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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N016920/1
Title: Roll-to-roll Self-assembly of Advanced Photonic NanoMaterials (R2R-4Photonics)
Principal Investigator: Baumberg, Professor JJ
Other Investigators:
De Volder, Professor M Vignolini, Professor S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
BBI Group (British Biocell Int) (UK) Cambridge Enterprise Centre for Process Innovation Limited
De La Rue Defence Science & Tech Lab DSTL Johnson Matthey
Malwee Malhas Ltda Mars UK Ltd Nokia
NSG Group (UK) Oxford Nanopore Technologies Pragmatic Semiconductor Limited
RK Print Coat Instruments Ltd Smith & Nephew Extruded Films Ltd Varichem Co. Ltd
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 April 2016 Ends: 31 March 2020 Value (£): 970,063
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Lasers & Optics Manufacturing Machine & Plant
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
25 Nov 2015 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 25th and 26th November 2015 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
It is a major problem to exploit the new ideas emerging from the Photonics/Plasmonics/Metamaterials academic community (in which the UK is strong) for real-world applications. In this field, the intricate structure of metals and dielectrics on the nanoscale produces radically new optical properties which are the basis for many devices and materials. However because the nanoscale architectures are designed by academics with little thought to manufacturability, most of these ideas founder very early against cost, method and volume considerations. We aim to invert this model, examining much more seriously a number of different fabrication routes that look promising for delivering scale-up of manufacturing nanostructures with novel and useful photonic materials and metamaterials functionality. However, blind approaches from considerations only of manufacturability are unlikely to locate useful functionalities. As a result we are strongly guided by a set of successful platforms developed over the last 5 years, which already embed the promise of scale-up due to their use of bottom-up self-assembly. In this programme, we develop such directed-assembly towards real capabilities for manufacturing.

Success in this domain will be directly exploited by a number of UK companies, both large and small, but even more importantly will be transformative for UK approaches to manufacturing. Despite huge investments in top-down nanofabrication in the UK, little commercial return has been produced. Alternative approaches based on self-assembly already have traction (for instance inside Unilever), and offer routes to mass-scale production with a cost model that is realistic. What industry needs is not the ideas, but a well-developed research programme into the manufacturing space that will allow them to make use of these advances. Our programme will deliver this through tightly coupling nanoassembly, nanophotonics, and nano-manufacturing.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk