Chemical engineering researchers have identified a new mechanism to convert natural gas into energy up to 70 times faster, while effectively capturing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. “This could make power generation from natural gas both cleaner and more efficient,” says Fanxing Li, coauthor of a paper on the research and an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at North Carolina State University. At issue is a process called chemical looping, in which a solid, oxygen-laden material—called an “oxygen carrier”—is put in contact with natural gas. The oxygen atoms in the oxygen carrier interact with the natural gas, causing combustion that produces energy. Previous state-of-the-art oxygen carriers were made from a composite of inert ceramic material and metal oxides. But Li’s team has developed a new type of oxygen carrier that include a “mixed ionic-electronic conductor,” which effectively shuttles oxygen atoms into the natural gas very efficiently—making the chemical looping combustion process as much as 70 times faster. This mixed conductor material is held in a nanoscale matrix with an iron oxide. The oxide serves as a source of oxygen for the mixed conductor to shuttle out into the natural gas. In addition to energy, the combustion process produces water vapor and CO2. By condensing out the water vapor, researchers are able to create a stream of concentrated CO2 to be captured for sequestration.
Over 20 million people in Europe suffer from osteoarthritis, which can lead to extensive damage to the knee and hip cartilage. Stem cells offer a promising way forward but a key challenge has been to design a ’smart material’ that is biologically effective for cartilage tissue regeneration. Now researchers have identified a blend of naturally occurring fibers such as cellulose and silk that makes progress towards affordable and effective cell-based therapy for cartilage repair a step closer. The EPSRC-funded study, published in Biomacromolecules and undertaken by University of Bristol (UK) researchers, explored the feasibility of using natural fibers such as silk and cellulose as stem cell scaffolds—the matrix to which stem cells can cling to as they grow. Both cellulose and silk are commonly used in textiles but the researchers demonstrated an unexpected use for the two natural polymers when mixed with stem cells. The team treated blends of silk and cellulose for use as a tiny scaffold that allows adult connective tissue stem cells to form into preliminary form of chondrocytes—the cells that make healthy tissue cartilage - and secrete extracellular matrix similar to natural cartilage. Wael Kafienah, lead author from the University’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, says, “We were surprised with this finding, the blend seems to provide complex chemical and mechanical cues that induce stem cell differentiation into preliminary form of chondrocytes without need for biochemical induction using expensive soluble differentiation factors. This new blend can cut the cost for health providers and makes progress towards effective cell-based therapy for cartilage repair a step closer.”
Researchers from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) demonstrated high-performance polymer solar cells (PSCs) with power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 8.92 percent, which are the highest values reported to date for plasmonic PSCs using metal nanoparticles (NPs). Compared to silicon-based devices, PSCs are lightweight (which is important for small autonomous sensors), solution processability (potentially disposable), inexpensive to fabricate (sometimes using printed electronics), flexible, and customizable on the molecular level, and they have lower potential for negative environmental impact. Polymer solar cells have attracted a lot of interest due to these many advantages. Although these many advantages, PSCs currently suffer from a lack of enough efficiency for large scale applications and stability problems but their promise of extremely cheap production and eventually high efficiency values has led them to be one of the most popular fields in solar cell research. The research team employed the surface plasmon resonance effect via multi-positional silica-coated silver NPs to increase light absorption.
Preterm infants appear to mature better if they are shielded from most wavelengths of visible light, from violet to orange. But it has been a challenge to develop a controllable light filter for preterm incubators that can switch between blocking out all light—for sleeping—and all but red light to allows medical staff and parents to check up on the kids when they’re awake. Now, in a paper accepted for publication in Applied Physics Letters, researchers describe a proof-of-concept mirror that switches between reflective and red-transparent states when a small voltage is applied. The research team had previously identified a magnesium-iridium reflective thin film that transforms into a red-transparent state when it incorporates protons. Providing those protons in a way that is practical for preterm incubators, however, was the challenge. The typical method—using dilute hydrogen gas—is unacceptable in a hospital setting. So the team created a stack of thin films that includes both an ion storage layer and the magnesium-iridium layer: a voltage drives protons from the ion storage layer to the magnesium-iridium layer, transforming it into its red-transparent state. Reversing the voltage transforms it back into a reflective mirror. The researchers report that the device still allows some undesirable light wavelengths through, but a force of just 5 volts changes the device’s state in as little as 10 seconds. The researchers are now looking at other materials to improve color filtering and switching speed.
