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INTERVIEW with Versarien CEO about the launch of `Nanene’


Versarien Plc (LON:VRS) CEO Neill Ricketts talks to DirectorsTalk about the launch of its new brand ‘Nanene’. Neill explains what it is, what it will be used for, other areas of focus and the challenges of being at the forefront of the commercialization of graphene.

Versarien plc is an advanced engineering materials group. Leveraging proprietary technology, the Group creates innovative engineering solutions for its clients in a diverse range of industries. The group has five subsidiaries operating under two divisions, thermal and hard wear products & graphene and plastics. Nanene is high quality few layer graphene produced using a patented manufacturing method. Developed on the University of Manchester campus and then scaled up in a dedicated production facility, Nanene is a product that offers independently proven performance benefits. The process is scaleable, cost effective, offers high utilisation and is environmentally friendly.

Neill Ricketts, CEO, commented: “We have already demonstrated that we can deliver high quality sizable graphene orders quickly and are confident of securing further significant orders in the coming months.”

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UNIST Scientists Grow Atomically Thin semiconducting Oxide on Graphene


UNIST Scientists Grow Atomically Thin semiconducting Oxide on Graphene

[avatar user=”zinajc” size=”50px” align=”left” /]

By Dr. Zina Jarrahi Cinker
NGA Executive Director

UNIST has introduced a new method to fabricate the world’s thinnest oxide semiconductor. This heterostructure is formed by directly growing a single-atom-thick zinc oxide layer on top of graphene through atomic layer deposition.

This graphic displays the growth of ZnO on graphene layer, consists of interconnected hexagons of carbon atoms. Zinc atom shown as red spheres, oxygen atom as green spheres. Credit: UNIST.

The bandgap of the monolayer ZnO is experimentally determined to be ~ 4.0 eV which is quite large and will in turn help with reducing noise and leakage current in devices.

“The heteroepitaxial stack of the thinnest 2D oxide semiconductors on graphene has potential for future optoelectronic device applications associated with high optical transparency and flexibility. Flexible, high-performance devices are indispensable for conventional wearable electronics, which have been attracting attention recently. With this new material, we can achieve truly high-performance flexible devices,” said professor Lee, the lead Materials Scientist at UNIST.

More information: Hyo-Ki Hong et al, Atomic Scale Study on Growth and Heteroepitaxy of ZnO Monolayer on Graphene, Nano Letters (2017). DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.6b03621

Versarien announces the Launch of new Graphene Brand: Nanene



 Launch of Nanene

Versarien plc (AIM:VRS) (“Versarien” or the “Company”), the advanced materials group, is pleased to announce the launch of the Company’s new graphene brand, Nanene.

Nanene is manufactured using Versarien’s patent protected, mechanised exfoliation process. This process uses high shearing forces to separate the layers of graphite to sheets of graphene which are less than ten atoms thick, with the majority being less than five atoms thick, ensuring the properties of Nanene are superior to materials already established as the industry norm.

Versarien has taken this process from the laboratory to scalable production by investments in labour and capital, increasing both throughput and yields.  The result of this is an independently verified, high quality graphene product, Nanene, produced in a manufacturing process that can be scaled to meet ever increasing customer demands.  

Nanene can be used in a variety of applications including in high-end applications in carbon fibre composites, such as the order announced on 29 November 2016, which was achieved with a tripling of manufacturing capacity on a short lead time.

Further information on Nanene may be found at the dedicated website, www.nanene.com.

 Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien, commented: “Having moved from the R&D phase and secured our first sizable order, we are pleased to launch our new graphene brand, Nanene.  Versarien manufactured graphene is of the highest quality and our patent protected manufacturing process allows Nanene to be produced in large volumes at market leading prices.

“We have already demonstrated that we can deliver high quality sizable graphene orders quickly and are confident of securing further significant orders in the coming months.”

 For further information please contact:

Versarien plc


Neill Ricketts – Chief Executive Officer

+44 (0) 1242 269 122

Chris Leigh – Chief Financial Officer


WH Ireland (Nominated Adviser)


Mike Coe / Ed Allsopp

+44 (0) 117 945 3470


IFC Advisory (Financial PR and IR) 


Tim Metcalfe / Graham Herring / Heather Armstrong /

Miles Nolan

+44 (0) 20 3053 8671


About Versarien

Versarien plc (AIM:VRS), is an advanced engineering materials group. Leveraging proprietary technology, the Group creates innovative engineering solutions for its clients in a diverse range of industries. Versarien has five subsidiaries operating under two divisions:

Thermal and Hard Wear Products

Versarien Technologies Ltd. which owns the exclusive rights to a patent-protected additive process for creating advanced micro-porous metals targeting the thermal management industry and manufactures extruded aluminium heat sinks for the electronics and computing industries. http://bit.ly/2kMt3JK 

Total Carbide Ltd, a leading manufacturer in sintered tungsten carbide for applications in arduous environments such as the oil and gas industry. www.totalcarbide.com 

 Graphene and Plastics

2-DTech Ltd, which specialises in the supply, characterisation and early stage development of graphene products.  www.2-dtech.com 

ACC Cyroma Ltd, which specialises in the supply of vacuum-formed and injection-moulded products to the automotive, construction, utilities and retail industry sectors. Using Versarien’s existing graphene manufacturing capabilities, AAC will have the ability to produce graphene-enhanced plastic products.  www.aaccyroma.co.uk

 Cambridge Graphene Ltd, which supplies novel inks based on graphene and related materials, using patented processes and develops graphene materials technology for licensing to manufacturers.  http://bit.ly/2k1MLwQ 

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GRAFOID Introduces GrafeneX: A Graphene Adherent and Multi-Functional Coating



A Focus Graphite Related Company Introduces a Novel Platform for Industrial Scale Hydrophobic/Hydrophilic Ultra-Thin Graphene Coatings for Metal, Glass, Polymer, Ceramic and Other Substrate Applications

KINGSTON, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Feb. 7, 2017) – Grafoid Inc., a world leading graphene R&D and investment company announces its entry into the global industrial coatings market with the introduction of its patent pending GrafeneX graphene coatings technology. Grafoid’s largest shareholder is Focus Graphite Inc. (TSX VENTURE:FMS)(OTCQX:FCSMF)(FRANKFURT:FKC), owner of the Lac Knife high-grade flake graphite deposit in Quebec. Focus Graphite holds two off-take agreements with Grafoid to supply it with high-purity graphite for graphene application commercialization with joint venture partners.

GrafeneX is a novel technology that creates a platform for the deposition of Graphene and chemically functionalized Graphene coatings. This enabling process provides Grafoid with the capability to apply its diverse graphene-based coatings to many different types of material substrates with controllable levels of surface coverage, thickness etc. to meet precise end user requirements. 

One of the key obstacles to graphene’s broad, universal industrial acceptance is the absence to date of low-cost, high performing graphene applications that can be successfully adapted for use across all industrial sectors. BCC Market Research reports the global market for paints and coatings is anticipated to rise to $164.1 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate of 4.4% from 2016-2021. Other market research indicates even higher revenue values.

Grafoid President and CEO Gary Economo described the GrafeneX technologies as a cost-effective way of laying down graphene coatings on large surface areas. “Demand exists for advanced multifunctional technologies capable of successfully disrupting existing business models,” Mr. Economo said. “We believe our novel, low-cost, coating technologies will encourage interest from those industries developing next generation materials and products.”

About GrafeneX

The GrafeneX process applies Graphene based coatings to substrate materials including polymers, glasses, most metals and refractories. (Figure 1)

GrafeneX is applied using a proprietary, room temperature, top-down process, designed as an inline continuous surface conversion process compatible with most conventional industrial coil-to-coil and roll-to-roll coating facilities. In its typical embodiment, the process sequence would include: surface preparation (cleaning & activation), graphene oxide application, removal of a benign carrier and conversion to a Graphene based surface coating.

To the greatest degree, the GrapheneX process uses commonly available conversion coating technologies, has a straightforward modular design with a compact footprint that is scalable with production speed. A GrafeneX line can either be retrofitted to existing finishing lines, or function as a stand-alone finishing system.

