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Microfluidic Crystal Factories (μ-CrysFact): a breakthrough approach for crystal engineering

Objective

To study and understand the aggregation, nucleation, and/or self-assembly processes of crystalline matter is of crucial importance for research and applications in many disciplines. For example, understanding the formation of crystalline amyloid fibres could lead to advances in the treatment and prevention of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, whereas controlling the process of crystal formation can play a significant role in obtaining chemicals and materials that are important for industry as well as society as a whole (e.g., drugs, superconductors, polarizers and/or frequency modulators).

Despite the impressive progress made in molecular engineering during the last few decades, the quest for a general tool-box technology to study, control and monitor crystallisation processes as well as to isolate metastable states (dynamic capture) is still incomplete. That is because crystalline assemblies are frequently investigated in their equilibrium form, driving the system to its minimum energy state. This methodology limits the emergence of new chemicals and crystals with advanced functionalities, and thus hampers advances in the field of materials engineering.

µ-CrysFact will develop tool-box technologies where diffusion-limited and kinetically controlled environments will be achieved during crystallisation and where the isolation of non-equilibrium species will be facilitated by pushing crystallisation processes out of equilibrium. In addition, µ-CrysFact’s technologies will be used to localise, integrate and chemically treat crystals with the aim of honing their functionality. This unprecedented approach has the potential to lead to the discovery of new materials with advanced functions and unique properties, thus opening new horizons in materials engineering research.

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/materials engineering
  • /engineering and technology/materials engineering/crystals
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/neurology/parkinson
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/electromagnetism and electronics/electrical conductivity/superconductor
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/neurology/alzheimer

Call for proposal

ERC-2015-STG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-STG - Starting Grant

Host institution

UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA
Address
Gran Via De Les Corts Catalanes 585
08007 Barcelona
Spain
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 713 147

Beneficiaries (3)

UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA
Spain
EU contribution
€ 713 147
Address
Gran Via De Les Corts Catalanes 585
08007 Barcelona
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EIDGENOSSISCHE MATERIALPRUFUNGS- UND FORSCHUNGSANSTALT

Participation ended

Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Ueberlandstrasse 129
8600 Dubendorf
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EIDGENOESSISCHE TECHNISCHE HOCHSCHULE ZUERICH

Participation ended

Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 1 100 981
Address
Raemistrasse 101
8092 Zuerich
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments