge to develop new applications.

Graphene is the world’s thinnest, strongest and most conductive material. It is a zero-gap semiconductor, has a specific surface area comparable to that of activated carbon and is almost completely transparent, yet so dense that even helium cannot pass through it. Its properties are still being investigated but potential applications range from micro-electronics to structural engineering.

The £61m NGI facility was built, appropriately, at the University of Manchester where the material was first isolated by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov. Some £38m of the funding came from the UK Government, as part of £50m allocated for graphene research, and the balance from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The NGI operates as a ‘hub and spoke’ model, working with other UK institutions involved in graphene research. The 7,800m2 building houses state-of-the-art facilities including two ISO Class 5 (100,000) cleanrooms.

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