Simpleware, a company set up to commercialize EPSRC-supported research at the University of Exeter, has won The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade Category. Founded in 2003 by Philippe Young, the company’s pioneering software converts 3D image data into high-quality computer models used for engineering design and simulation. The technology has been applied across a host of disciplines and industries—from mobile phones to car engines; asphalt damage to back pain, contact lenses to hearing aids. The software is underpinned by patented techniques developed and improved with the aid of EPSRC funding to produce a previously unattainable level of realism in 3D simulations. Since 2008, Simpleware’s exports have seen an overseas sales growth of 690 percent. The company’s global export markets include the United States, Germany, Japan, France, China, Australia, Canada and other EU countries. Strong re-selling networks are also being established in India, Taiwan, and Singapore. The majority of sales are to blue-chip companies, research institutes and universities world-wide, including NASA and the Naval Research Laboratory. Young says, “The ability to generate robust and accurate numerical models from various sources of image data has started a revolution in the world of multi-physics simulation.
University of Illinois researchers have developed a new way to produce highly uniform nanocrystals used for both fundamental and applied nanotechnology projects. “We have developed a unique approach for the synthesis of highly uniform icosahedral nanoparticles made of platinum,” explains Hong Yang, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and a faculty affiliate at the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Illinois. “This is important both in fundamental studies-nanoscience and nanotechnology-and in applied sciences such as high performance fuel cell catalysts. Yang’s research group focuses on the synthesis and understanding structure-property relationship of nanostructured materials for applications in energy, catalysis, and biotechnology. “Although polyhedral nanostructures, such as a cube, tetrahedron, octahedron, cuboctahedron, and even icosahedron, have been synthesized for several noble metals, uniform Pt icosahedra do not form readily and are rarely made,” states Wei Zhou, a visiting scholar with Yang’s research group. An icosahedron crystal is a polyhedron with 20 identical equilateral triangular faces, 30 edges and 12 vertices. According to Yang, icosahedral shaped crystals can improve the catalytic activity in oxygen reduction reaction partly because of the surface strain. “The key reaction step to improve the activity of oxygen electrode catalysts in the hydrogen fuel cell is to optimize the bond strength between Pt and absorbed oxygen-containing intermediate species,” Yang says. “This allows the rapid production of water and let the intermediate react and leave the surface quickly so the catalyst site can be used again.”
A team led by Professor Keon Jae Lee from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST has developed in vivo silicon-based flexible large-scale integrated circuits (LSI) for biomedical wireless communication. Silicon-based semiconductors have played significant roles in signal processing, nerve stimulation, memory storage, and wireless communication in implantable electronics. However, the rigid and bulky LSI chips have limited uses in in vivo devices due to incongruent contact with the curvilinear surfaces of human organs. Although several research teams have fabricated flexible integrated circuits (ICs, tens of interconnected transistors) on plastics, their inaccurate nanoscale alignment on plastics has restricted the demonstration of flexible nanotransistors and their large-scale interconnection for in vivo LSI applications such as main process unit, high-density memory and wireless communication. Professor Keon Jae Lee’s team fabricated radio frequency integrated circuits interconnected with thousand nanotransistors on silicon wafer by state-of-the-art CMOS process, and then they removed the entire bottom substrate except top 100 nm active circuit layer by wet chemical etching.
Micrograph of one strand of a new spray-on super-nanotube composite developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Kansas State University. A ceramic shell surrounds the multiwall nanotube core. The composite is a promising coating for laser power detectors. (Color added for clarity.) Credit: Kansas State University.
How does one measure the optical power output of lasers that are able to—and even designed to—destroy materials? Some lasers with optical output that high are built to be weapons; others are used for friendlier purposes like defusing unexploded landmines.
Designing a power detector that can capture and measure very high laser power without vaporizing away is one application of a new coating developed by researchers at Kansas State University and NIST. The team, led by Gurpreet Singh at KSU published results on a new carbon nanotube-ceramic composite coating in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, in their recent article, “Very high laser-damage threshold of polymer-derived Si(B)CN-carbon nanotube composite coatings.”
