Aussie research hub to boost 2D materials manufacturing

Thursday, 23 November, 2023

Aussie research hub to boost 2D materials manufacturing

A new research hub hosted by Monash University at the Faculty of Engineering will foster research and the commercialisation of 2D materials like graphene with a range of applications including in water treatment, batteries, coatings, paints and sensors. The Australian Research Council (ARC) Research Hub for Advanced Manufacturing of 2D Materials (AM2D) was formally opened at an event that showcased the research activities of the Hub and brought together researchers and industry.

Featuring high conductivity, strength, and enhanced thermal and optical properties, 2D materials — including graphene — can be used for diverse applications. The new research hub will address this growing demand by enhancing Australia’s graphene and 2D manufacturing capability and supporting the production of high-tech products, such as energy storage devices, advanced anti-corrosion coatings, sensors and water treatment membranes.

AM2D Director Professor Mainak Majumder said that there is still a strong investment appetite for research and development into 2D materials and products, adding that graphene’s versatility has spawned many applications that are finding their way to the market. “We are at the tip of this iceberg in this journey as innovative graphene-enhanced products are being designed and existing products are moving up the technology readiness levels (TRL),” Majumder said.

Aside from graphene, the research hub will open up new opportunities for next-generation 2D materials. In this family of graphene-like materials, around 100 have reportedly been studied and over 6000 distinct materials are unexplored. “It remains a research area ripe for new discoveries and products. AM2D will build effective partnerships in translating this research into market-ready products,” Majumder said.

AM2D has secured $9.4 million in funding over the next five years, including $4.4 million under the Australian Research Council’s Industrial Transformation Research Program. AM2D’s collaborations with universities, including with Monash University, has led to the creation of jobs in manufacturing and high-tech industries. AM2D aims to strengthen these successes and grow the capability of the sector more broadly. Majumder said the hub will take a holistic approach to the development, manufacture and application of 2D materials including how they move across the supply chain.

“AM2D is also looking at ways to overcome bottlenecks in sustainably producing and modifying bulk quantities of 2D materials and using machine learning to cost-effectively characterise these materials,” Majumder said.

The hub will operate through three major ‘Nodes’ with projects ranging from research on fundamental new tools for 2D materials, smart manufacturing and the environmental impact of the 2D materials sector.

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