Early patterns of commercialization in graphene

Philip Shapira, Jan Youtie, Sanjay Arora

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Graphene is a novel nanomaterial consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms. It has attracted significant attention due to its distinctive properties, which include great strength, electrical and thermal conductivity, and lightness. While many diverse and exciting potential applications are discussed, the commercialization of scientific discoveries such as graphene is inherently uncertain. There is often considerable time lag between the science, the early development of a new technology, and its adoption by corporate and other actors. In part this relates to the extent to which firms are able to absorb knowledge and engage in learning to implement applications of the new technology. In this chapter, we consider three different possible patterns of corporate learning and activity These are: (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. We analyze corporate publication and patent activity across countries and lines of application. The results indicate that, while graphene as a whole is experiencing concurrent scientific development and patenting growth, country-and application-specific trends offer some evidence of both the linear and double-boom models. Thus the empirical path of development cannot be accounted for by just one of the models nor is one model sufficient guidance for policy and strategy formation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScience, Technology and Innovation Policy for the Future
Subtitle of host publicationPotentials and Limits of Foresight Studies
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783642318276
ISBN (Print)9783642318269
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Patent activity
  • Corporate activity
  • National innovation system
  • Memory area
  • Graphene domain


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