According to a NIST press release, NIST has been coating optical detectors with carbon nanotubes because their intense black color maximizes light absorption. This new coating comprises multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNT) encased in an amorphous SiBCN shell, as shown in the image above. Adding boron increases the refractoriness of the coating.
The KSU team developed the composite with an assist from the NIST researchers who suggested using toluene for both the preceramic polymer solvent and for the MWCNT dispersant. Singh explained in an email, “Toluene-CNT dispersions were more stable and homogeneous [than dispersions based on] chloroform, acetone, or water.” The NWCNTs are dispersed in toluene into which preceramic polymer is added. When the solution is heated to 1,100°C, an amorphous SiBCN shell forms over the MWCNTs. The composite is ground into a fine powder, dispersed in toluene, and sprayed onto copper substrates.
The optical power meter works by absorbing the high-intensity laser light on its inside surface, which is typically a copper cone calorimeter coated with a black absorbing material (for example, the new MWCNT-ceramic coating). It absorbs the incident light and converts it to heat. The heat transfers to water flowing behind the copper heat sink. By precisely measuring the water flow and temperature increase, the energy absorbed can be calculated. (See schematic of device.)
To test the efficacy of the composite coating, the team subjected it to 10.6-micrometer wavelength irradiation from a 2.5 kW CO2 laser. The composite coating outperformed other tested materials-MWCNT, single wall CNT, and carbon paint- by an order of magnitude or more. According to the paper’s abstract, the damage threshold for the composite coating was 15 kWcm-2 with an optical absorbance of 97 percent. Essentially, the coating absorbed all of the light.
In contrast, the MWCNT-only coating exhibited damage at 1.4 kWcm-2 with 76 percent absorbance. SWCNT broke down at 0.8 kWcm-2 and only 65 percent absorbance, and damage started in the carbon paint coating at 0.1 kWcm-2 and 87 percent absorbance.
According to the press release, the MWCNT component absorbs the irradiation and transmits the heat, while the ceramic shell provides oxidation and damage resistance. Apparently, though, under the right conditions, the outer shell oxidizes partially to form an external silica layer, which can be used to tune the coating depending on the application.
Singh said there are other possible applications for the MWCNT-ceramic coating, such as lithium-ion cycling. They are also looking into applications such as nanostructured coatings for protection in extreme environments like rocket nozzles.
This last application reminded me of an interview I did several years ago with NASA Space Shuttle astronaut, Danny Olivas. Olivas is a metallurgist and was very involved in the materials aspects of the failure analysis after Columbia disintegrated in 2003. In the aftermath, he also led the effort to develop an in-flight repair kit to mitigate damage to the heat shield tiles. (It was determined that a breach of the heat shield contributed to the Columbia tragedy.) The team developed a similar material: a preceramic polymer that fired to silicon carbide. The idea was that the polymer would be “painted” onto the damaged area and would fire, literally, using the reentry atmosphere itself as the “furnace.”
To the best of my knowledge, the system was never used (thankfully). The Shuttle program ended in 2011, so we will never know whether it would have worked.
There are currently over 40 million cars on Germany’s roads. Only a fraction of them are powered by electric energy—around 6,400 vehicles. The comparatively short range of electric cars doesn’t help their popularity. An extremely promising avenue of research is the lithium-sulfur battery, which is significantly more powerful and less expensive than the better-known lithium-ion battery. Although their short lifespan has made them unsuitable for use in cars before now, this may be about to change in the foreseeable future. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden have developed a new design that increases the charge cycles of lithium-sulfur batteries by a factor of seven. “During previous tests, the batteries scarcely crossed the 200-cycle mark. By means of a special combination of anode and cathode material, we have now managed to extend the lifespan of lithium-sulfur button cells to 1,400 cycles,” says Holger Althues, head of the Chemical Surface Technology group at IWS, who is delighted with his team’s breakthrough. The anode of the team’s prototype is not made from the usual metallic lithium, but from a silicon-carbon compound instead. This compound is significantly more stable, as it changes less during each charging process than metallic lithium. The more the structure of the anode changes, the more it interacts with the liquid electrolyte, which is situated between the anode and the cathode and carries the lithium-ions.