Mr. Economo said that the GrafeneX line of technologies and services are consistent with Grafoid’s business model for long-term growth and revenue sustainability through joint venturing, licensing and fees for services. “As of today, with near zero competition, our GrafeneX technologies position our Company us as a front-runner for large area graphene coatings development,” Mr. Economo said.

GrafeneX enabling characteristics and properties include:

  • The ability to coat large surfaces on metals, semiconductors, ceramics, polymers and glass and the ability to coat fibers, rods and bars
  • Designed for coil-to-coil and conveyor applications from batch to continuous process
  • Environmentally safe to benign, flexible technology in terms of coatings uses for: hydrophobic, hydrophilic, super hydrophobic, oleophobic and oleophilic applications
  • Variable coating thickness (from monolayer to few layer)
  • Many of the physical/chemical properties are tunable (Figure 2)
  • Good adhesion to substrates (as tested using the ASTM E-335 on aluminum foil) (Figure 3)

GrafeneX coating technology may be used in various industrial, consumer, military, marine, avionics, energy storage, packaging, building materials, electronics, transportation, environmental remediation, intelligent fabrics, sporting goods and medical industries.

Four versions of GrafeneX coatings labeled A to D are available, namely:

GrafeneX (A) which serves many sectors as a precursor coating with hydrophilic properties.

GrafeneX (B) are electrically conductive, hydrophobic coatings, or with tunable electric conduction and may be used for:

  • Li-ion battery electrode materials, or other energy storage devices
  • Supercapacitors
  • EMI shielding applications
  • Transparent and flexible electronics
  • Nanoelectronics
  • Nanogenerators
  • Solar cells
  • Fuel cells and hydrogen storage
  • Photodetectors
  • Organic LEDs (OLEDs) and displays
  • Corrosion protection

GrafeneX (C) are super-hydrophobic coatings which may be used as:

  • Water-repellant and anti-fouling coatings
  • Self-cleaning surfaces
  • Anti-icing and anti-fogging coatings for:
    • Windows
    • Eyeglasses
  • Corrosion protective coatings for a variety of industries, including:
    • Automotive
    • Marine

GrafeneX (D) coatings have hydrophilic properties and may be used as:

  • Paint primers and pre-treatments
  • Adhesion-promoting coatings for joining two dissimilar materials, such as attaching polymers to metals (example: automotive industry)

More intensive applications can potentially include:

  • Surface modification of implants or scaffold materials in tissue engineering
  • Drug delivery & cancer therapy
  • Bio-sensors, electrochemical biosensors
  • Other types of sensors, such as: Contact sensors, nanoelectromechanical sensors, chemical sensors, non-contact sensors, etc.

About Grafoid Inc.

Grafoid is focused on three areas of graphene-related technology development seen as “low-hanging fruit” for industrial adoption. They are graphene based materials for energy creation, storage and transmission; graphene based polymers and; graphene coatings for all industrial sectors.A privately held Canadian corporation, Grafoid invests in graphene applications and economically scalable production processes for graphene and graphene derivatives from raw, unprocessed graphite ore. Focus Graphite Inc. holds a significant interest in Grafoid Inc.

Incorporated in 2011, Grafoid’s global enterprise platform includes 17 subsidiary companies engaged in the development of Mesograf™ materials and products, and GrafeneX ultra-thin graphene industrial coatings and commercialization development services. They include, but are not limited to: Mesograf™ lithium batteries for electric vehicles, consumer electronics, and industrial energy storage; polymers, plastics, rubber, elastomers, and composite materials; fiber science including aluminum alloys; lubricants; fire retardant materials; thermal management solutions; EMI/RFI/EMP shielding; solar solutions, and analytical testing; and laboratory services.

Grafoid’s research is supported through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) of the National Research Council of Canada, and, on February 20, 2015, Grafoid received an $8.1 million investment from the SD Tech Fund™ of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to develop a technology that will automate Mesograf™ graphene production and end-product development. SDTC is mandated by the Government of Canada to support clean technology companies as they move their technologies to market.

