← Back

Business and Innovation News

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Research meets industry at the Graphene 2019 Conference

by Virginia Greco

Starting this morning in Rome, this edition of the Graphene Conference series (June 25-28) will bring together experts on graphene and 2D materials from around Europe, as well as companies interested in exploiting new promising technologies in this field. The ICN2 has a leading role in creating new graphene-based scientific and industrial opportunities. Visit the BIST booth we share with our colleagues from ICFO and IFAE!

The Graphene 2019 Conference, the 9th edition of the largest European event on graphene and 2D materials, kicked off today, June 25, in Rome (Italy). Experts in the field will discuss recent advances and future applications of research on bidimensional materials over four days packed with plenary sessions, thematic workshops, industrial forum and exhibit, students’ presentations and poster sessions.

All the aspects of this multidisciplinary research will be touched, from the growth and synthesis methods of the materials, to the modeling and theoretical interpretation of their behaviour, to the exploration techniques (as microscopy and spectroscopy), to the applications of 2D materials to electronics, medicine, sustainable energy, etc.

An important goal of this gathering is also to facilitate the encounter between the research world and the industry, aiming at the prompt exploitation of new technologies, which can impact many sectors of life, economy and health.

Graphene and 2D materials are a core research topic of the ICN2, as demonstrated by the leadership role it plays in the European Graphene Flagship, the activity of no less than eight of its groups developing projects in this field, an ERC Starting Grant recently awarded to Group Leader Dr. Klaas-Jan Tielrooij, as well as eight patents and two spin-off companies (Earthdas and Graphenicalab) into which some research line branched out.

Watch this video to learn about some of the graphene-related activities and innovations promoted by the ICN2:


The ICN2 will contribute to Graphene 2019 with invited talks and oral presentations, as well as with numerous Group Leaders (ICREA Prof. Stephan Roche, ICREA Prof. Sergio O. Valenzuela, ICREA Prof. Arben Merkoçi, and Dr. Klaas-Jan Tielrooij) chairing some of the sessions. In addition, a selection of the newest technologies developed by our centre will be showcased at the exhibitors' area. A booth promoted by the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) has been set up together with the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) and the Institute for High Energy Physics (IFAE). BIST is a joint effort that brings together seven excellence centres located in the Barcelona area, including the ICN2, with the aim to promote and consolidate high-standard multidisciplinary research.

Visiting the BIST booth, attendees of the Graphene 2019 Conference will be able to learn about nanoporous graphene membranes, whose pore size, shape and density can be tuned with atomic precision to reject or allow through specific molecules and ions. These atomically-precise nanosieving membranes were developed by researchers from the ICN2, the Centre for Research in Biologic Chemistry and Molecular Materials (CiQUS) and the Donostia International Physics Centre, under the leadership of ICREA Prof. Aitor Mugarza Ezpeleta and Senior Researcher Dr. César Moreno Sierra, of the ICN2 Atomic Manipulation and Spectroscopy Group.

The conductivity properties of some graphene oxide composites can be taken advantage of to design gas sensors, able to detect changes in the air composition and to provide this information through light. This technology, developed by the ICN2 Nanobiolectronics and Biosensors Group led by ICREA Prof. Arben Merkoçi, will explained at the BIST exhibit as well.

Very promising is also the application of graphene to the design of neural interfaces able to restore sense functions in patients that have lost control or integrity of their sensing organs, but not the relative brain functionalities. Cutting-edge technologies applied to this field will be showcased at Graphene 2019.

In particular, BrainCom is a European project devoted to the development of ultra-slim graphene-based devices able to record and interpret activity in the speech area of the brain. By connecting this interface to a sound reproduction system, speech abilities could be given back to some patients who have lost them. The ICN2 is conducting this project from the Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices Group, led by ICREA Prof. José Antonio Garrido Ariza.

Along the same lines, a graphene-based device can be used to detect light signals and transmit them directly to the optical nerve, to restore sight in patients whose eyes functionality is highly compromised. A camera mounted on a pair of glasses is connected to the device, which will translate the image in electric signals for the brain. A project called THEIA (“Towards the implementation of a multi-electrode array for retinal prosthesis”), led by the ICN2 Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices Group in collaboration with the IFAE and the ICFO, is focusing on designing a less invasive system, in which the implants in the eye receive signals and power through pulsed light produced with a diode installed on the glasses as well. Attendees of the conference will be able to discover more about this project thanks to a mockup of the system produced by IFAE, which allows to see how it works and what images the patient’s brain would receive. New studies are in progress to improve the graphene technology employed in the device, in order to increase the resolution of this image.

Enjoy the exciting Graphene 2019 event and don’t forget to drop by the BIST booth to learn about the ICN2 technologies and other advances by our colleagues. You can also contact our Business and Innovation Office for further details about our work. Let’s talk!