Once they’ve finished powering electric vehicles for hundreds of thousands of miles, it may not be the end of the road for automotive batteries, which researchers believe can provide continued benefits for consumers, automakers and the environment. Five used Chevrolet Volt batteries are at the heart of the Department of Energy Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s effort to determine the feasibility of a community energy storage system that would put electricity onto the grid. Over the next year, researchers from ORNL, General Motors and the ABB Group will conduct studies and compile data using a first-of-its-kind test platform officially commissioned today. ”With about one million lithium-ion batteries per year coming available from various automakers for the secondary market beginning in 2020, we see vast potential to supplement power for homes and businesses,” said Imre Gyuk, manager of the Energy Storage Research Program in DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. “Since these batteries could still have up to 80 percent of their capacity, they present a great opportunity for use in stationary storage devices before sending them to be recycled.”
Scientists are testing a new sensor designed to be the eyes of a future asteroid-tracking mission. “The Near Earth Object Camera (NEOCam) sensor will increase our ability to detect hazardous asteroids near the Earth and improve our understanding of threatening objects,” says William J. Forrest, professor of astronomy at the University of Rochester. Once launched, the space-based telescope would be positioned at a location about four times the distance between Earth and the moon. From this lofty perch, NEOCam could observe the comings and goings of objects near Earth without the impediments to efficient observing like cloud cover and even daylight. Asteroids do not emit visible light, they reflect it, which can make it difficult to determine size using visible light telescopes. But asteroids always emit infrared radiation. Asteroids emit most of their radiation at infrared wavelengths near about 10 microns (0.0004 inches), which humans perceive as heat. There is also relatively less radiation from stars and galaxies at these wavelengths, which simplifies detection of faint moving objects. “This sensor works at higher temperatures than any other similar ones we have at the moment,” says Judith Pipher, emeritus professor in physics and astronomy at Rochester. “This means they can be passively cooled, making the instrument less heavy and less expensive to put into space.”
(MIT Technology Review) The ability to slow down and trap light has become a hot topic in physics since it was first observed in the 1990s. The ability to trap electromagnetic waves has important applications in areas such as information storage, sensing and quantum optics. But the field has not progressed quite as quickly as many had hoped. That’s largely because of the complexity of the experimental setup and the difficulty in releasing the waves with their original properties after they have been trapped. Recently, Toshihiro Nakanishi and pals at Kyoto University in Japan reveal a new approach to this problem that has the potential to bring the routine storage and release of electromagnetic waves closer to reality. Conventional light trapping relies on atoms such as cesium and rubidium that have special combinations of ground and excited states. These atoms absorb at one specific frequency. However by zapping them with a laser at another frequency, called a probe, that excites the atoms, light can then pass through. This phenomenon is called electromagnetically induced transparency. But there is another way to achieve this kind of trapping, say Nakanishi and co. Instead of a cloud of atoms, these guys have created a metamaterial but does the same job. In this case, Nakanishi and company have created a metamaterial in which each repeating unit contains two variable capacitors. One of the capacitors is designed to absorb and radiate waves at a particular frequency while the other is designed to trap them. If the capacitors are tuned to the same frequency, any light at that frequency is absorbed and trapped. Detuning the capacitors then releases the electromagnetic waves, allowing them to continue on their way.
(American Physical Society) As a steel girder or concrete slab ages, its internal microstructure may change and lead to catastrophic failure. A proposed technique for analyzing the noise in ultrasound signals, described in Physical Review E, could provide an early warning system. The method is an adaption of an analysis previously used to characterize DNA. In the new computer simulations, the technique was able to correctly identify a wide range of microstructures in a one-dimensional material. The flooding of a river or a stock market crash may seem unpredictable, but often these events have some hidden relation to the past. The level of the river may be more likely to go up if it went up the week before, for example. It’s as if these systems retain some memory of past fluctuations, rather than having totally independent fluctuations from one moment to the next. One of the mathematical techniques for identifying such long-term memory in seemingly random data is called detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA). It has been used in the study of long-range correlations in DNA sequences, heart rates, human stride lengths, and temperature records. DFA could also be useful in ultrasonic evaluation of materials. Engineers currently use the scattering of ultrasound signals in a material as a way to nondestructively test for cracks or other large-scale features. However, research in 2004 showed that DFA performed on ultrasound signals from a cast-iron sample could reveal the fractal nature of the microstructure. André Vieira of University of São Paulo in Brazil and his colleagues at the Federal University of Ceará in Brazil have now developed a more general DFA framework for ultrasound inspection.