More information about Grafoid

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Q&A with Haydale Chief Executive Officer Ray Gibbs


Haydale Graphene Industries PLC (LON:HAYD) Chief Executive Officer Ray Gibbs caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their collaboration with Everpower International Holdings Co. Ltd, global strategy, the Chinese market, protected IP, next generation commercial products and further opportunities

Q1: Ray, some exciting news out today, can you provide a little bit more background on the collaboration agreement with Everpower and the proposed strategic investment announced earlier today? Is it part of Haydale’s global strategy to commercialise its technology?

A1: The short answer is yes, we’ve been looking at trying to, quietly for a long time, it’s the world’s second biggest market, we didn’t want to go into China until we were ready and we were happy with an industrial partner that could sell and market and make the products that we’ve got. In my announcement, I did say that we view them as an excellent platform to launch our products into China and yes, it is part of the globalisation strategy, correct.

Q2: What products will Haydale’s technology be used for in the Chinese market and more importantly, is the group’s IP protected?

A2: We have a patented process on our reactor so that’s good. What we’re doing is initially setting ourselves up with a Hong Kong subsidiary which we own, we will sell our existing products into China and Everpower are setting up a Chinese company to buy the products and sell them directly into China. That runs from our inks, some sensors, the silicon carbide out of America and a range of products that we’ve currently got on tap so they’re going to buy them, they’re going to sell them into marketplace and then after that we’re going to enter into a contract with regards to the make/buy where they will make the material and products under licence, in China, and sell direct.

Q3: Now, Haydale has also secured some contracts to develop a number of next generation commercial products, can you elaborate on these contracts and do they provide further opportunities for going forward?

A3: I guess they do and there are a number of them and they’re quite discreet products that are aiming at trying to get a commercial product out the door as quickly as we can. We have announced the hydrogen storage vessel, and that’s one of our key products that of course the Chinese are interested in too, where we’re working with Arcola Energy, we’re putting in a system which is aimed at creating an omissions-free 3,500 kilo van using hydrogen storage so that’s one.

We have developed an agreement with the Malaysian government through our Thailand office to put our graphene materials into natural rubbers and that’s a first step project that’s going to then move into products that they want to exploit in Malaysia themselves.

I’ll just step on one other as well because the oil and gas industry is a really big thing for us, it’s a lot of in-built technology in Haydale Composite Solutions which we bought in November 2014. We have a contract to certify some composite pipes for the oil and gas industry using the testing facilities which we put in and announced to the marketplace about 6-9 months ago.

So, lots of exciting things, we could talk about the Space Agency and Wave Energy and those sort of things but they’re all based on our existing current graphene dispersions, inks, pastes, coatings technologies so this is actually trying to put next generation products into place to underpin our growth going forward.
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Interdisciplinary Research At Mississippi State University Aims To Advance Uses Of Graphene In Aerospace



An interdisciplinary team of top researchers at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi, is studying ways to better protect airplanes from lightning strikes and spacecraft from micrometeoroid orbital debris.

The research group is closely looking at ways to grow aerospace applications of graphene in composite materials. Bringing together faculty, graduate students and undergraduates from the university’s departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering, the team works to understand graphene and its effects on composite materials from the molecular- to macro-structural length levels. 

Dr. Thomas Lacy (Photo by Beth Wynn)

MSU Professor of Aerospace and Computational Engineering Thomas Lacy said graphene’s ability to efficiently conduct electricity can enhance the uses of multifunctional composite materials in aircraft. Lacy is a Georgia Institute of Technology doctoral graduate who is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He currently is serving as president of the American Society for Composites.

“We will bond a really thin graphene layer on top of a typical carbon fiber/epoxy composite used for aircraft wings and bodies. When subjected to a simulated laboratory lightning strike, the graphene layer reduces damage to the underlying composite,” Lacy said. “The basic idea is that a graphene coating layer will conduct away the heat and electricity in ways that don’t lead to explosive damage.”

The team’s work largely is funded through external research grants from private companies such as Boeing and public agencies such as the Department of Energy, NASA and the National Science Foundation. 

Lacy credits the work of MSU Emeritus Professor of Organic Chemistry Charles Pittman, Professor of Chemistry Steven Gwaltney and Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering Santanu Kundu with helping him understand graphene at the molecular level. Professor of Electrical Engineering Mike Mazzola also is a core member of the group.

Dr. Santanu Kundu (Photo by Beth Wynn)

Kundu, an NSF Early Career Award recipient and Clemson University doctoral graduate, is one of the few people in Mississippi with the ability to make graphene platelets, which are nanosized sheets of carbon one atom thick, to enhance composite materials. During a two-to-three-day process, Kundu is able to turn pieces of graphite into graphene by placing them in an organic liquid where ultrasonication, followed by centrifugation, eventually separates the graphene. 

“I am a chemical engineer, so I know how to make graphene and how to characterize it, but I may not be able to incorporate it into engineering composite structures without Dr. Lacy’s help,” Kundu said. “If I have a chemistry problem, I know I can go to Dr. Pittman for a solution.”

Dr. Charles Pittman (Photo by Megan Bean)

Pittman and other researchers use electron microscopy to examine dispersion of the nanometer-thin material. Chemists and chemical engineers are able to modify and tailor the surface chemistry of the graphene so it is less self-attractive and also promote graphene’s attractive interactions with matrix polymers and resins when dispersed into these materials.

“Graphene is tremendously strong for its weight,” Pittman said. “It’s far stronger than steel in terms of strength per unit weight. That’s why we like it. You want to lower the weight of aircraft so you can put more people in, fly it farther and get better fuel economy.”

Pittman is a 1964 doctoral graduate of Pennsylvania State University and did postdoctoral studies at Dow Chemical Co. and Case Western Reserve University. He joined MSU’s faculty in 1983 and founded and served for many years as the research director of the University/Industry Chemical Research Center. Pittman has published more than 800 research papers, chapters, patents and 17 books.

Gwaltney has collaborated with Lacy and Pittman on molecular dynamics simulations of graphene and graphene oxide interactions with solvents, liquid resins and cured resin matrices. He predicts adhesive interactions to graphene and corresponding mechanical properties. Gwaltney is a doctoral graduate of the University of Florida and conducted postdoctoral studies at the University of California at Berkeley.  

Dr. Mike Mazzola (Photo by Megan Bean)

Mazzola provides the expertise to conduct laboratory generated lightning strikes on sample plane parts in the university’s High Voltage Laboratory. In the lab, researchers can see how materials react to receiving over 200,000 amps of electricity in only 15-100 microseconds. Mazzola is holder of the Jack Hatcher Chair for Entrepreneurship at MSU and is a doctoral graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.

Graphene has potential applications in increasing the stealth capabilities of military aircraft. The material may be used in high-temperature regions such as jet engines to conduct heat away from hotspots, and it has potential applications in protecting space vehicles. 

“We’ve studied graphene as an outer ballistic protection layer for space structures to mitigate micro-meteoroid orbital debris,” Lacy said. “You get tiny pieces of space dust or orbital debris that are moving 70 kilometers per second. Lightweight graphene layers can be used to help break up the projectile and you can try to trap the resulting high-energy debris cloud.”

Lacy emphasized that working across disciplines in a way that Pittman often describes as “operating in their discomfort zone” strengthens the scientific process.

“So an aerospace engineer like me works with a polymer/organic chemist, chemical engineer and electrical engineer in ways that cross-pollinate and grow a level of understanding and allow us to interact and exchange ideas. It leads to very good science,” Lacy said.

In addition to working across disciplines at MSU, the group also is collaborating with researchers from the University of Mississippi, Jackson State University and University of Southern Mississippi. UM Professor of Civil Engineering Ahmed Al-Ostaz also makes graphene paper, which he has supplied to the MSU team.

“We’re putting together a Mississippi materials consortium, and graphene is an important part of that,” Lacy said. “We’re always on the lookout to involve other researchers and capabilities in ways that lead to new discovery.”

Feature story, photos and video provided by Mississippi State University.