The Paper: What is the current level of cutting-edge technology in this industry? How developed is China?
Xiao Jinsong: From a global perspective, graphene belongs to the transitional stage from R&D to industrialization, and has not really achieved large-scale industrialization. Relatively speaking, China’s graphene industrialization is at the forefront of the world, and most foreign countries are still in the research and development stage.
There are two different paths for the development of graphene industry at home and abroad.
Foreign countries are not directly prepared from graphite, but mainly use some carbon-containing gases, such as methane and other gases, to prepare thin films. The prepared graphene film is more used in the field of Electronic information. Europe, America and Japan are following this path.
China is rich in graphite resources. This advantage makes China’s way of preparing graphene membranes different from those in Europe and America. Using graphite to prepare graphene and then adding it to other materials to produce composite materials is the dominant path for the development of China’s graphene industry. At present, graphene applications in China are mostly in the fields of medical health, thermal management, and new energy. Since China’s electronic information development is also in its infancy, the preparation and application of high-end graphene films are still in the research and development stage.
From the perspective of graphene technology development, China is also relatively advanced. China’s graphene patent technology accounts for 60 to 70 percent of the world’s total, ranking first in the world.
In the past two years, graphene fever emerged in China, and now it has become more rational. Regardless of investment, R&D or industrialization, everyone recognizes that the development cycle of new materials is relatively long, and it cannot be effective in a short period of time. After the big waves washed the sand, many people quit, and many people persevered.
The University of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Dalian University of Technology have made important progress in the controllable synthesis of high-quality, large-area, single-layer graphene and its growth incentive research, realizing the growth of large-area high-quality single-layer graphene. Xiamen University has cooperated with Lancaster University, UK, and has made important research progress in single-molecule devices based on graphene electrodes, which has important reference value for further research and design of multi-functional single-molecule electronic devices; In cooperation with universities, an all-solid-state flexible electrochemical capacitor based on graphene film has been established, which not only ensures the flexibility of the entire device, but also further develops smart devices. In addition, many breakthroughs have been made in the fields of graphene single crystal wafer preparation and high-quality graphene heat dissipation film.
The Paper: Where are China’s shortcomings?
Xiao Jinsong: At present, Chinese and Western preparation technologies are similar. The key is the downstream application, how to apply the film after it is made. The gap in this regard is relatively large.
Europe, the United States, and Japan have relatively developed electronic information, so graphene can be quickly applied in this field. The foundation of China’s electronic information industry is relatively weak, and graphene has less applications in this field. There are many graphene products emerging in the Chinese market in the medical and health fields, but these current applications do not really reflect the high-performance characteristics of graphene. There are still many difficulties in the development of graphene industry.
First, there is no breakthrough in key technologies, which restricts large-scale downstream applications.
After years of independent research and development, graphene has made significant progress in large-scale production technology and process equipment, but there are still technical bottlenecks in low-cost large-scale preparation technology, downstream application technology, and green preparation technology. At present, although domestic graphene powder and thin film materials have already built production lines and have basically achieved mass production, the products generally have problems such as uneven size and number of layers, and unstable quality, which are difficult to meet the needs of large-scale industrial mass production.
From the perspective of application scenarios, graphene is currently mainly added to the matrix material in the form of additives to improve related properties, but the surface of graphene with complete structure does not contain any groups, and the interaction with other media is weak, and it is difficult to interact with other organic or inorganic materials. The material is homogeneously compounded. Therefore, how to improve the compatibility and uniform dispersion between graphene and the matrix material while ensuring the integrity of the graphene structure is still a key issue restricting the downstream large-scale industrial application of graphene.
The second is dominated by material production enterprises, and the participation of downstream application enterprises is low.
