Graphene is perhaps the single most exciting material known to man. It is, so to speak, a material full of promise. It is likely to transform the world in which we live and it is likely to make many people very rich. Those who invest in graphene in the earliest phases of the development cycle stand to make the most from this modern wonder; and so, to invest in graphene now has to be an absolute no-brainer.
For those who want more than just an idle speculation written on the back of a napkin I suggest you consider a recent report from IdTechEx, which forecasts that sales of graphene will reach the 100 million dollars mark by 2018; this from a product that has, at the time of writing, hardly reached the High Street.
What are the benefits of investing in graphene?
Such sales forecasts are based on the versatility of the material and the potential for its incorporation into almost anything. It has already been used to make conductive inks, sports equipment and the hulls of boats, but its true potential is inexcusably vast. Expect to see graphene featuring in smart packaging, super capacitors, composites, ITO replacement, sensors, as well as in the energy industry. Graphene is absolutely set to transform our world.
In which graphene companies should you invest?
So, for those people wishing to invest in graphene, where is the best place to turn? Well, a number of companies are very prominently involved in the development of the nano-material and in researching its capabilities. Many of the big technology companies have a vested interest in the material, as few can afford to be left behind, and some lesser known specialists operating within the nanotechnology field, largely start-ups that have grown out of university research units, are also developing a presence. Choosing which to invest in is, however, no easy thing.
To make things slightly easier it is possibly worth deciding upon a sector of the industry and researching the companies that operate within it. Knowing a little about the science can also help to uncover those companies likely to adopt graphene technology in the future. For now, however, it is perhaps enough to think about the production phase of the industry.
When considering production it is worth knowing that graphene is produced by a number of methods, the two most developed being exfoliation and chemical vapour deposition (hereafter referred to as CVD). Each method produces a slightly different form of the material and each form has the potential to be used for different things. Exfoliating graphene, the cheaper of the two production methods, results in small islands of bilayer product that can be incorporated into energy storage devices, composite building materials,etc. Higher grade CVD graphene is much more expensive to produce but has the potential for use as a replacement for indium tin oxide in the manufacture of smart phones and electronic devices. As someone looking to invest in graphene it would be wise to research each production method and explore the opportunities therein.
A good place to begin your research would be Grafoid, GrafTech, CVD Equipment Corporation and Oxford Instruments. These companies all have an involvement in the graphene industry whether it be in the direct production of the material or in the supply of the specialist technology required for its production.