CICECO is organised in 4 research lines (thematic axes transversal to groups) expressing areas of societal challenges, and 5 groups focused on materials. 'Sustainability' will be at the core of our work and computing modelling and simulation ('Materials Genome') will be pervasive. The following lines (L) and groups (G) are 'soft' structures (fostering collaboration between people) not crystallised hierarchical assemblies:
Materials to be developed span from ceramics and inorganic materials to soft matter, biopolymers and organic-inorganic hybrids. They will be 'right-size' materials, prepared and processed at the appropriate length scale, or hierarchically structured, often multifuncional. Examples of the applications we wish to pursue are:
- Develop novel nano- and micro-structured materials, and innovative synthesis and processing methods, leading to the foundation of basic scientific knowledge on structure-property (electrical, magnetic, optical and biological) relationships. Much attention will be devoted to organic-inorganic hybrids, functional and multifunctional materials, ferroic ceramics and nanostructures of different dimensionality (0-3 D).
- Design of devices for green photonics (information and communication technology), viz. solid-state lighting, photovoltaic conversion, optical communications and sensing. Examples are: cylindrical luminescent solar concentrators made of plastic-optical fibers coated with Ln3+-doped hybrids, ratiometric thermometers based on Ln3+-doped thin films for sensing in microoptics and microelectronics and UV-direct laser writing integrated active and passive optic components fabricated using organic-inorganic hybrids (e.g. waveguides, filters, splitters, interferometers and externally-actuated devices for polarization control). The new cleaning room facility will permit to drastically improve the quality of the hybrid thin films processing and consequently the device performance.
- Develop new material's concepts based on composites and modified surfaces of ceramics, molten salts and polymers for energy conversion and storage applications, including solar cells, fuel cells, capacitors, heat/cold storage, magnetocaloric and thermoelectric conversion, and related oxygen and carbon dioxide gas separation for oxy-fuel and CO2-lean processes.
- Develop electric and magnetic systems for high and low frequency applications.
- Develop active multi-functional coatings, thin films and carbon nanostructures to increase added value and to widen industrial application range of various materials and multi-material assemblies with enhanced corrosion resistance, mechanical/thermal properties and detection/sensing capabilities.
- Develop the biorefinery concept, generating the scientific and technological knowledge to create processes of fractionation and of chemical and/or biotechnological transformation of biomass into chemicals, fuels and (nano)materials, at the laboratory, pilot and industrial scale, adding value to agro-forest resources.
- Create the scientific and technological knowledge for the valorization, at the laboratory, pilot and industrial scale, of industrial and electronic wastes, and the development of urban mining approaches to recycle metals, rare earths, ceramic or cement-based materials, while minimizing the life-cycle impact of these products.
- Develop osteoinductive biomaterials, new composite scaffolds, and biodegradable polymers for regenerative medicine
- Develop nanoparticles for hyperthermia, drug delivery, imaging, photodriven and environmental applications.
- Develop analytical tools for assessing biomaterial's biotoxicity and interactions with living organisms, materials (including nanomaterials) as environmental hazards and disease diagnosis.