As a new material, graphene can only truly reflect its value when it is successfully applied on a large scale. Therefore, industrial development must be driven by application, and attention should be paid to the participation of downstream application enterprises. However, at present, China’s graphene development is mainly carried out by scientific research institutes and graphene production enterprises. Due to the failure of some key technologies, high production costs, uncertain application effects and other factors, downstream application companies generally take a wait-and-see attitude, and the degree of participation is low. . In contrast, the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries have a number of leading companies in the application field participating in the research and development and industrialization of graphene, such as IBM and Boeing in the United States, Panasonic in Japan, and Samsung in South Korea. The process of olefin industrialization.
Third, the standards and testing systems are not perfect, and the products are mixed.
At present, although some progress has been made in the standardization of graphene in China, it is still blank in terms of downstream specific application products, testing standards, and use standards. From the perspective of upstream material preparation, graphene materials include powders, microchips, slurries, films and other categories. Due to the lack of unified standards, each material in the market has different varieties, different grades and specifications, and different naming rules. one. Since there is no clear standard, the current test reports for graphene products are mainly based on the objective description of the material properties. In addition, the performance requirements of graphene materials in different application fields are also different, so there is no unified standard to distinguish the quality of materials. Good or bad, and the current testing methods are only responsible for the state of the incoming raw materials at that time, resulting in different opinions in the market and mixed products.
The Paper: What are the directions for China’s future efforts?
Xiao Jinsong: First, we must continue to give full play to China’s resource advantages. China’s graphene resources are relatively rich. At present, the graphene prepared from graphite can basically meet the existing graphene application products and application fields, but in the future, we will still use our resource advantages to make some high-end products, which requires great efforts to make high-quality graphene. Material.
The second is to actively combine with the development of the electronic information industry. At the national level, the application of graphene in the field of electronic information and the application of graphene killer should be encouraged. China is also doing a lot of exploration in this area, both in the military and civilian fields, such as the graphene glass developed by the Beijing Graphene Research Institute, and the research on graphene devices by the semiconductor Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
In terms of flexible electromechanics, in addition to smartphones, key materials in many fields such as 5G base stations, servers, and notebook computers, while taking into account thermal conductivity and cost, have more and more thermal conductivity requirements for graphene. This is a direction for the future. Huawei’s first 5G tablet MatePad Pro 5G in China is equipped with ultra-thick 3D graphene heat dissipation technology, and in the first half of the year, it invested in Changzhou fulene technology (the leading products are graphene thermal conductive films, graphene thermal conductive sheets, etc.), and the layout of graphene heat dissipation technology , to a certain extent, leads the development trend of the electronic equipment cooling market. As Huawei, Xiaomi and other leading companies continue to increase the investment and application of graphene thermal conductive films, other manufacturers will also accelerate their layout in the fields of graphene heat dissipation materials and heat dissipation components.
The Paper: What difficulties need to be overcome in the future?
Xiao Jinsong: Graphene material is a relatively high-end product. At present, the film-making technology is similar, and the key is to make it on a large scale. Although some progress has been made in laboratory research and development, problems such as the stability of graphene applications still need to be overcome.
technical aspects. The first thing to do is to prepare the material. Whether it is a membrane material or a powder material made of graphite. It is the most critical to do these basic materials well. At present, there are many graphene industrialization companies, but few companies pay attention to the material. Everyone can make it as soon as they can, and no further efforts are made to improve the quality of the material. Therefore, the material quality has always stayed at the low-end. However, only good materials can be used in high-end fields. The second is the cost issue. How to achieve large-scale promotion, and then achieve low cost, this is very important. At present, downstream applications have not been rolled out, and the cost is relatively high. If you want to do high-end, higher purity and thinner slices, the technical requirements are very high. Therefore, the application development of technology and products is very important.
