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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R022518/1
Title: Soft Processing to Enable the Low Impact, Sustainable Manufacture of Inorganic Materials and Advanced Inorganic Semiconductor Composites
Principal Investigator: Lewis, Dr DJ
Other Investigators:
Yeates, Professor SG
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 29 March 2018 Ends: 31 March 2022 Value (£): 474,388
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Manufacturing Machine & Plant Materials Characterisation
Materials Processing
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
21 Nov 2017 Manufacturing Prioritisation Panel - Nov 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The development and large scale manufacture of advanced materials is one of the 'eight great technologies' that have been highlighted by the British Government that should be pursued to drive economic growth. The production of advanced composites with defined optical and electronic properties is a key area of research in this remit. The incorporation of semiconductor materials into host materials such as paper, plastics, polymers and textiles is of interest for the production of printed and wearable smart technology for personal energy generation or for health monitoring. However, despite research efforts in this area, many of the current pathways to produce advanced materials, for example semiconductors, require high temperature processing steps that limit the host matrix that can be used, or require high vacuum which limits scalability.

In this proposal we directly address this manufacturing limitation by using soft processing (i.e. low temperature <200 C, ambient pressure) to enable the potentially scalable production of a range of metal sulfide semiconductor polymer composites. We will show that our processing route is suitable for producing a range of binary, tertiary and quaternary metal sulfide polymer composities in a range of dimensionalities (i.e. 1D, 2D 3D), controlled by judicious choice of processing route. Finally, we will demonstrate how the manufacturing route we propose is compatible with laser printing, and will produce the world's first example of a Maxwell colour triangle for the Cu/Zn/Sn sulfide system.

Successful outcomes will be in the development of new soft processing pathways for a range of advanced semiconductor composites, which could lessen the economic and environmental impact of material manufacture for future generations. The manufacturing processes that we are proposing allow the design and realisation of a suite of new products with as yet unknown, but potentially advantageous, properties. Additionally, the advent of laser printing as a manufacturing route enabled by the research proposed here would provide a significant step change in the way that these materials can be processed and manufactured allowing high throughput printing of semiconductor arrays on inexpensive, light and flexible substrates such as paper or acetates for applications such as building integrated PV, personal energy generation or wearable sensors.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk