Blog 12 Jun 2019 Updated 26 Nov 2019 Quality & Standards Setting a New Standard for Graphene, a Game-Changing Material of the Future Share: The Singapore Standard on Structural Characterisation of Graphene Flakes (SS 643 : 2019) was launched in April this year, signalling a boost to the commercialisation of the “wonder material”. Graphene, the world’s thinnest and strongest material, has kept industries abuzz with excitement since it was extracted by Nobel prize-winning researchers in 2004. At only one atom thick, this carbon sheet is 200 times stronger than steel. It is also the most conductive material to electricity and heat. “Graphene is a widely sold material, but there is a large variation in the quality of available graphene. This hinders the progress of R&D and development of graphene applications,” says Alfred Huan, Executive Director of the Institute of Materials Research & Engineering (IMRE) and Chair of the Technical Committee for Nanotechnology. “Hence, it is beneficial to both users and suppliers to have strong standards to ensure reliability of the material properties. With the launch of the SS 643 : 2019 standard, local producers of graphene can set the global benchmark for quality.” How SS 643 : 2019 Assesses Graphene Quality SS 643 : 2019 was developed by a working group ¬appointed by the Technical Committee for Nanotechnology. The group comprises members from research institutions, agencies and the industry. Working group member Ricardo V. B. Oliveira, a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Centre for Advanced 2D Materials, explains that SS 643 : 2019 provides a clear and systematic approach in assessing the characterisation of graphene flakes through four parts. “The four parts that make up the standard are sample preparation, graphene flake size, the level of defects in the material and the number of layers of the graphene flakes,” says Dr Oliveira. How does SS 643 : 2019 ensure consistent quality of graphene? Ensures precise determination of structural properties of graphene flakes by providing an overview of graphene characterisation methods and the procedures in sample preparation Specifies principles and procedure for assessing the lateral size of graphene flakes using Optimal Microscopy1 Lays out principles and procedure to determine the level of defects on graphene flakes by Raman spectroscopy2 Specifies procedures and protocols to determine the thickness and number of layers of graphene flakes using Atomic Force Microscopy3 Did you know? From enabling lighter aircraft bodies and effective water filters to even sportswear with heat retention and antibacterial qualities, superstar graphene is opening up new markets and transforming almost every part of our lives. From Lab to World As graphene is so versatile, researchers all over the world are on a race to explore the material’s numerous possibilities. Korea is developing graphene-based transparent smartphones; America is testing the powering of spacecraft with graphene sponge; Italy is enhancing military wear with graphene; and Norway and Japan are using graphene to generate UV light. With SS 643 : 2019, local manufacturers and graphene users can now develop the right characteristics in the material. This not only ensures the quality of graphene in their products, but also promises happier customers. Vitali Lipik, the R&D director of the Sportmaster Group of Companies, has many reasons to embrace the standard. As a firm believer of the material, he has helped Sportmaster to develop a line of graphene sportswear. “The standard allows us to ensure the consistency of graphene quality from our suppliers. Our sportswear can all have the same levels of light and heat absorbance, transmittance and reflection, as well as antibacterial quality,” says Dr Lipik. A Golden Age for Graphene? The rapidly growing graphene market was worth US$23.7 million in 2015 and is expected to reach US$311.2 million by 2022. Graphene usage will increase especially in the nanotechnology, electronics and energy sectors. Factors such as using it as an alternative to silicon chips and copper will further increase graphene’s market growth. Add to that graphene nanotechnology materials for energy conservation, water filtration and desalination. With the development of the new Singapore Standard for graphene, innovators and enterprises both locally and overseas can look forward to graphene’s golden age – if not now, then in the near future. If you are a manufacturer or user of graphene and want to find out more about SS 643 : 2019, click here. Click here to learn how adopting standards will grow your business. 1 Helps to evaluate lateral size, shape and size distribution of graphene flakes based on the variation of relative intensity of reflected light from the sample. 2 A non-invasive technique that is easy to carry out. 3 Measures incredibly small samples with a great degree of accuracy.