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When it comes to graphene research centers, one would be likely to think of Manchester (UK) where the National Graphene Institute (NGI) has its own center and is in the process of building a second– The Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC). However, there is a new center that has recently been established at the University of Mississippi (USA) in a joint collaborative venture between the University and the National Graphene Association (NGA).
The NGI has been well established and both the centers in Manchester and the speculation of a new center in Mississippi has recently been mentioned in some of my recent graphene articles. I have known about the potential for the center for a long time and it is great that it is finally coming to fruition, with the help of the NGA and fellow members of the NGA’s advisory board, who are also part of the University.
The Vice Chancellor for Research (Josh Gladden), Director of the University’s Nano Infrastructure Laboratory (Ahmed Al-Ostaz), The Chancellor of the University of Mississippi (Jeffrey Vitter), The Dean of the University of Mississippi School of Engineering (Alex Cheng) and the Dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media (Will Norton) are all members of the NGA advisory board and the University of Mississippi’s faculty, showing that the strong bond and ties between the University and the National Graphene Association have just gotten stronger.
Graphene is one of the strongest materials known. It also has superior thermal, electric, electromagnetic and even antibacterial properties. The wide range of applications will greatly impact technology and spur innovators to develop new products and processes.
Dean, School of Engineering, The University of Mississippi
The center was officially established on 19
th October 2017, but unlike the NGI, it currently has no definitive building. The center is in full effect and is currently operated from many different science departments of the associated faculty. The center is now essentially established and will utilize much of the faculty throughout Ole Miss who specialize in graphene research.
“We applaud the University’s decision to establish the new center,” Meek said. “ The center clearly illustrates Ole Miss’ commitment to leadership in this emerging market.”
In addition to the many researchers currently working on graphene, the center will look to partner with both public and private entities, including the National Graphene Association, and plans on becoming an information platform for the integration of graphene into the commercial sector.
The National Graphene Association has already stipulated that it will help to promote and market the research center, by promoting the research through its various channels and helping to develop relationships between the center and other graphene related third parties, such as graphene businesses and researchers.
The newly established center is well-aligned with the University of Mississippi’s status as a Carnegie R1 highest research activity institution and the growth of both the quality and quantity of graphene (and other nanomaterials) research being produced by the University over the last decade.
The Center for Graphene Research and Innovation will serve as a hub connecting research activities across multiple disciplines and departments and will propel the university forward in this field.
Chancellor, The University of Mississippi
Graphene research at the University has already involved many areas and applications of science, from plasmonic waveguides, to defense applications, anticorrosion agents and beyond. Whilst the potential applications are vast, especially in the long-term, the center will initially focus on a few key areas– energy, electronics, biomedical and structural sectors.
“Graphene offers many potential applications, such as reinforcement in composites, energy conversion and storage, thermal conductors, electronics, anticorrosion coatings and paints, and drug and gene delivery to human diseases and medical devices,” Al-Ostaz said.
We are so excited to establish the Center for Graphene Research and Innovation. Graphene as a material shows great promise in a wide variety of applications from structural materials to electronics to biomedical. The CGRI will focus on bringing a wide variety of faculty and researchers at UM together to bridge the fundamental science of graphene to applications.
The Vice Chancellor for Research, The University of Mississippi
So, where will the next graphene center be? There are rumors that there may be a similar center being set up in Australia. Time will tell, but for now, the next graphene hub looks set to be in Mississippi.
National Graphene Association (NGA)-