(R&D) Researchers are developing a new type of semiconductor technology for future computers and electronics based on “2D nanocrystals” layered in sheets less than a nanometer thick that could replace today’s transistors. The layered structure is made of a material called molybdenum disulfide, which belongs to a new class of semiconductors—metal di-chalogenides—emerging as potential candidates to replace today’s technology, complementary metal oxide semiconductors, or CMOS. New technologies will be needed to allow the semiconductor industry to continue advances in computer performance driven by the ability to create ever-smaller transistors. It is becoming increasingly difficult, however, to continue shrinking electronic devices made of conventional silicon-based semiconductors. “We are going to reach the fundamental limits of silicon-based CMOS technology very soon, and that means novel materials must be found in order to continue scaling,” says Saptarshi Das, who has completed a doctoral degree, working with Joerg Appenzeller, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and scientific director of nanoelectronics at Purdue’s Birck Nanotechnology Center. “I don’t think silicon can be replaced by a single material, but probably different materials will co-exist in a hybrid technology.” Findings show that the material performs best when formed into sheets of about 15 layers with a total thickness of 8 to 12 nanometers. The researchers also have developed a model to explain these experimental observations. “Our model is generic and, therefore, is believed to be applicable to any 2D layered system,” Das says. Molybdenum disulfide is promising in part because it possesses a bandgap, a trait that is needed to switch on and off, which is critical for digital transistors to store information in binary code.
As nanotechnology is increasingly commercialized, the question of safety, as it relates to handling the materials during synthesis and manufacture, and even in product use, arises regularly.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has the issue on their radar. According to its website, NIOSH has identified 10 critical areas that it wants to “guide in addressing knowledge gaps, developing strategies, and providing recommendations,” and it is backing it up with research on the nanomaterials in the workplace. The 10 areas are toxicity and internal dose; risk assessment; epidemiology and surveillance; engineering controls and personal protective equipment; measure methods; exposure assessment; fire and explosion safety; recommendations and guidance; communication and information; and applications.
A big problem is that it is not easy to observe how nanoparticles interact with human physiology, in part because they are so small and, because of this, analytical techniques are difficult to develop. For example, a while back we reported on research on whether zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreen might be a health hazard. In this work, investigators used nonlinear optical microscopy to directly measure ZnO nanoparticle uptake in the deep layers of human skin-those that underlie the stratum corneum surface layer.
This week, the American Chemical Society (ACS) is holding its 245th national meeting (congratulations, ACS!) in New Orleans. This year’s theme—Chemistry of Energy and Food—explores the relationship, of course, between chemistry and food. This year is the first year for a new ACS lecture, the Kavli Foundation Emerging Leader in Chemistry Lecture. The lecture, delivered on Monday by Christy Haynes of the University of Minnesota, was titled “Biological and ecological toxicity of engineered nanomaterials.” According to the ACS website, Haynes is among the first to use a specialized technique to study the effect of nanoparticles on cells called “carbon-fiber microelectrode amperometry,” which is used in medicine to study sickle cell anemia, endocrine chemistry, etc.
According to an ACS press release, Haynes says more than 800 consumer products involve nanotechnology and has given rise to the new field of “nanotoxicology.” Initially, she said in her lecture, attempts were made to infer nanotoxic effects based on analytical tests developed for bulk materials. However, as is known now, nanoparticles behave very differently from bulk particles—and not just in the body. The interest in nanoparticles as engineered materials for things like supercapacitors derives from their unique size-related properties.
Haynes said in her lecture, “a nanoparticle of material used in food or a cosmetic lotion may contain just a few atoms, or a few thousand atoms. Regular-sized pieces of that same material might contain billions of atoms. That difference makes nanoparticles behave differently than their bulk counterparts.”
