Light bulb set to be graphene's first commercial consumer application

Sir Kostya Novoselov (left, one of the two graphene Nobel laureates) and Chancellor George Osborne with the graphene lightbulb (Photo: The University of Manchester)

In two claimed firsts, researchers at the University of Manchester have produced both the first commercial application of graphene and the world's first graphene light-bulb. It is expected that this new device will have lower energy emissions, cheaper manufacturing costs, and a longer running life than even LED lights. And this isn't just a pie-in-the-sky prototype, either. The team who developed it believes that the graphene light-bulb will be available for retail sale within months.

To that end, the University of Manchester has partnered with the UK company Graphene Lighting PLC to produce the new bulb and share in the profits of its sales. This will also make certain that the University is directly advantaged by commercial products being developed out of their National Graphene Institute (NGI).

"This lightbulb shows that graphene products are becoming a reality, just a little more than a decade after it was first isolated – a very short time in scientific terms," said Professor Colin Bailey, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester. "This is just the start. Our partners are looking at a range of exciting applications, all of which started right here in Manchester. It is very exciting that the NGI has launched its first product despite barely opening its doors yet."

The University of Manchester told us that the light bulb comprises a traditional LED coated in graphene which transfers heat away from the LED, prolonging life and minimizing energy usage.

Known as "the home of graphene," the University of Manchester is where this unique form of carbon was first isolated in 2004. This feat earned Sir Andre Geim and Sir Kostya Novoselov the Nobel prize for Physics in 2010. Today, with more than 200 researchers in a myriad 2D material projects, the University is at the forefront of graphene know-how.

"The graphene lightbulb is proof of how partnering with the NGI can deliver real-life products which could be used by millions of people," said James Baker, Graphene PLC Business Director.

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