04 July 2013

#Manchester keeps spinning #graphene

The research operation cintelliq ltd "Research, Consulting, Patents for the Organic Semiconductor industry", has a strange news item in the latest issue of its newsletter OSA Direct, which got us all worked up about yet more spin from the Manchester graphene machine.

The story, New graphene spin-out from University of Manchester, covers the formation of 2-DTech, based in the university’s Innovation Centre, and “located in the world’s foremost centre for graphene research and development”. The puzzle is that 2-DTech has been around for something like six months, perhaps longer. Hardly news for a weekly newsletter.

Our extensive filing system threw up an item from February, The University of Manchester and Graphene Commercialisation: Assumptions and Realities, in which Clive Rowland, who runs UMI3 (The University of Manchester Innovation Group), indulges in a Q&A sessions about the launch of 2-DTech. Clive, who knows his onions, explains that the company “makes and sells CVD graphene, graphene platelets, graphene oxide and other advanced materials  with amazing properties, which are being called 2-­D – two dimensional -­ due to their single atomic layer thickness”. As if you didn’t know, CVD stands for Chemical Vapour Deposition.

Unlike many businesses, with an eye on making packets of money out of ideas that exist mostly on paper, 2-DTech is in the first wave of graphene commercialisation and provides stuff for other people to use as they dream up those fancy applications.

Maybe OSA Direct got the idea that this is a new kid on the block from reading an item on the company’s website Graphene – Made in Manchester. Dated 18 June, this makes no claims to being a new business, but it does explain what 2-DTech in more detail. At a quick look it seems that OSA Direct has just added a new beginning to the news item on the company’s website.

The key claim in the company’s news piece, repeated in the newsletter, is that 2-DTech delivers high quality graphene. Taking a sideswipe at the competition it goes on to say “Although there are a large number of graphene-production companies worldwide, some of these provide an inferior quality of material.”

Also in line with the early days of a new technology, 2-DTech offers hand holding service for people who want to put a toe in the graphene water. Along a long lists of services, it says “Talk to us about how graphene can be used in your research/products”. All for a fee, of course. But while this may be the commercial aim, it also seems like a good way of fending off the torrent of would-be visitors to Manchester’s Nobel prize winners and their research teams.

There is an entertaining section on the company’s page about Graphene Products. Down at the bottom it says in a section on Other 2-D materials “Coming Soon”. Given the local activity, we can probably read this as a promise rather than wishful thinking.

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