What is it like to work at the forefront of human knowledge? Researchers and company employees are finding out as the £60m Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre opens in Manchester.

Graphene was first discovered at the University of Manchester in 2004. The material — lighter and stronger than steel and also a good conductor — is
aone-atom thick layer of carbon.

Researchers are studying the application of it to products including running shoes, batteries, wearable biosensors, paint,
thermometersand cycle helmets.

But researchers have struggled to fashion the two-dimensional substance into a form that can be manipulated or bonds easily with other materials on a big scale.

At the GEIC, a collaboration between industry and academics that opened earlier this month, researchers hope to bridge that gap. It could influence thousands of other products from e-paper to biomedical devices, to membranes, to salt from seawater, as well as lightweight aircraft. The worldwide market for graphene-enabled products is predicted to be worth $25bn by 2027, the GEIC says.

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