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Business and Innovation News

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

The Graphene Flagship Spintronics WP enters its last and most applied phase

by Àlex Argemí

A kick-off event finishing today summarises the next steps to be taken by the work package led by ICREA Prof. Stephan Roche into Core 3, the new phase of the Graphene Flagship designed to advance toward the commercialisation of graphene and layered materials. The event served to introduce new companies and new challenges that will boost graphene-enabled spintronic technologies to higher technology readiness levels.

The Graphene Flagship work package 2, devoted to spintronics and led by ICREA Prof. Stephan Roche, is finishing today a two-day online event to kick-off a new phase of the project called Core 3. The Graphene Flagship recently transitioned into Core 3 to boost the advance toward the commercialisation of graphene and layered materials in the last three years of this initiative. Core 3 is the fourth funding cycle of the €1 Billion research initiative funded by the European Commission initially envisioned to last 10 years.

In the context of the Spintronics work package this transition means the design of practical graphene spintronic devices such as coupled nano-oscillators for applications in fields of space communication, high‐speed radio links, vehicle radar, interchip communication applications and the development of innovative Spin Transfer Torque (STT) and Spin Orbit Torque (SOT) Magnetic Random Access Memories (MRAM). Work package 2 pursues establishing the ultimate potential of graphene and two-dimensional materials for spintronic applications which could spread in the Internet of Things applications.

The work package 2 Core 3 kick-off event is being conducted by its brand new Leader, ICREA Prof. Stephan Roche, Group Leader of the ICN2 Theoretical and Computational Nanoscience, assisted by its former Leader and now Deputy Leader, Prof. Kevin Garello, who is now working at CEA/Spintec (France). The event is presenting and defining the next steps of the four main tasks of the work package: Process and materials optimization, Magnetization control and dynamics (led by ICN2 ICREA Prof. Sergio Valenzuela), New 2D magnetic and spin-orbit materials for enhancing spintronic device functionalities and Large scale compatibility. The event also served to introduce Raquel Andino, from the ICN2 Competitive Funding Deartment, who will manage the financial aspects of the work package, and Lilei Ye, from Chalmers Industrieteknik, who is the new Business Developer.

In order to promote graphene-enabled spintronics technologies the Graphene Flagship Core 3 opened a call to enrol new companies that brought to the consortium new specific industrial and technology transfer competences. During the event two new companies joining the Spintronics work package were introduced: Graphenea, a Spanish leading graphene company manufacturing and supplying graphene products and materials for industrial and research uses, and Singulus Technologies, a German manufacturer of photovoltaic, semiconductor and optical disc manufacturing equipment, also well connected with MRAM technologies as tools provider. With the knowledge brought by these companies together with the experience shared by IMEC, a world-leading R&D and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, the work package has what is needed to move towards industrial applications.

The kick-off event reflects the excitement of the work package partners. Despite spintronics being a discipline coming from fundamental and theoretical physics, they have special focus on innovative research to boost graphene-enabled technologies to higher technology readiness levels. This is the second Graphene Flagship work package led by ICN2 researchers, together with the Biomedical Technologies (WP5) led by Prof. Kostas Kostarelos, Group Leader of the ICN2 Group devoted to Nanomedicine who also leads the Graphene Flagship Health, Medicine and Sensors Division. The strong involvement of the ICN2 in this international initiative reflects its enormous innovation potential.