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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L027151/1
Title: Nano-Optics to controlled Nano-Chemistry Programme Grant (NOtCH)
Principal Investigator: Baumberg, Professor JJ
Other Investigators:
Keyser, Professor UF Steiner, Professor U Scherman, Professor O
Hess, Professor O
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
BP Cambridge Enterprise Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Fdn Trust Microsoft National Physical Laboratory NPL
Nokia Skolkovo Inst of Sci and Tech (Skoltech)
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Programme Grants
Starts: 01 October 2014 Ends: 31 March 2021 Value (£): 4,644,894
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Healthcare
Energy Information Technologies
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
23 Apr 2014 Programme Grant Interviews - 23 April 2014 (Physical Sciences & Engineering) Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
We can use intricately controlled assemblies of metals carved into structures on the scale of a billionth of a metre, to funnel and concentrate light into tiny volumes of space. This 'nano-optics' allows us to access for the first time small numbers of molecules and atoms moving around in real time. Even more interesting we can start to use light to control the movement of molecules and atoms, since it can produce strong forces directly at the nanoscale.

In this research, we plan to use our new-found ability to concentrate on a whole range of physical phenomena that underlie devices at the heart of healthcare, information technology, and energy production. For instance we can watch how lithium ions move into and out of a small fragment of battery, and how the deformations of the atomic lattice are produced, which is what determines how long batteries last and how much energy they can store. Another project uses light to move gold atoms around inside larger carbon-based molecules, to control what colour they absorb at, and what molecules they can sense. Further projects build wallpapers constructed from tiny flipping components that produce colour changes on demand, the precursor to walls that change colour at the flick of a switch or display images or text on the side of lorries.

Underpinning all this are serious advances in learning how to build such structures reliably, so anyone can make use of our new ideas. We understand very little about what happens when we put molecules inside such compressed nano-cavities for light, and these fundamentals will open up new areas. This research also crucially helps us understand what new properties we can create, and predicts how to improve them best. This will lay open many of the new technologies of the next century.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk