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Huge possibilities, tiny product

For UW-affiliated startup, electronic parts are no big deal

Posted: June 1, 2008

Some day in the not too distant future, a TV as thin as a poster could hang on your wall.

There's a good chance, too, that a Platteville-area company, founded in part by a 17-year-old boy, will have played a critical role in creating that product.

Graphene Solutions is a 3-month-old company with a patent-pending technology that dissolves carbon nanotubes, graphene nanosheets and other materials so they can be purified and spread in a layer one atom thick.

That could pave the way for electronic components, like computer chips, that are dramatically smaller with much greater capacity.

"If you can very easily, reproducibly lay out a one-atom-thick layer of carbon, this is the new silicon," said Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, or WARF, which helped the company get started. WARF is the patenting and licensing arm for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Graphene Solutions is applying its technology to the manufacture of graphenes like carbon nanotubes - tiny, stronger-than-steel tubes that disperse heat and conduct electricity much better than silicon. Carbon nanotubes are expected to be critical for the next generation of electronics, optics and other fields of materials science.

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