AMBER’s research programme operates in a hub and spoke structure. The hub includes three platform programmes that focus on the grand challenge of understanding and harnessing the interactions between materials at their interfaces – to create new functionality through intelligent surface engineering. The hub also includes one platform programme which focuses on CRANN’s strengths in the areas of microscopy, computation and environmental health and safety. The “spokes” of the AMBER proposal are targeted research projects which involve collaboration and co-investment by industry.
The AMBER proposal encompasses 18 targeted research projects co-defined with a partner company that has its own clearly delineated research challenge, timeframe and impacts. These programmes include the development of novel silicon devices, medical implant coatings, thermoelectric devices, magnetic memory devices, cardiovascular stent delivery systems and membranes for both filtration and diagnostic devices.
AMBER’s first hub programme focuses on the enormous potential offered by 2D nanosheet materials. Recent developments in liquid exfoliation of layered materials will enable the development of new kinds of materials for applications in electronics, energy devices, and packaging (mechanical properties and gas barrier layers). This platform will utilise computational screening coupled with liquid processing, and subsequently CVD, to identify and characterise the most interesting candidates for proof-of-concept demonstrators.
Lead Investigator: Prof. Jonathan Coleman
AMBER’s second hub programme will investigate structures comprising 2D films or wires where the interfaces are critical for controlling electronic and transport properties. Because of their large surface-area-to-volume ratios the properties of nanoscale materials are greatly influenced by surface functionalisation or interaction with supporting substrates. Here we explore opportunities that arise from manipulating the interfaces that exist between nanoscale materials (sheets, films and wires) and their connectivity. We aim to demonstrate how this interplay provides a viable route to property control and possibly the development of new paradigms for device operation. This will include new transparent conducting oxides, magnetic tunnel junctions and memristors.
Lead Investigator: Prof. J.M.D. Coey
AMBER’s third hub programme will investigate the physical and chemical properties of biomaterials and will use advanced methods of surface modification to modulate the host response to implants with the aim of improving clinical outcomes. The outputs will be combined with those from the 2-D Materials platform to develop next generation implants and tissue engineered constructs targeting specific clinical problems in orthopaedic and cardiovascular medicine. The programme will bring together material scientists, bio-engineers, immunologists and clinicians and will deliver outputs in areas of importance to Ireland’s medical device Industry.
Lead Investigator: Prof. Daniel Kelly
The three platform areas and the targeted industry projects are all underpinned by AMBER’s strengths in: