The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov “for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene”.  Geim and Novoselov extracted graphene from a piece of graphite using regular adhesive tape and managed to obtain a flake of carbon with a thickness of just one atom.  Fascinated by graphene and the prospects of its potential applications, Larry began wondering how best to manufacture graphene sheets in a scalable manner since existing manufacturing methods required nucleation on a surface of a material (e.g., copper) that then must be dissolved away to leave a graphene sheet behind . He conceived of using graphene’s diamagnetic properties to enable free-floating graphene production in a magnetic field. 

On October 15, 2010, CRR filed a provisional patent application for a “Method for producing graphene in a magnetic field”.  A corresponding non-provisional patent application was filed on October 13, 2011, which resulted in issued U.S. patent 8,721,843.  CRR then filed a succession of continuation-in-part (CIP) patent applications disclosing various improvements, which have resulted in U.S. patents 9,212,063, 9,334,168 and 9,556,034.  CRR also filed a PCT application in July 2015, which corresponds to CRR’s third U.S. patent (‘168) for graphene production that went straight to allowance.  The International Search Report (ISR) for the PCT application indicates that all of its claims are allowable.  CRR now has a corresponding Chinese patent application pending.

In September 2014, CRR began a proof-of-concept effort to verify the primary functions of Larry’s free-floating graphene production technology.   As part of the effort, Larry developed a magnetic structure made up of alternating polarity magnetic sources in a two-dimensional array that produces a steep gradient magnetic field and Larry successfully floated graphite, a multi-layer graphene structure, in a stable manner over the magnetic structure. 

 
Pyrolytic graphite floating above a 8x8 grid of 1mm square NIB magnets

Pyrolytic graphite floating above a 8x8 grid of 1mm square NIB magnets

 

CRR also developed a plasma reactor chamber that was successfully used to generate both argon plasma and argon-methane plasma that produced a cloud of ionized carbon atoms that plated the inside of the plasma reactor chamber demonstrating the presence of reactive carbon atoms.  Additionally, CRR produced an in-situ Raman spectroscopy graphene detector for measuring growth of graphene in the plasma reactor chamber and acquired a scanning electron microscope for visualizing graphene.   Prior research by Dato & Frenklach (2010, New Journal of Physics) demonstrated graphene growing in a carbon atom cloud.  Because all of the primary functions of the free-floating graphene production technology have been verified, CRR has successfully achieved Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 for it free-floating graphene production technology. 

 
Plasma reactor of graphene test bed    

Plasma reactor of graphene test bed 

 

Given the passing of CRR cofounder and former Chief Scientist, Larry Fullerton, CRR is currently seeking to sell its free-floating graphene production patent portfolio, technology development documentation, and the current test bed to a party better able to take CRR’s free-floating graphene production technology to market.  Parties interested in acquiring CRR’s free-floating graphene production technology should contact Mark Roberts at mark@cr-res.com.