The Market for Graphene
While many look forward to functional, graphene-based transitors, immediate applications for the material lie in composites—wherein a host matrix may assume some properties of the graphene, such as strength or conductivity—and electrodes—where graphene's abundance and low processing overhead make it an attractive subsitute for indium tin oxide.
While these applications are actively being pursued by a handful of small, start up companies, larger companies need more convincing as to the utility of the material and the success of its applications. As Segal reports, "The discrepancy between the enthusiasm of the start-up companies and the conservatism of their larger counterparts is partly a matter of scale. Even though tens of tons is orders of magnitude beyond laboratory production scales, it is also orders of magnitude below industrial chemical company scales."
While the manufacturers in Segal's feature are confident in their process techniques and the quality of their graphene, there remains the need for mature applications that will provide demand for the high-volume production of graphene. If such applications appear over the next year or two, graphene may replace carbon nanotubes as the choice material for advanced products.