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BASF, Max Planck Institute Open Joint Carbon Materials Lab

Graphene molecular illustration (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Graphene molecular illustration (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

The chemical company BASF and Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research opened a joint Carbon Materials Innovation Center at BASF’s Ludwigshafen, Germany site. The three-year collaboration is expected to cost some €10 million ($US 12.9 million).

A 12-member task force from both organizations will research the scientific principles and potential applications of innovative carbonized materials, including graphene. The team of chemists, physicists, and material scientists will research the synthesis and characterization of new materials and evaluate their potential uses in energy and electronic applications.

Graphene is closely related to graphite like that used in pencils, but consists of only a single atomic layer of carbon atoms. Klaus Müllen, director of the Max Planck polymers institute says, “The properties of the two-dimensional crystal are fascinating. Graphene conducts electricity and heat very effectively, is ultra-light weight and simultaneously very hard.”

Müllen adds, “Graphene is also chemically very stable, elastic and practically transparent. These properties make the material highly attractive for numerous technological applications.” Among potential applications for graphene are solar cells and touchscreens, as well as graphene-based composites, batteries, and chemical catalysts.

The Max Planck polymers institute and BASF have been collaborating on research involving graphene since 2008. The new carbon materials center is expected to expand those investigations to include other potentially innovative carbon-based materials. It will be the first lab operated jointly with a scientific partner in a BASF facility.

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