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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/C511794/1
Title: Complex Materials Discovery Portfolio Partnership
Principal Investigator: Rosseinsky, Professor M
Other Investigators:
Cooper, Professor A
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
CNRS Group Organic Materials Innovation Centre Powerwave UK Ltd
SAFC Hitech Tohoku University (Japan) University of Liverpool
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Liverpool
Scheme: Portfolio Partnerships PreFEC
Starts: 01 October 2004 Ends: 30 September 2010 Value (£): 5,303,744
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Chemicals
Electronics
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
A grand challenge in science is the controlled assembly of atoms and molecules into novel forms as the basis for new physical phenomena and next-generation technologies. This Portfolio Partnership will focus on materials discovery through the development of fundamental synthesis capabilities that will allow structure and composition to be controlled and predicted on length scales from the unit cell to microns. The science we target will empower societal efforts to face such challenges as sustainable development (energy sources and storage, catalysis, alternative solvents), information and communications technologies, and the development of complex 'bioinspired' materials. Our overall goal is to design and synthesize materials that are unimaginable today; for example, to make completely synthetic structures from materials such as silica, metals, and polymers which have some of the hierarchical complexity of natural living organisms but retain and enhance the function of the non-natural component.Although we have extensive characterisation expertise and applications - specific programmes in areas such as microwave resonators for telecommunications and nanocomposites for home and personal care applications - it is the fundamental expertise in discovery of new states of matter which is the internationally-leading expertise we aim to build on here. The scientific capability of the partnership team encompasses a vast range of topical materials and associated functionality - from dense inorganic oxide materials (with electron and ion transport and polarisation properties responsible for superconductivity, magnetoresistance, ferro - and dielectric behaviour and (electro) catalysis) via molecular extended solids (open-framework materials for gas storage and catalysis, fullerene-based superconducting and magnetic materials) to flexible organic-based polymers with the capability to both mimic and improve on Nature, to support and enhance chemically functional molecules, and to impose nanostructured order on particles and molecules. The Partnership will focus its research activity on the most exciting problems within these areas and aggressively exploit the potential for the discovery of unprecedented materials that is opened by the diversity of length scales over which we work. Four research themes have been selected to reflect the most important problems where materials discovery can set the research agenda, reflecting the need for synthetic control, predictable modular modification of structure and enhancement of function and organisation over multiple length scales:Functional porous solids (e.g., nanoporous materials for hydrogen storage which operate by capturing the H2 guest with gated windows ; synthetic equivalents of biological spores - templated porous materials for controlled gated release of nanoparticle hosts) Multifunctional materials (e.g.,molecular factories with segregated function that act like cells)Highly correlated electronic systems (e.g., materials to allow electron spin to be exploited in electronic devices)Unthinkable materials (e.g., polymers that dissolve in compressed gases such as C02 to enable new, 'green' processes)The proposal rests on our track record for the intelligent design and innovative synthesis of real materials, informed by application of Density Functional Theory, modelling, and enabled by informatics for experimental design and analytical prediction. New state-of-theart capability developments (e.g., high-throughput synthesis approaches and use of robotics; FEG electron microscopy to allow continuous analysis over nm-mm length scales) will also be deployed.The Partnership will have the capability and procedural flexibility to address these challenges by exploiting the unique combination of skills and equipment base in Liverpool - the ability to perform internationally-leading science over a range of length scales is particularly enabling in allowing us to tackle ambitious problems that other groups simply lack the scientific basis and instrumental backing to deal with effectively.The Partnership mechanism will give our synthetic/discovery programme much higher impact by enhanced, targeted collaboration with the wide range of application and measurement groups that we work with in the UK and internationally, in industrial and academic sectors.
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Organisation Website: http://www.liv.ac.uk