It is necessary to promote breakthroughs in key core technologies. Give full play to the innovative power of graphene manufacturing innovation centers, scientific research institutes and colleges and universities in various places, formulate the graphene industry technological innovation catalog and technological breakthrough roadmap, organize superior forces to carry out technical research on major projects and key applications, and develop graphene industry. Key technologies and complete sets of equipment such as large-scale preparation of olefin materials and clean production will be strengthened to accelerate the transformation of key technological achievements. Focusing on the development needs of emerging industries such as new generation information technology, new energy vehicles, and high-end equipment, adhere to demand guidance, carry out the layout of graphene cutting-edge and strategic directions, core technologies, patents and products, and cultivate future markets. Research and formulate a graphene technology maturity roadmap as soon as possible, evaluate key enterprises’ technology maturity, business status, product sales, etc., and scientifically judge their industrialization development stage and development prospects.
Second, we must strengthen the integrated development of industries. Continue to deepen the role of graphene in promoting the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries. Starting from the modification of traditional products, select graphene heat dissipation materials, reinforced composite materials, energy storage materials and other products with relatively mature technology, large volume and wide range, and high recognition by downstream users to carry out application demonstrations, and make full use of the first batch of insurance compensation. Mechanism and other related policies, reduce the risk of downstream users, effectively activate the market demand for graphene downstream applications, and promote large-scale industrial applications. Focusing on the development needs of emerging industries such as new generation information technology, new energy vehicles, 5G, and high-end equipment, adhere to demand guidance, carry out the layout of graphene’s cutting-edge and strategic directions, core technologies, patents and products, and cultivate future markets.
talent. There are many talents in graphene research and development, which are mainly composed of two parts: one is transferred from talents who study nanomaterials. Graphene itself is a nanomaterial. China used to have a lot of research on nanomaterials, and many of these people turned to graphene research. Some of them are transferred from polymer materials. Now there are mainly two types of talents studying graphene.
However, this field lacks industrialized talents, market-oriented talents and some talents in social capital.
At present, the graphene companies on the market are all petty, and many people come directly from the research institute. The result is that such people are more focused on pursuing technology and do not know much about products and markets. This is not good for the development of the industry. From the application point of view, downstream enterprises must be involved, otherwise they will only make materials, but do not know how to use them.
In terms of talents, the connection mechanism of these three categories of talents in the field of research and development, transformation of achievements, and product development is still not enough.
policy. To integrate superior forces, we must also give full play to the role of the market and allow the market to screen.
At present, the development of the graphene industry is too fragmented and needs to be integrated. Some regions focus on R&D, such as Beijing, which has a relatively strong R&D force. Shenzhen and Ningbo are relatively strong in application. Now all localities are fighting alone, which is not conducive to the development of the industry. From the perspective of industrial development, upstream and downstream must be integrated. Combining upstream material companies and downstream application companies, as well as some related research institutions, so that upstream and downstream can work on one platform, which can shorten the conversion cycle and accelerate the application level.
Strengthen the construction of public service platforms. Focusing on the development characteristics of the graphene industry, relying on the upstream and downstream backbone enterprises and scientific research institutes in the industry chain, optimize the allocation of funds, technology, equipment and other resources, and build a group of graphene industry scientific and technological services, inspection and testing, quality certification, talent training, and innovation incubation and other public service platforms. The construction of public service platforms should strictly abide by the principle of “government guidance and market operation”, and actively expand financing channels. By formulating preferential policies such as risk compensation, it will guide social capital to enter, and actively apply for state support for local public service platforms that are operating well.
Make preparations for a national manufacturing innovation center. Integrate the advantages of the current domestic graphene innovation center, organize and prepare the national graphene manufacturing innovation center as soon as possible, strengthen the forward-looking layout of key technologies in the industry, and do a good job in the transfer, diffusion and first commercialization of graphene technology. The member units of the innovation center should pay attention to the participation of downstream application enterprises, especially large enterprises. The existing provincial innovation centers should continue to strengthen the resource gathering of downstream application enterprises (especially leading enterprises), give full play to the market advantages of application enterprises, and accelerate the large-scale application of graphene based on market demand.
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