Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb (hexagons or chicken-wire) crystal lattice. Researchers started to study Graphene in 2004, and since then they have found dozens of potential applications and exciting properties of this wonder material. Graphene is set to revolutionize a lot of industries, including sensors, batteries, conductors, displays, electronics, energy generation, medicine and more.
Graphene is the strongest material ever developed - 200 times stronger than steel and tougher than a diamond. It's also the world's thinnest material, and it is flexible and transparent. Graphene is also the best heat and electricity conductor. As can be expected, the research community is very excited about this material, and the business world follows suit. The commercialization of graphene is just in its infancy, but already dozens of new companies have been established to develop graphene based material, graphene production processes and other related activities.
There are over a hundred companies directly involved with graphene. Many of these companies are private start-ups in early-stages, but some pure-play graphene companies are public. The following sections will list some of those companies, and also some other investment ideas. For a more in-depth analysis of the possibility of investing in graphene, and a complete public companies listing, see our Graphene Investment Guide.
Pure-play graphene companies
In the past few years several graphene producers and graphene application developers started trading in stock exchanges around the world - mostly in Australia, Canada and the UK. Here we'll list some of those companies:
Versarien (AIM:VRS) is an advanced materials group leveraging proprietary technology to create innovative engineering solutions for its clients in a diverse range of industries - focusing on graphene materials. z
Applied Graphene Materials was established in 2010 as a spin-off from Durham University to develop a new graphene synthesis method and produce graphene materials. AGM's technology is a unique patented scalable 'bottom-up' CVD approach to produce graphene. AGM is a public company that lists in the UK's AIM stock exchange (AIM:AGM). AGM mainly targets graphene composites, coatings, lubricants, thermal management solutions and energy storage devices.
Graphene 3D Labs (TSX:GGG) is focusing on development of high-performance graphene-enhanced materials for 3D printing. The company was spun-off Graphene Labs with support from Lomiko Metals (who holds 15% of the company).
Other graphene investment options
Several large and public companies (such as Samsung, Intel, Nokia, IBM and Sony) are involved in graphene research. These companies may be on the forefront of graphene research - especially in high-end fields such as electronics and photonics - but graphene, even if successful, will probably represent a small portion of their business.
Another option is to invest in graphene production equipment. Aixtron AG, for example, is a provider of deposition equipment to the semiconductor industry who offers the BM Pro systems (previously called Black Magic systems) that can be used to deposit graphene using both chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). Aixtron trades in the NASDAQ (ticker:AIXG), but was recently acquired by Chinese fund. US-based CVD Equipment Corporation also offers graphene R&D and production equipment. CVD Equipment trades in the NASDAQ (ticker: CVV).
Interested in graphene investing? our graphene investment guide includes detailed information on over a dozen public graphene companies.
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The latest graphene investing and financials news:
A few months ago, Paragraf announced the close of its £12.8 million (over $16 million USD ) Series A round led by Parkwalk. Now, the Company added £3.4 million (almost $4.5 million USD) to its series A round, with Draper Esprit joining as significant investor, bringing the total to £16.2 million (around $21.4 million USD).
The additional funding is meant to enable Paragraf to significantly accelerate the delivery of its first graphene-based electronics products to market, transitioning the company into a commercial, revenue-generating entity.
The Graphene Flagship has announced the launch of eleven new "Spearhead Projects", each developed to take graphene-enabled prototypes to commercial applications. Now, the Graphene Flagship has committed €45 million to invest in eleven commercialization projects led by key industrial partners in Europe such as Airbus, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, Lufthansa Technik, Siemens, and ABB. Notably, the project partners will also co-fund the projects with a further combined contribution of €47 million, showing their interest in the development of graphene-enabled products.
The newly launched projects combine the results of the Graphene Flagship's innovative scientific research with the ambitions of commercial partners for marketable applications. This initiative will bring the number of companies involved in the Graphene Flagship to 78, which makes up nearly half of the whole consortium.
Advanced materials group Haydale Graphene recently raised £450,000 (around $580,000 USD) following the issue of new shares.
Haydale said the funds will be used for general working capital purposes. Haydale also noted that it had approximately £2.47m of cash as of 31 October.
University of Nebraska Lincoln receives $4.5 million from Department of Defense for graphene research
The University of Nebraska Lincoln has partnered with the Department of Defense and received a $4.5 million, 3-year grant for graphene research. The University was one of several institutions chosen, and the only institution to lead the research effort.
After 8 years of research, the research team at Nebraska said this grant is pushing them one step closer to creating graphene technology. "This research actually has many practical applications, so we expect the structures we are making can be used in various electronic devices or electronic circuits," said Alex Sinitskii, an associate professor of Chemistry at the University.
Applied Graphene Materials, which recently reported a widening annual loss, has decided to re-align itself and focus on graphene dispersion, a process of mixing graphene with other materials to enhance the mechanical and barrier properties of the material.
The company said it will work primarily to grow revenue from a "pipeline of approximately 100 active engagements".