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Magnetoelectrics Beyond 2020: A Training Programme on Energy-Efficient Magnetoelectric Nanomaterials for Advanced Information and Healthcare Technologies

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BeMAGIC (Magnetoelectrics Beyond 2020: A Training Programme on Energy-Efficient Magnetoelectric Nanomaterials for Advanced Information and Healthcare Technologies)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-08-31

BeMAGIC is a joint academic-industrial inter-disciplinary initiative which has the primary goal of training 15 young researchers in the utilization of magnetoelectric (ME) nanomaterials to face important challenges in strategic sectors of modern society: information technologies and health. BeMAGIC brings together a balanced combination of Research Teams and Private Companies from different disciplines (i.e. Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, Engineering and Biotechnology) to ensure the success of the Training activities. In addition, the network partners are complementary to each other in many aspects: available infrastructure, background of the Senior Researchers, Academic versus Industrial know-how, theoretical versus experimental skills, and Eastern versus Western Europe.

Specifically, BeMAGIC encompasses the following technological domains and specific applications, in which the combined action of electric and magnetic fields can lead to huge advances in the short/medium-term future:
• Information technologies: magnetic storage, spintronic devices, magnonics.
• Healthcare technologies: wireless, electric-field assisted, biomedical therapies, i.e. deep neural stimulation, cell electrofusion, anti-cancer drug delivery.

The main objectives of the BeMAGIC project are: (i) to design/screen suitable ME materials using first-principles calculations and undertake fundamental studies to shed light on new ME actuation mechanisms, (ii) to optimize the synthesis/growth conditions for the various types of investigated ME nanomaterials, (iii) to correlate the ME response with the microstructure/composition of the target materials, (iv) to develop new classes of energy-efficient spintronic/magnonic devices using ME nanomaterials, (v) to implement ultra-secure, anti-hacking data systems and anti-counterfeit technologies using multiferroics and magneto-ionic effects, ant (vi) to investigate new biomedical therapies based on ME stimulation.
BeMAGIC has successfully achieved all the training objectives of the 1st reporting period. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the 15 ESRs (Early Stage Researchers) were recruited, and they are properly implementing their research projects and being trained as initially foreseen. All the milestones have been successfully accomplished, the deliverables have been submitted on time and 4 network events have been organized: (i) BeMAGIC Kick-off meeting (UAB, 28-29 November 2019, Castelldefels, Spain), (ii) 1st BeMAGIC Workshop (CNR, 9-10 September 2020, online), (iii) Mid-term Check and Workshop (IFW, 7-11 December 2020, online) and (iv) Summer School (UCAM, 7-9 April 2021 (workshop) and 10-11 May 2021 (transferable skills), online). Besides the theoretical, experimental, and soft skills training given in the BeMAGIC workshops, the ESRs were enrolled in the local PhD progammes, they are being supervised and trained by the researchers-in-charge of the Beneficiary partners and they are being seconded by other network institutions.

Most of the initial scientific objectives of the project have also been successfully accomplished. These include samples’ fabrication (thin films, nanoparticles and heterostructures) and the basic structural and magnetic characterization, aiming at subsequent applications in the information technology and biomedicine fields.

The research results obtained by the network members have been disseminated through the publication of 5 articles in high impact peer-reviewed journals. Additionally, 4 articles are in an advanced stage of preparation. Moreover, 10 presentations have been delivered in national and international conferences by the network members (6 poster presentations and 4 oral talks). The most relevant achievements and news concerning the action have also been communicated to the general public through outreach activities and the BeMAGIC communication channels: website (https://bemagic-etn.eu/) Facebook (https://www.Facebook.com/BeMAGIC.ITN) Twitter (@BEMAGIC5) and LinkedIN (https://www.linkedin.com/company/bemagic/).
The field of magnetoelectric (ME) materials applied to Information and healthcare technologies is rather new and has not sufficiently reached university syllabuses. There are several scientific and technological challenges to be faced, which BeMAGIC seeks to overcome:
• New materials, synthetic methods and instrumentation: while some Partners have deep expertise on the synthesis of ME, some of the companies will provide the tools for new instrumental development.
• Novel mechanisms to induce ME effects: BeMAGIC offers a Research Programme in which several ME mechanisms (strain-mediated, charge accumulation, magneto-ionic, etc.) will be jointly investigated in order to disentangle mixed contributions and give response to technological demands in a convenient manner.

BeMAGIC aims to exploit these new applications of ME materials in very innovative areas, such as wireless deep neural stimulation, cell electrofusion, energy-efficient spintronic systems or magnonics. The multidisciplinary approach of the project, which combines fundamental research with relevant applications to the market, is intended to promote market exploitation of the research outcome. By working together, universities, research institutes and companies, solutions to the global energy-consumption challenge in electronics as well as in the non-invasive cell stimulation field, are emerging, thus expanding the market areas of BeMAGIC companies (and others in the sector) for the benefit of society and economy. This is increasing Europe's attractiveness as a leading research/innovation opportunity for talented researchers within Europe and from abroad, which is improving the development and consolidation of the ERA (European Research Area). The outreach activities of the network and the communication channels of the action are already playing an important role to increase the knowledge and the attraction of the ME research field for the society.
Magnetoelectric actuation mechanisms that are studied in BeMAGIC
Territorial distribution of the BeMAGIC Consortium
BeMAGIC management flow chart
Training objectives in BeMAGIC