Early patterns of commercial activity in graphene

  • Philip Shapira
  • Jan YoutieEmail author
  • Sanjay Arora
Research Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Technology Transfer and Commercialization of Nanotechnology


Graphene, a novel nanomaterial consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms, has attracted significant attention due to its distinctive properties, including great strength, electrical and thermal conductivity, lightness, and potential benefits for diverse applications. The commercialization of scientific discoveries such as graphene is inherently uncertain, with the lag time between the scientific development of a new technology and its adoption by corporate actors revealing the extent to which firms are able to absorb knowledge and engage in learning to implement applications based on the new technology. From this perspective, we test for the existence of three different corporate learning and activity patterns: (1) a linear process where patenting follows scientific discovery; (2) a double-boom phenomenon where corporate (patenting) activity is first concentrated in technological improvements and then followed by a period of technology productization; and (3) a concurrent model where scientific discovery in publications occurs in parallel with patenting. By analyzing corporate publication and patent activity across country and application lines, we find that, while graphene as a whole is experiencing concurrent scientific development and patenting growth, country- and application-specific trends offer some evidence of the linear and double-boom models.


Graphene Commercialization Publication Patent Nanotechnology transfer 



This study was undertaken with support from the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (sponsored by the National Science Foundation under cooperative agreement #0937591). Additional support was provided through a UK–US Collaboration Development Award (Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Global Partnership Fund); and the UK–US Higher Education, New Partnership Fund (British Council). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Manchester Business SchoolUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.School of Public PolicyGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Enterprise Innovation InstituteGeorgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, USAAtlantaUSA

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