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The birthplace of graphene – the one-atom-thick carbon – is Manchester University, where it was created by two physicists. But Cambridge could become the adopted home of the so-called wonder-material.

A vast new facility that can make up to five tonnes of the ultra-valuable black dust each year is being built in the city and is due to open in 2015.

Cambridge Nanosystems, a university spin-out, led by chief scientist Catharina Paukner, 30, has built the factory with the help of a £500,000 grant from the Technology Strategy Board.

“It’s mind-blowing to think that not long ago, it was only possible to make a ladleful in a year. Now we can make enough to fill a whole building,” she tells The Sunday Telegraph. “And we have the capacity to increase that 100-fold.”

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