Graphene Week kicks off in San Sebastian

The 13th edition of Graphene Week, Europe’s central graphene conference, kicked off this morning in San Sebastian. We are happy to welcome all attendees to our hometown!

The opening ceremony hosted high-ranking officials of the European Commission and local government, including the president of the Basque Government Inigo Urkullu. Jari Kinaret, Director of the Graphene Flagship, also welcomed attendees and highlighted some of the main achievements of the Flagship in the first half of the project.

The event is now so popular that some late registrants had to be rejected. Most research and application highlights were already summarized in the latest annual report. Although the center of gravity of the Flagship is clearly on products that return value to the funders – the European taxpayers, the push for applications necessarily results in excellent new science as well.

The first plenary session was geared towards applications that involve the use of optics. Harry Atwater, Director of the DOE Energy Frontier Research Center on Light-Material Interactions in Solar Energy Conversion, gave an excellent introductory talk about the achievements and prospects of graphene photonics and in particular plasmonics.

This research direction explores highly confined optical waves on graphene sheets, which enable applications such as photodetectors that work across the visible and infrared parts of the spectrum, infrared optical beam steering, thermal management, and near 100% absorption of light in a single atomic layer, with prospective applications in optical communications. Several other highly-ranked researchers in this field followed with talks describing other achievements, some of which have made it to near-finished marketable products.

Graphenea is actively participating in the event. Apart from sponsoring, our team members are active in talks and panels, and we will welcome guests to our facilities on two occasions this week. Today was already a busy day, with Amaia Zurutuza participating in the first Fringe Session: Open Forum, discussing the Graphene Flagship and joint networking possibilities together with Flagship Director Jari Kinaret, Kari Hjelt, Jean-Francois Buggenhout, Fabrizio Tubertini and Meganne Christian. The panel participants spoke about challenges to graphene commercialization and the role of the Flagship on that path. Standardization, certification, awareness of industry needs, and time scales were highlighted as important issues, among others.

Amaia later chaired a session on Synthesis and Growth, which was focused on new ways of making 2D materials in a scalable manner. CVD growth and chemical methods have now clearly emerged as the most promising contenders for widespread use graphene. Other sessions in parallel to that one focused on fundamental research, applications (such as chemical and pressure sensing, flexible electronics, and photodetection), graphene innovation roadmap, and graphene for human space exploration.

The day ended with a large poster session and a welcome reception that included live music, great food, and a view of the sunset from the Kursaal conference center.

All event participants note: we are inviting everyone to enter a contest to win dinner for two at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Arzak on Wednesday! All you have to do is follow this link and fill in the ballot!

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