Functional Network Materials
Functionality in materials can be affected by the addition of porosity or free volume that tailor materials into networks. Thus, in contrast to their bulk counterparts, materials can be given novel mechanical, electrical, sensory, actuatory, or optical properties to name a few. Such functionality can be created by self-organization, top-down or bottom-up fabrication like additive manufacturing.
Smart Intervention Materials for Health
Implant materials or drug delivery devices are constantly being optimized in terms of their effects in space (for local therapy) and time (for optimal therapeutic effect). Instead of flooding the body with medication or creating permanent static implants, timely drug delivery in a localized space can harbor maximum drug efficacy with minimum side effects. Such triggers can be implemented by smart switching inside of the materials themselves or combined with complex structuring to facilitate controlled localized treatments.
Smart Energy Materials and Devices
The demand for energy is constantly increasing and the need for clever usage and power distribution is higher than ever. Technical and social developments such as electricity from renewable energy sources demand for new energy materials and components from power electronics to distribute electrical power intelligently and in line with the demand. Thin film technologies, 3D architectures or complete integration of smart transformers can all play their part in achieving a smart grid to counteract overloads and outages. Energy storage done by supercapacitors or novel battery strategies also play a crucial role in the interconnected smart power nets of the future.
Memristive & Neuromorphic Materials and Devices
Memristive materials are able to “remember” the previous charge flow and are changing their electrical resistance accordingly. With these electronic memory components, the biological paradigms of information processing in networks like learning and memorizing can be imitated. This can lead to completely new, energy-efficient hardware for information technology and may lay the groundwork for a next generation of computer architectures and technologies with applications in sensor technology, robotics or autonomous vehicles.
Magnetoelectric Materials, Composites, and Devices
Magnetoelectric materials combining piezoelectric and magnetostrictive properties can be used, for example, as magnetoelectric sensors that detect magnetic signals from the human body, specifically the brain or heart, and convert them into electrical signals. The approach may thus lead to the development of medical sensors for improved biomagnetic diagnostics. Another field of application is in miniaturized actuators for carrying out tiny movements in a controlled manner for, e.g., smart robotics.
Hybrid Quantum Materials
Hybrid quantum materials and devices give rise to novel emergent electronic properties by materials combination of, e.g., classical metals and semiconductors with correlated insulators, superconductors, or topological materials. They can be built in a very controlled way from 2D materials or combinations of 2D materials with nanostructures and open up new possibilities in the physics and application of quantum transport phenomena. Of particular interest are the combination of low-dimensional materials with new electronic device concepts or measurement techniques and their applications in, e.g., photonics, sensors and quantum computing.
The integration of living cells and tissues or simply active natural molecules with synthetic materials can yield completely new applications not feasible otherwise because of complexity or biocompatibility. A wide range of bioactive nano- and micromaterials can be merged with the functionalities of living tissue to realize applications, for example, in soft robotics or implants. The tailoring of implant surfaces with biomolecules such as individual proteins, DNA or designed cell films can improve their biocompatibility, while the combination of muscle cells with electrically conductive nanomaterials may lead to new robot designs.
Hot Topic Materials
Intelligent materials are understood in the narrower sense to be materials that have been specially developed to react independently in a certain way to changing environmental conditions. In a broader sense, it includes all materials whose properties can be influenced by active control in a way that is not possible with ordinary materials. Either way, all materials that can contribute to allow intelligent functions or even perform them which you consider as novel are welcome in this category.