By Kristy Dorsey

A Scottish company that has developed a novel way of fusing “wonder metal” graphene onto a variety of materials is moving towards scale production after raising £3.1 million in a funding round led by the Archangels investment group.

Based in Stirling, Integrated Graphene has developed a 3D graphene foam called Gii which can be applied directly to any surface at room temperature in a matter of seconds. Graphene is a single sheet of carbon atoms that is said to be 200 times stronger than steel, yet also light and flexible.

As such, graphene has the potential to improve a wide range of applications in a global market that is predicted to be worth £1.2 billion by 2025. Headed by chief executive Claus Marquordt, a mechanical engineer specialising in point-of-care diagnostics, Integrated Graphene will initially target the biosensor and power storage sectors.

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Much of the market is currently focused on the production of graphene powder that is combined with a composite material such as ink or plastic and which is then integrated into a product. This makes it easier to use, but dilutes the properties of the metal.

The other method is chemical vapour deposition (CVD), which is common in the semiconductor industry. However, this is a lengthy process, and not particularly cost-effective.

This latest investment round follows £300,000 in seed funding from six private investors in March 2019, plus a variety of grant funding totalling £1.8m since Mr Marquordt and his co-founder, chief scientific officer Marco Caffio, first started working on the project in 2014. The pair met while working for the Scottish arm of Alere, the global manufacturer of point-of-care diagnostics that was acquired by Abbott in 2016.

Archangels was supported in the latest funding round by Par Equity, Techstart Ventures and ESM Investments.

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“We are very pleased to have the continued support of our seed investors who have helped us shape and scale this revolutionary business from an idea to commercial launch ready,” Mr Marquordt said.

“With this latest round of investment, we are scaling up commercialisation and production of Gii. We have now successfully launched our first product, Gii-Sens, into our beachhead market of human diagnostic biosensors.

“Ultimately, this funding round will enable us to capitalise on being first to market world-wide with high-performing, cost-effective, application-specific 3D Graphene foam, enabling better products.”

The advanced materials company currently employs 28 people. The cash injection will be used to fund equipment to demonstrate product performance at the next scale-up level, and to expand commercialisation of Gii.

Mr Caffio added: “We invented our process by focusing on answering the question of how to obtain the desired performance of 3DG foam within applications at commercial scale and without cost barriers. By maintaining a design-for-manufacture focus from day one, we have achieved this.”