Feeds

UK falls behind in global graphene patent race

Chinese physicists have already outlapped the lot

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Physicists all over the world are scrambling to patent their research on the various different aspects of miracle substance graphene, with Chinese researchers leading the field.

China is the country with the most patents for the carbon that's a hundred times stronger than steel, while Korean giant Samsung is the top company investing in graphene.

Despite the fact that the ground-breaking discovery was made in Britain, the UK is trailing the pack when it comes to patents, with just 54 patent publications in comparison to China's 2,204, according to UK-based consultancy CambridgeIP.

The UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced more money for graphene research last month, adding an extra £21.5m to existing cash for universities.

But the British investment is clearly dwarfed by spending in China as well as the US, where there are 1,754 patents published and South Korea, with 1,160.

In the corporate world, Samsung is plugging plenty of its billions into graphene and holds a massive 407 patents. The second biggest corporate investor is IBM, which has 134 patents for the carbon material.

Graphene has been around for less than a decade, but folks have dubbed it the "miracle substance" for its huge potential for tech innovations. The material is the thinnest ever created but is nevertheless stronger than diamond while staying flexible and it's more conductive than copper. Bendy touchscreen phones, hyper-fast internet and significantly better batteries are just some of the applications boffins have suggested for the stuff.

Russian-born scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov won the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics for their early work in identifying the properties of graphene at Manchester University.

Earlier this month, science minister David Willetts said that it was "vital… to exploit the commercial potential of this astonishing material".

"[The government's] significant investment will support cutting edge research projects to find everyday uses for graphene. They will foster innovation, drive growth and help the UK get ahead in the global race," he said. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.