Graphene lightbulb, cheaper, durable and more energy-efficient coming to shops

A graphene lightbulb with a longer lifetime, cheaper manufacturing costs, and lower energy emissions has been launched by Graphene Lighting PLC, a spin-out based on a partnership between the University of Manchester and the National Graphene Institute.

The partnership was set up to create new applications for graphene, which is 200 times stronger than steel.

Graphene Lighting PLC will produce the innovative dimmable lightbulb, which scientists say has a slightly superior performance and longer lifetime than traditional LED bulbs. It has a filament-shaped LED coated in graphene.

The company says the graphene in the light bulb conducts electricity and heat much more effectively, making it superior to anything else available when it comes to market.

Graphene bulb

The graphene lightbulb is one of several products Graphene Lighting PLC expects to eventually bring to market. (Credit: University of Manchester)

According to the University of Manchester:

“It is expected that the graphene lightbulbs will be on the shelves in a matter of months, at a competitive cost.”

The University of Manchester has a shareholding in Graphene Lighting PLC, which was incorporated on August 29th, 2014. The University says it wants to make sure it benefits from the commercial applications created by the National Graphene Institute (NGI).

Gaphene, consisting of a single layer of pure carbons arranged in a hexagonal lattice pattern, was isolated in 2004 at the University of Manchester by two Russian-born scientists – Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov. They were both knighted (became ‘Sir’), and in 2010 earned the Nobel Prize for Physics.

The University of Manchester is the ‘home of graphene’, with more than 200 scientists and an unrivalled breadth of 2D material and graphene research projects.

The NGI, which is currently working with 35 companies from across the globe, will see commercial and academic partners working alongside each other on graphene applications of the future.

The University says it will open the GEIC (Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre) in 2017, which will speed up the process of bringing new products to market.


Graphene is 200 times stronger than steel, 1 million times thinner than a human hair, the world’s most conductive material, and the world’s first 2D material. It is also transparent, impermeable and bendable. (Credit: Wikimedia)

Professor Colin Bailey, Deputy President and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester said:

“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.”

“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.”

Graphene Business Director, James Baker, added:

“The graphene lightbulb is proof of how partnering with the NGI can deliver real-life products which could be used by millions of people.”

“This shows how The University of Manchester is leading the way not only in world-class graphene research but in commercialisation as well.”

Graphene one atom thick

Graphene is just one-atom thick.

Graphene has massive potential

NGI researchers say the potential uses for one-atom thick graphene are huge. They expect to create a wide range of products for the electronics industry. The scientists say that thanks to graphene, semi-transparent, flexible electronic will soon cease to be just a science fiction idea.

According to the University of Manchester, NGI’s 1,500 square metres of clean room space is the largest academic area of its kind in the world dedicated purely to graphene research.

President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, said:

“The National Graphene Institute will be the world’s leading centre of graphene research and commercialisation.”

“It will be the home of graphene scientists and engineers from across The University of Manchester working in collaboration with colleagues from many other universities and from some of the world’s leading companies.”

“This state-of-the-art institute is an incredible asset, not only to this University and to Manchester but also to the UK. The National Graphene Institute is fundamental to continuing the world-class graphene research which was started in Manchester.”

National Graphene Institute

The National Graphene Institute was officially opened by the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on March 20th, where he was given a tour of the state-of-the-art cleanrooms and laboratories by Prof. Sir Kostya Novoselov.

Osborne NGI

Prof. Sir Konstantin Novoselov (left) and Chancellor George Osborne with the graphene bulb. (Credit: University of Manchester)

Funding for the £61 million facility came from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (£38 million) and the European Regional Development Fund (£23 million).

Mr. Osborne said:

“Backing science and innovation is a key part of building a Northern Powerhouse. The new National Graphene Institute at The University of Manchester will bring together leading academics, scientists and business leaders to help develop the applications of tomorrow, putting the UK in pole position to lead the world in graphene technology.”

The five-storey, 7,825 square metre facility features cutting-edge equipment throughout, making it the leading graphene research hub globally.

Video – Graphene