Early toxicology tests, she said, were simple: Did cells growing in a laboratory culture live or die after being exposed to a nanoparticle? However, such a simple approach did not account for two important factors. First, Haynes said, “A cell can be alive but unable to function properly, and it would not be apparent in those tests. Second, nanoparticles are more highly reactive (again, an attractive, “engineerable” property), which can cause “false positives” and make nanoparticles appear more toxic than they are.
Researchers in Haynes’ lab are working on tests to determine whether “key cells in the immune system can still work normally after exposure to nanoparticles.” Also, they are using bacteria to probe whether cells exposed to nanoparticles can maintain the “biochemical chatter” that is essential.
Haynes leads the University of Minnesota’s contribution to the multi-institutional, NSF-funded Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology. Located at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the center is “devoted to investigating the fundamental molecular mechanisms by which nanoparticles interact with biological systems.”
David Willetts’ speech on the eight-part strategic technology roadmap for the UK. Credit EPSRC.
The United Kingdom’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) announced that seeks proposals to fund with a total of £85 million (approximately $120 million) aimed at increasing the nation’s research base related to three technologies:
- Advanced Materials (£30 million)
- Grid-scale Energy Storage (£30 million)
- Robotics & Autonomous Systems (£25 million)
An advocate for the funding has been David Willetts, the UK’s minister for universities and science. A report and speech (above) by Willetts in January of this year called for research in “eight great technologies.” Three of the eight are included in this funding announcement. Willetts says in a news release, “This £85 million capital fund will boost our research capability in advanced materials, energy storage, and robotics and autonomous systems. It will keep the UK at the forefront of science and innovation.”
David Delpy, the EPSRC’s chief executive, also notes in the release, “The work will help develop new ways of storing power, new materials that can aid manufacturing and other industries, and further developing how autonomous systems communicate, learn and work with humans.”
The EPSRC is somewhat analogous to the United States’ National Science Foundation and is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. It has a budget of around £800 million per year that it invests in research and postgraduate training.
In a detailed call for proposals (pdf), the EPSRC warns that it is not interested in creating new centers and will not accept proposals unless the application is from an institution or a collaboration that has successfully attracted at least £10m of research funding from any source over the past five years (April 2008-March 2013) within the relevant technology area. In addition, the call says applicants will be required to show existing significant support from EPSRC as well as evidence of a substantial financial contribution to the equipment procurement and to the potential to sustain the research.
Further, the EPSRC says individual awards are expected to be in the region of £3 million, however, it also notes that larger bids are encouraged if the applicants have a strong case that “justifies the benefit of this level of investment, if the institution contribution is significant, or if a joint bid is being made by a group of institutions.”
In regard to advanced materials funding, the call describes the EPSRC’s interest as follows:
Advanced materials are instrumental in the generation of long-term economic growth and jobs for the UK and reducing the time required to bring discoveries to the market has been recognized by global competitors in being a key driving force behind a more competitive manufacturing sector and economic growth. Focus should be on materials designed for targeted properties and on seeking to address the aims of this initiative, i.e., reducing lead times, tackling sustainability of materials and discovering new materials types.
The pervasive nature of materials and their application into countless different sectors presents simultaneously both an opportunity and a challenge. Whilst all material areas are included here, we can identify a small number of materials candidates as particular priorities offering the greatest potential to lead to new market opportunities or underpin the competitiveness of high value existing sectors. These include Advanced Composites, Low Energy Electronics (including metamaterials), Materials for Energy, High Performance Alloys, and Nanomaterials for Health.
The main objectives of the call are to:
• Invest in the development and provision of scale-up facilities, including innovative production technologies in advanced manufacturing such as advanced metrology, flow production, laser processing systems, resource efficient technologies, and multifunctional additive layer manufacturing including modeling;
• Invest in characterization of materials at the nanoscale (e.g., atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy).
The deadline for submitting proposals is May 16, 2013, and the call has quite a few more details about the contents of the applications.
A total of £73 million eventually is to be targeted for advanced materials. Besides advanced materials, grid/energy technologies, and robotics, the other five technologies Willetts identifies are big data, space, synthetic biology, regenerative medicine, agri-science.