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Posted on March 2, 2017 by  & 

CVD Graphene: an ongoing technology development with high potential

IDTechEx has invited a series of industrial players and leader active in graphene commercialization to contribute their opinions about the state of the technology and markets.
As part of article series, we will today hear from Graphenea who write about the potential markets for CVD graphene. To contact Graphenea directly please contact the author Mr Inigo Charola on
To learn more about the graphene markets please refer to the IDTechEx report Graphene, 2D Materials, and Carbon Nanotubes 2016-2026: Markets, Technologies, and Opportunities. You can also meet with many industry leaders at our business-focused event Graphene Europe 2017 taking place on 10-11 May, in Berlin, Germany.
New technologies - and innovations - do not arise out of nowhere as flashes of genius. They are based on finding new ways of combining existing building blocks. For Graphene to have an impact in our life, it has to be used along with other building blocks. Since it was first reported in Science Magazine "Electric Field Effect in Atomically Thin Carbon Films", in 2004, the world scientist, leading companies and entrepreneurs has been investing resources to create a new powerful building block that can support the development of various technologies.
A lot has been reported about new applications where graphene can have an impact, either creating new product categories or enhancing existing products. Creating applications has been the main challenge so far and now we can observe its fruits in many different field with high impact.

Recent industrial applications reported with high potential impact using CVD Graphene

Current sensing technology isn't compatible with new demands for throughput, integration, and precision in biology. Graphene Biosensors are capable to provide a fusion of biology and electronics that fundamentally transforms biological testing capabilities, size and speed. AGILE biosensor chips, manufactured by Nanomedical Diagnostics, Inc, are made with graphene, that supports high sensitivity, small volumes, and a small footprint.
AGILE biosensor chips
Being transparent to all wavelengths, graphene represents the ideal substrate and transparent contact for ultraviolet light emitting diodes (UV LEDs).
Nanowires on graphene enables critical improved internal quantum efficiency, operating lifetime, and reliability, especially for deep UV. The result is UV LEDs with 10 times higher efficiency at less than 10 % of the cost of existing deep UV LEDs.
This significant improvement in efficiency, reduction in energy consumption and cost advantage will radically enable new applications and improve critical applications such as water and food processing disinfection, air purification and environmental monitoring and life science measurements.
CrayoNano has developed a novel technique that enables growth of positioned and vertically aligned nanowires on graphene.
Imaging: X-Ray, NIR and Night Vision
The excellent responsivity and noise performance of the graphene sensors leads to high fidelity image quality with smaller X-ray dosages and competitive manufacturing costs compared to existing sensor technologies. The large dynamic range of the sensor ensures the capture of detailed images even in case of extreme intensity level variations with a single exposure. Graphene-based sensors are well suited to various applications for example medical and industrial X-ray imaging, quality control and security.
Graphene sensors have an excellent detectivity performance over a wide spectrum of wavelengths from visible to NIR and SWIR light and thus they enable passive imaging in low natural light conditions. These sensors can be built on silicon substrates and integrated on CMOS wafers, which leads to a competitive manufacturing cost.
Potential application areas of broad-spectrum imaging sensors include passive and active imaging solutions in low-light conditions, for example in automotive, aviation, surveillance, security and search-and-rescue applications.
Imaging is one of the most active areas for CVD graphene with leading institutions, like ICFO, and companies, Emberion, developing novel products.
Night vision graphene chip
Wafer scale integration for CVD graphene
Graphene wafer scale integration allows many applications to be realized on commercial scale (logic, HF, optoelectronics, telecommunications, sensors and flexible electronics). Industry demands a demonstrator made with actually compatible CMOS processes, then spill-over to other applications is possible and broad adoption will begin
Currently, there is no actually realized opportunity on the horizon that justifies this whole development, incentives (cost/performance) are currently not high enough for the semiconductor industry
Wafer Scale Integration will allow:
  • Diffusion of technology to semiconductor factories
  • Meet industry demand of a demonstrator made with actually compatible CMOS processes
  • Deliver very clear cost/performance advantage for the semiconductor industry to justify investments in new machinery or materials
After Graphene wafer scale integration is available, many applications will be realized on commercial scale. Therefore, Graphene, as a product, will reach a new stage of industrialization. In the years since the experimental discovery of graphene this material has been produced at Lab scale and for research use, creating a certain demand of the material that has been sold at high prices and very low volumes. Wafer Scale Integration will make possible the use of the outstanding properties of graphene in real semiconductor production plants.
Graphenea is working on Graphene Integration on CMOS-Fab. This development will allow large-scale manufacture of 200mm CMOS-compatible graphene wafers (SEMI Standards), with low metal contamination levels. The industrial production method will produce uniform, large-scale/high-performance graphene in high yields and a reliable manner.
Future challenges
Graphene and other 2D materials are creating a new building block that will bring many new combinations, thus many innovative applications. Still, more work has to be done for developing the material to reach the outstanding properties this carbon allotrope can really offer us. Improved electron mobility, crystal size and doping control could be the more relevant for the semiconductor industry. In addition, to set standardization and quality control systems is of high importance. Adapting an existing technology to a new material process quality system seems the most viable option. Characterization instruments offered are mostly stand-alone off-line devices, so equipment adapted to industrial environment where graphene wafers will be tested in-line operations will be needed.
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