By Suzette Norris
Two hundred times stronger than steel, graphene is a thin, flexible conductor that could form the basis of a whole range of next generation devices such as ultrafast transistors that will dramatically increase the processing speed of a smartphone or tablet PC.
Hailed as the “miracle material” in the world of electronics and photonics, scientists around the world are studying how to make graphene a commercially viable industrial material. Scientists at Xerox Research Centre of Canada (XRCC) are no exception. In fact, the center just crossed its 2,000th patent milestone with an invention dubbed “Graphene Nano-Sheets and Methods for Making the Same” (U.S. Patent #8,734,683).
“Some of the most pressing scientific challenges today are due to the limitations of materials,” said Paul Smith, vice president and centre manager. “It’s fitting that our 2,000th patent reflects our proven expertise in materials science and points to the new innovative materials we are exploring for digital manufacturing, including materials to make smart 3D structures that support the Internet of Everything.”
XRCC researchers Yiliang Wu and Sandra Gardner were the inventors named on the patent. Yiliang, a principal scientist, leads the center’s printable electronics activities, and holds more than 100 U.S. patents. Sandra, a research technologist, specializes in materials characterization, an area that uses various techniques to probe into the internal structure and properties of a material.
During the past 40 years, XRCC researchers have been instrumental in designing key proprietary materials and production processes for Xerox printers and copiers. Today, it delivers solutions in printing as well as electronic materials, consumer packaging, sustainable chemical processes, coatings and security/authentication.
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