Graphene as a material (of future) become known in the 2004 when two scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov patented it. Ideas for using this material or compound were growing exponentially since then.
Since it can be single layer of atom thin and has great strength and electrical conductivity Nokia had an idea of using it in camera sensors. Back in 2012 Nokia was granted with a patent of a graphene based camera sensor, and later in 2013 was already testing camera with that sensor. The interesting thing is that Nokia was involved as a partner in Graphene Flagship Consortium which was funded by the European Union with purpose to commercialize the utility of this super material. As mentioned previously plans of making camera sensors with graphene layers were the real deal for Nokia, and recent rumours were saying that we could even see it in some future top model smartphone with Nokia logo on it.
Well, that could be true since scientists from the University of Cambridge in conjunction with business partners managed to develop graphene based infra-red (IR) detector with high sensitivity to heat. This sensitivity can be thanked to graphene monolayer that can change its electrical resistance with little increase of heat in pyroelectric substrate that lies beneath, and thus created an electric field can be amplified and registered by the device as an output, without additional external transistor amplifiers. Because of that, the signal from the sensor is clean, with little or no noise, and gives more precise readings.
Collaboration on graphene studies was established between the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona and the University of Ioannina in Greece, as well as Nokia UK and Emberion, who are local industrial partners of the Cambridge Graphene Centre. The Emberion is also interesting here since it spun off Nokia’s R&D in Finland and now it is focused on the design and production of the graphene based optoelectronics as well as other nanomaterials and CMOS integrated circuits. They also licence their technology so maybe HMD can get some discount in graphene based camera sensors since Nokia was involved deeply into their development.
This is just a short version of the great article describing this which you can read HERE.