Nokia smash! More like Nokia no smash. The Finnish company just received a $1.35 billion grant to develop graphene. What the heck is graphene? It's simultaneously the world's strongest material and the thinnest and lightest. The 2D crystal-like material is as thin as one atom, yet boasts a strength 300 times that of steel. Additionally it's an excellent conductor that could possibly replace the copper or silicon in your smartphone.
The $1.35 billion grant, awarded by the European Union for the Future and Emerging Technologies, is a boon to both Nokia, their European suppliers, and even academic researchers.
In a statement, Nokia CTO Henry Tirri said, "Nokia is proud to be involved with this project, and we have deep roots in the field – we first started working with graphene already in 2006. Since then, we have come to identify multiple areas where this material can be applied in modern computing environments. We’ve done some very promising work so far, but I believe the greatest innovations have yet to be discovered. Graphene happens to be an area where we, in Europe, have all the important players in the value chain who are ready to use it in applications. From that perspective, this is a very efficient and promising way of doing research investments for Europe."
Sounds like Nokia's poised to take this promising material to the next level. However, don't expect your next smartphone to be clad in graphene. It'll likely be integrated with other materials and used to strength and enhance existing materials according to Jani Kivioja, Research Leader at Nokia Research Center. But don't let that fact undermine the importance of graphene. Kivioja also equated the forthcoming graphene revolution as important as steel in the Industrial Revolution. "When we talk about graphene, we’ve reached a tipping point. We’re now looking at the beginning of a graphene revolution. Before this point in time, we figured out a way to manufacture cheap iron that led to the Industrial Revolution. Then there was silicon. Now, it’s time for graphene."
Here's to the future.