Our licensing opportunities tagged with Novel Materials are shown below.
Printable electronics have to date been limited by the lower electron mobility and hence operation speed of organic materials compared to silicon, the production cost, processing requirements and performance of metal or carbon nanoparticle-based inks. Current generation transparent and electrically conductive layers are stiff and brittle and hence limit flexible electronic applications.
Professor Andrea Ferrari and his team in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge have developed a novel method of ink production based on layered nanomaterials such as graphene. This technology overcomes the issues of current printable inks and can be printed by various methods on flexible substrates.
Without using dyes or other applied colourants, polymer opals reflect specific colours due to their physical structure. By choosing the spacing of tiny polymer spheres which make up the material, the colour can be tailored to any colour in the rainbow. Stretching the material changes that spacing – and also the colour. So a sample of polymer opal material might stretch from red to green and then blue, reversibly relaxing back to its original colour. Colour changes can even be localised to reveal a pattern such as a logo on stretching.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge, working with colleagues at the LBF Fraunhofer Institute in Darmstadt (formerly DKI), have developed this material system and its manufacturing process so that polymer opals can now be produced in an industrially scalable way and laminated simply onto any appropriate substrate, including fabric, for applications such as security, brand protection and clothing. We are now actively seeking a partner to take this process to the next stage and would welcome contact from companies with interest or experience in this area.
Please see the linked documents for technical information and a more visual demonstration of polymer opals’ colour behaviour.
The next generation of "smart" materials will require molecular self-assembly to achieve the high degrees of functionality and complexity that are required for a wide range of applications such as heat absorbers, self-healing paints, optical sensors and drug delivery mechanisms.
Professor Chris Abell and Dr. Oren Scherman have developed a new technique for manufacturing such functional materials in large volumes, using supramolecular, stimuli-responsive polymers.
Aqueous microfluidic droplets dispersed in oil are used as templates for building discrete supramolecular assemblies. These assemblies form highly uniform microcapsule structures, the shells of which can be tailored to enable and monitor, passive or active release of encapsulated contents to meet a range of market needs.
Nanoporous materials have many applications including the formation of high surface area electrodes that increase the efficiency of fuel cells, photovoltaics, OLED devices and membrane separation technologies, such as desalination.
The main advantage of these materials is that they can be bicontinuous, which means that the porous portions of the material are completely accessible. Currently it is difficult to create such a structure in a controlled manner, as this requires controlled chemistry and long processing times.
This novel invention is a robust method of creating nanoporous materials from copolymeric systems. Through the application of the UV radiation. cross-linking and photodegradation convert an initially spherical, micellar system into a bicontinuous matrix of polymer and voids.
The resulting template can be used as-is or can, with further, simple chemical transformations, be converted into inorganic nanoporous materials that have other exotic functionalities such as water splitting, tunable magnetoelectric properties, and high surface area electrodes.
A method for forming small catalytic nanoparticles at high densities over a substrate to serve as nuclei for the growth of carbon nanotubes (or CNTs). The inventors have experimentally grown CNTs with densities of 5•1012 cm-12 (five times greater than the closest rival technology), and expect that arrays of CNTs with densities of 1013 cm-2 or higher can be grown using this method.
A manufacturing process for embedding multiple parallel micro-capillaries into flat, flexible polymer tapes and films has been developed. Application areas include chemical and biochemical analysis, medical applications, heat exchangers and pressure sensing applications.
The shape and size of these micro-capillaries can be easily controlled, ranging in diameter from 5 to 500 microns, and having circular, elliptical or diamond cross-sections, allowing transport of liquids or gases at pressures as high as 50 bar. The capillary walls can also be designed to be semi-permeable or catalytic.
Gaussian Approximation Potential (GAP) is a novel atomistic modelling technique that combines accuracy with speed. By inferring the energy of an atom from the position and identity of its neighbours using a precomputed database of exact quantum mechanical solutions, the potential energy surface of a system of atoms and molecules is approximated.
This methodology allows a controllable compromise to be made between the accuracy of Quantum Chemistry models and the speed of Interatomic Potential methods, with applications in a diverse range of fields including pharmaceuticals, aerospace, electronics and biotechnology.