Sunday, January 15, 2012

An Update To The World Of Graphene Research And The Potential It Holds For Focus Metals

As most people, who read the articles concerning graphite and graphene on my blog, you will be well versed on the amount of research currently being conducted on a global basis. This research seems to just keep accelerating both in terms of the amount of research projects being studied, and also the speed at which researchers are attempting to find the answers they so desperately are seeking. I have tried to keep up to date as best I can in my efforts to stay abreast of some of these projects, especially those that I view as having the potential to affect the possible demand for high quality graphite, and even more so, high quality graphene. In order for graphene to be considered for high-tech applications it is apparent that not just any graphene will suffice. High-tech applications are requiring some of the highest grades of graphene they can source. The one company that has a deposit which contains graphite that can produce graphene of this high caliber would be Focus Metals (TSXV:FMS)(OTCQX:FCSMF).

I recently found a few articles that will show just how sudden some possible breakthroughs can come. As the global pace for graphene research seems to recognize no limitations, it is almost overwhelming what these researchers are finding as they consider the results of the nearly endless research projects. The following is one such example and is an excerpt from the following report,Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have used the capabilities of one of the world's most powerful university-based supercomputers, the Rensselaer Center for Nanotechnology Innovations (CCNI), to uncover the properties of a promising form of graphene, known as graphene nanowiggles. What they found was that graphitic nanoribbons can be segmented into several different surface structures called nanowiggles. Each of these structures produces highly different magnetic and conductive properties. The findings provide a blueprint that scientists can use to literally pick and choose a graphene nanostructure that is tuned and customized for a different task or device. The work provides an important base of knowledge on these highly useful nanomaterials.

Rice University is well known for the many graphene research projects they undertake.  The Rice lab of materials scientist Pulickel Ajayan, in collaboration with colleagues in China, India, Japan and the Texas Medical Center, discovered a one-step chemical process that is markedly simpler than established techniques for making graphene quantum dots. The results were published online this month in the American Chemical Society's journal Nano Letters. The impact of this type of research is something that should not be taken lightly. This could potentially save numerous lives by allowing doctors to correctly diagnose some of the many maladies that we currently do not have the technology to diagnose in its earliest stages. The earlier a person can get a diagnosis the sooner treatment can begin, and this has been proven to be paramount in hoping for a successful treatment program. This research could also lead to a possible treatment method as well.

In recent months we have read of many research projects that are geared towards better understanding how the electrical conductivity of graphene can be useful in any number of applications. In yet another aspect of the current graphene research being conducted, we find that researchers at University of Texas Dallas have been busy studying the potential of graphene in electronics, but this more from the thermal aspect. Much of modern technology is based on silicon's use as a semiconductor material, but research recently published in the journal Nature Materials shows that graphene conducts heat about 20 times faster than silicon.

While the above information helps to lend a view to where some graphene research is heading, there is lots being pursued at Rutgers University. December 1, 2011, there was a news release issued which announced the signing of a MOU between Grafoid Inc., which is a graphene joint venture that is 40% held by Focus Metals, and Rutgers University. As is noted in this news release,
“The graphene research and development activities undertaken to date by Dr. Chiu are heading towards a new phase, leading ultimately, we believe, to industrial applications for our graphene,” Mr. Economo said.
“In time, and through further development in conjunction with Rutgers University we see Grafoid assuming its place as an industry leader not only in industrial and infrastructural applications, but in graphene applications for military and defense, aviation and marine and in other emerging industries where demand exists,” he added. Considering the high regard that Rutgers University commands from the research community, it is not difficult to see how high the potential is for major breakthroughs to be accomplished.

In yet another research project we find graphene excellently suited as a protective optical limiter.
Then there is this project from Manchester University and Cambridge University. Graphene, a monolayer form of carbon with properties that will likely mean great things for optics as well as electronics, will be giving high-speed optical communications a boost, if research at the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge pans out. A combination of graphene with metallic nanostructures appears to show a twentyfold enhancement in converting light to electricity when compared to graphene by itself. This could mean dramatically improved photodetectors for fiber optics, for one.

The biggest question seems to be, "Just what is the potential for Focus Metals from all this?" Since Focus Metals owns 100% of the Lac Knife deposit, near Fermont, Quebec, and this deposit is now  NI 43-101 compliant.
Previous to this report being completed, on Feb. 23, 2011, Focus Metals announced that they had formed a graphene joint venture. This was followed by another release in which Focus Metals announced that the joint venture had been incorporated, and was now called Grafoid Inc.
Then on Dec.1 came the news that Grafoid Inc. had signed a MOU with none other than Rutgers University, a very highly regarded facility.

These are only some of the highlights of what management of Focus Metals has accomplished in the past year, but I believe they are indicative about how the potential of Focus Metals just keeps building. With the tens of billions of dollars being spent to fund an almost infinite amount of graphene research globally, and with some researchers, as well as companies applying for numerous patents, it is not that difficult to see that Focus Metals has positioned themselves extremely well for the impending rise in anticipated demand for both graphite and graphene. Does Focus Metals have any competitors? That would depend on what a person wants to use for the definition of competitors. From the aspect of whether there are additional companies who will be attempting to sell graphite and or graphene, yes, there will be competitors. From the aspect of, can any other companies boast of a world class deposit such as Lac Knife, which holds some of the highest grade graphite known at this time, no. It is common knowledge that company CEO, Gary Economo, has been in various talks with a number of companies, and the basis for these talks is to establish one or more off-take agreement(s). I would expect this decision could be made in the near future, but keep in mind that it is an arduous task for companies interested in the graphite to run many complex and sophisticated tests on the graphite, to ensure its suitability. Graphite is very different from most any other mine in this aspect. Gold is gold, and silver is silver, however this holds no bearing on how graphite is sold. Companies who may be interested in buying graphite will need to make certain that the graphite will meet any number of prerequisites. The fact that Lac Knife holds such an unusually high grade of graphite can only be considered a blessing of the largest kind, since this puts Focus Metals well in front of most, if not all other graphite explorers and producers. Not only does the NI43-101 report state how high the quality is, but we have this excerpt from Professor Nosker.
On behalf of AMIPP (Advanced Materials via Immiscible Polymer Processing), Professor Nosker said a huge opportunity is waiting to be opened by the cooperative venture.
“I am very pleased that we have an opportunity to spearhead the exploration for the applications from the very high quality graphite received from the Lac Knife project in Canada,” he said.
“This material, formed together in an igneous rock formation millions of years ago, has extreme high electrical conductivity relating to the perfection of the graphite crystals formed there.
“There are many engineering applications for these materials just waiting to be discovered,” Prof. Nosker added.

When I read all that companies like Samsung, Nokia, and IBM, just to name a few, are investing into the research of graphene, it becomes clear in my mind that graphite and graphene are both headed for a much higher demand as we move closer and closer to the breakthroughs that will help graphene live up to the expectations that the world has bestowed upon it. This will most certainly help Focus Metals in my opinion. I believe we will see an increase in the demand of graphite, although I would not expect that immediately. Graphene demand will continue to grow I expect, and I can easily see graphene demand growing many fold as these research projects begin to produce usable ways to incorporate graphene into many of the products we use on a daily basis. I firmly believe graphene will be the next item to revolutionize the world, and Focus Metals is the company I see best positioned to take advantage of this.

For anyone interested in considering Focus Metals as an investment choice, I highly recommend that you do your own due diligence, and seek the advice of a professional advisor. Focus Metals has a website which can be found at

For disclosure purposes I have received no compensation of any kind for this posting or for my opinions. All opinions herein are strictly my own. I own shares of Focus Metals