University of Manchester hails graphene light bulb breakthrough

The National Graphene Institute (NGI), which opened at the University of Manchester in March, will soon be launching its first spin-off product – a super-efficient long-lasting light bulb.

The £61 million NGI has been established to help Manchester maintain its leading position in developing graphene – a highly conductive ‘wonder’ material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms. 

The material was isolated at the University of Manchester in 2004 by scientists Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, earning them the Nobel Prize for Physics. 

There are now over 200 researchers involved in the development of graphene at the University, with the NGI enabling them to work with commercial partners to develop products for the market. 

Innovative lightbulb

The first landmark product to be launched by the Institute’s spin-out company, Graphene Lighting PLC, is an innovative dimmable lightbulb that outperforms the lighting market in terms of energy efficiency and lifetime.

A coating of super-conductive graphene on an LED filament allows electricity and heat to be transferred more efficiently, meaning that it uses less energy, remains cooler and lasts longer than standard LEDs, as well as being cheaper to manufacture.

The breakthrough marks another new milestone for the LED lighting industry, which is growing far faster than experts predicted

Prof. Colin Bailey, deputy vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester, said the light bulb “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.”

President and vice-chancellor of the University, Prof. Dame Nancy Rothwell, added: “The NGI 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 the University and to Manchester but also to the UK.”

The light bulb is expected to be on the market in just a matter of months. 

Posted under Environmental Technologies and Renewable Energy and Environmental Technologies on 31 March 2015