On February 20, 2020, the radio station Deutschlandfunk Kultur has released a feature piece on “Graphene: the flat all-rounder”. Produced by the journalists Jennifer Rieger und Frank Kaspar, the piece offers an accessible overview of the unique properties of graphene, and a well-balanced analysis of the gap between the stellar expectations grown around this material and its current applications.
Since its discovery, graphene has created a huge wave of interest not only in the scientific community, but also in the media and in the general public. In 2013, the European Commission set start to the Graphene Flagship, which, with its 1 billion Euros funding over 10 years, is Europe’s largest-ever research initiative on a single material. And yet, graphene seems to be struggling to find its way to the market.
Trying to answer the question “was graphene just a hype, or will it really be a key material for future applications?”, the two journalists interview several experts, including Christoph Stampfer and Max Lemme from the Aachen Graphene & 2D materials Center, Ursula Wurstbauer and Rudolf Bratschitsch from the University of Münster, Bernhard Schartel from the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing in Berlin, and Christian Kehrt, historian of science and technology at TU Braunschweig.
The resulting 30-min production (in German) can be listened on-line at the address https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/zukunftswerkstoff-graphen-der-flache-alleskoenner.976.de.html?dram:article_id=470739
A transcript of the piece is also available.
“The problem with all radically new technologies is that they initially have no market”, says Christian Kehrt. “It takes time”, says Christoph Stampfer. “All you have to do is look back into history: silicon, for example, was discovered in 1824, and the first integrated circuit in only 1958. Graphene in the form we work with it today is from 2004 – it’s all still extremely young. We have to calibrate our expectations a little bit. And we will see what will come out in the end!”