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February 11, 2022

EUON Publishes Nanopinion on Why Graphene Is Not the Same as Carbon Nanotubes

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On January 18, 2022, the European Union (EU) Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) published a Nanopinion entitled “What does ‘Graphene’ really look like and why is it not ‘carbon nanotubes’” by Dr. Alberto Bianco, Dr. Maurizio Prato, and Dr. Kostas Kostarelos, of the Graphene Flagship, an EU research initiative, about graphene and why it is not the same as carbon nanotubes. The article states that in particular, the authors wish to emphasize “that ‘graphene’ as a single type of material does not really exist, nor is it used as such in industrial applications.” According to the authors, a major difference between the materials exists at the supply end of the chain. The authors state that “[d]ue to the facile production and industrial upscaling of processes for some types of graphene materials, there are now hundreds of producers around the world, with thousands of different graphene material products marketed as ‘graphene.’” These products are incorporated into hundreds of different products, including fabrics, paints, anti-corrosion coatings, and structural alloys, “creating an environment that is particularly challenging for the application of quality control measures and regulatory responsibility and accountability.” The authors contrast this with carbon nanotubes, for which there are only a few manufacturers “that can be more easily regulated.” The authors suggest that the “‘democratisation’ of graphene material production therefore should be addressed by future regulatory bodies overseeing the quality of the exact graphene materials used in different products.”