Graphene Flagship – the EU's biggest research initiative ever, and, according to the European Commission, 'history's greatest distinction for excellent research'– is closely linked to the Graphene Centre at Chalmers. With a budget of EUR one billion, the Graphene Flagship is tasked with taking graphene from the realm of academic laboratories into European society in the space of ten years – thus generating economic growth, new jobs and new opportunities for Europeans as both investors and employees. There are already 126 research groups from universities, research institutes and companies on-board the flagship.
Chalmers is heading and coordinating the entire flagship. The director is Jari Kinaret, Professor of Physics at Chalmers. With a vision of obtaining good returns on European taxpayer funds, Jari Kinaret took the initiative to form a graphene research flagship. Graphene has many exceptional properties – to the point it can spark a technical revolution. The European Commission values the initiative and launched Graphene Flagship as its first research flagship in 2013.
As coordinator of Graphene Flagship, Chalmers is tasked with representing the flagship for the European Commission and to the outside world, as well as for ensuring the flagship delivers as promised. The level of ambition and expectations are high, and it is still difficult for researchers to determine which applications and usage areas are feasible. The initial commercial products will most likely not place high demands on graphene in terms of quality. Examples might include strong, lightweight composites that can be used in applications for sports equipment and airplanes. With its favourable electrical conductivity graphene would also be suitable for use as the electrode in lithium batteries or in the ink used in printed electronics.
Chalmers is also involved in Graphene Flagship as a research partner. Approximately one-fifth of Chalmers' graphene-related research projects are included in the flagship. One research group at the Department of Applied Physics is taking part within the field of modelling and optimisation of graphene-based nanoelectromechanical sensors. Three groups from the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience are participating. Two of them are focusing on design, modelling and demonstration of high-frequency electrical components and circuits. The third group is focusing on basic studies of graphene, including the quantum Hall effect and patterning of graphene on nanolevel. Calculated in money, the Chalmers groups constitute 2.5 per cent of the flagship's total amount of research.