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Published on 24.06.13

CRANN Researchers publish Review in Science

Electron Microscopy image of a liquid-phase exfoliated nanosheet of Boron nitride.

Two researchers from CRANN, the SFI-funded nanoscience institute based at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) have just published an invited Review in Science, one of the world’s premier science publications. To be invited to write a Review is a rare opportunity and demonstrates the esteem in which Irish nanoscience research is held internationally.  

Professors Jonathan Coleman and Valeria Nicolosi, who are also affiliated to the Schools of Physics and Chemistry in TCD, were asked to submit a Review describing the latest research from around the world on methods to produce 2-dimensional nano-materials, particularly graphene, a material 200 times stronger than steel that is derived from pencil lead. This invitation stemmed from recent discoveries which have put CRANN at the forefront of this, one of the hottest topics in nanoscience.

2-Dimensional nano-materials or nanosheets are tiny structures, just one atom thick, which have extraordinary properties including enhanced chemical and physical reactivity. The nanosheets can be used in a range of commercial applications including the creation of faster and smaller electronics, the development of next-generation batteries, efficient energy devices and more. To fulfil demands for these materials, much research is underway to produce nanosheets in large quantities. CRANN is a leading centre for the study of such production methods, known as “liquid exfoliation”.

Both Coleman and Nicolosi are ERC Research Grantees and SFI Principal Investigators and are recognised as international leaders in graphene research. They are participating in the EU’s €1 billion Future and Emerging Technologies Graphene Flagship project, the largest ever award of funding for academic research in the history of the European Union. In addition, a paper they produced in 2011 for Science was one of the most cited papers in the publication that year.

Commenting, Dr, Diarmuid O’Brien, Executive Director of CRANN said, “Professors Coleman and Nicolosi are world leaders in their research on production of two-dimensional materials. Having researchers of their calibre working here in CRANN and in Irish research institutes, is one of the reasons that technology and medical multinationals continue to choose Ireland as a base for their operations.”

Professor Jonathan Coleman said, “It is an honour to be invited by Science to submit a review. Our method of liquid exfoliation is truly ground-breaking and could have a very significant impact on manufacturing in areas from IT, to energy, to electronics.”

Professor Valeria Nicolosi said, “I chose to come to CRANN from Oxford in 2011, to pursue my research on liquid exfoliation. I am delighted that our work is being recognised at an international level, and I look forward to continuing to seek new possibilities for graphene, which truly is a wonder material.”

Their Review is available at

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