Bright idea: University of Manchester have a graphene light bulb moment

The first ever consumer product made out of graphene is set for release onto the UK market after a light bulb moment at the University of Manchester.

A graphene light bulb, which will last longer, have lower manufacturing costs and lower emissions when compared to traditional LED bulbs, has been developed by a team of experts at the uni.

The finding was announced on their website earlier this week and developers have predicted that the bulbs will be on the shelves in the next few months at a very competitive price.

Deputy president and deputy vice-chancellor of UoM professor Colin Bailey said: “This light bulb shows that graphene products are becoming a reality, just a little more than a decade after it was first isolated – a very short time in scientific terms.

“This is just the start. Our partners are looking at a range of exciting applications, all of which started right here in Manchester.”

Graphene is one million times thinner than hair, 200 times stronger than steel as well as being  the world’s first two-dimensional material and the most conductive.

Sir Andre Geim and Sir Kostya Novoselov were the first to isolate graphene back in 2004 at the University of Manchester and were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 for their work.

The uni then set up the National Institute of Graphene (NIG) on its campus, which opened last week, in order to make the most out of their findings.

The NIG, into which £61million has been invested, was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

There are currently 35 companies partnering with the Institute but this light bulb is the first product to have been released from it.

The NIG introduced a spin-off organisation named Graphene Lighting PLC to deal with the production of the light bulb and the profits made from the product will be shared with the university.

Graphene business director James Baker commented: “The graphene light bulb is proof of how partnering with the NIG can deliver real-life products which could be used by millions of people.

“This shows how The University of Manchester is leading the way not only in world-class graphene research but in commercialisation as well.”

The product comes just prior to the 2015 International Graphene Week which will be hosted by the University at the end of June.

The event, which has previously been held in cities including Gothenburg, Sweden, and Chemnitz, Germany, will be the ninth ever Graphene Week with around 400 scientists attending from all over the world to discuss the substance.

In 2017 the University is also set to open a Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) to increase the rate of production for new graphene products.

Image courtesy of Dennis Wilkinson with thanks.

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