AMBER research reveals a fundamental breakthrough in the future of designing materials

A team of researchers from AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre based in Trinity College Dublin, have made a breakthrough in the area of material design – one that challenges the commonly held view on how the fundamental building blocks of matter come together to form materials. Professor John Boland, Principal Investigator in AMBER and Trinity’s School of Chemistry, researcher Dr. Xiaopu Zhang, with Professors Adrian Sutton and David Srolovitz from Imperial College London and University of Pennsylvania, have shown that the granular building blocks in copper can never fit together perfectly, but are rotated causing an unexpected level of misalignment and surface roughness. This behaviour, which was previously undetected, applies to many materials beyond copper and will have important implications for how materials are used and designed in the future. The research was published today in the prestigious journal, Science*. The Intel Corp. Components Research Group also collaborated on the publication.

State of the art sensors using graphene and silly putty

Researchers in AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland-funded materials science research centre, hosted in Trinity College Dublin, have used the wonder material graphene to make the novelty children’s material silly putty® (polysilicone) conduct electricity, creating extremely sensitive sensors. This world first research, led by Professor Jonathan Coleman from TCD and in collaboration with Prof Robert Young of the University of Manchester, potentially offers exciting possibilities for applications in new, inexpensive devices and diagnostics in medicine and other sectors.

Bioprinting bone precursors

The video was made by PhD student Andrew Daly, working with AMBER Principal Investigator and Director of the Trinity College Centre for Bioengineering, Prof Daniel Kelly. The video shows the stages of bioprinting different materials and adult stem cells resulting in a cartilage template, which they showed supported the development of a vascularized bone organ.

AMBER researchers discover a new behaviour of graphene

Prof Graham Cross and postdoctoral fellow Dr. James Annett of AMBER found that they can induce graphene, a sheet of the element carbon only one atom thick, to spontaneously assemble into ribbons and other shapes while lying on a surface.Their research was published in the prestigious journal Nature this week and introduces a significant new fabrication method for graphene, as well as creating new technologies that harness the properties of
these molecular sheets in ways not previously envisaged.

Graphene typically remains stable when resting on a substrate. The movie consists of a series of Atomic Force Microscopy images which were recorded over 2 weeks after the graphene sheet was perforated, which left small scale folded structures at the periphery of the perforation. These small scale structures spontaneously grew in size by microns. This behaviour is usually observed in liquids where surface forces dominate over cohesive forces leading to flow and reconfiguration due to thermodynamic forces. Here we see that graphene, a solid state material, can undergo similar spontaneous reconfiguration whereby instead of liquid flow, the solid reconfigures by sliding peeling and fracture.