Graphene-based sensors that can measure the quality of air using the 2D Material could soon enter mass production thanks to a new partnership between a University of Manchester spin-out company and Chinese corporation, Tunghsu Optoelectronics.
Tunghsu Optoelectronics, who are part of The Tunghsu Group, is investing nearly £1million in Riptron Ltd over two investment stages. Riptron Ltd is a spin-out company founded by two scientists from the University’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Dr Max Migliorato and Dr Rakesh Kumar.
The spin-out has been supported and driven forward by the University’s Intellectual Property arm, UIMP and Graphene Enabled. Graphene Enabled is a business created and owned by the University to launch market-focused ‘spin–out’ companies for graphene based-products.
VIP representatives from all parties signed the agreement in a special ceremony at the University on Friday 16 August. Dr Migliorato said: “I am thrilled that a company of the reputation of Tunghsu has showed such enthusiasm for our sensor technology, which was entirely developed at the University of Manchester. I am also confident that, together, we are going to make a global success of graphene electronic products.”
Tunghsu Optoelectronics is a leader in China’s graphene industry and has seen its graphene-related business grow rapidly in recent years. It already produces four products including graphene-based lithium-ion batteries, graphene energy-saving lighting, graphene thermal management systems and graphene anti-corrosion coatings, where in 2018, the industrial application of graphene reached 181 million yuan, an increase of 170% year on year.
It will now work with Drs Migliorato and Kumar and The University of Manchester to add the new range of air quality sensors to its growing graphene portfolio. Dr Kumar added: “I believe working together we can provide a technology solution for real-time air-quality mapping to help the local governments introduce new levels of environment, health and safety regulations.”
Tunghsu Optoelectronic is a Tier-One partner to the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) which opened last year. The GEIC is the University’s commercially-focused graphene facility in the heart of Manchester that specialises in the rapid development and scale up of graphene and other 2D materials applications.
President and Vice Chancellor, Dame Nancy Rothwell, added: “We are very excited about the new collaboration between The University of Manchester and Tunghsu Optoelectronic. We look forward to working with our new partners.”