Integration of multiple disciplines and varied fields of expertise has historically spurred tremendous growth and advances that would not be otherwise possible. The NANOARCHITECTRONICS project is at the forefront of the next great fusion. The convergence of nanotechnology, hierarchical architectures, and electronics promises to spark development of ground-breaking sensorial surfaces and smart ‘skins’ with unprecedented capabilities. NANOARCHITECTRONICS brought together 13 partners from 8 European countries to define a common language, theoretical foundation, and research roadmap. In addition to unifying concepts and strategy, the consortium got the ball rolling with numerous collaborative and dissemination activities. The vision for sensing NANOARCHITECTRONICS facilitates convergence of conventional principles of electromagnetic systems with hierarchical architectures at the nanoscale. The result will be pioneering reconfigurable and adaptive systems responsive across the entire electromagnetic frequency spectrum. Project researchers envision the field as pioneering the development of synthetic sensing systems that interact with us naturally. As project coordinator Stefano Maci explains, “The new field aims for sensorial interfaces between a subject (person or system) and the environment. They will look like synthetic, mutable skins. These interfaces will cognitively evolve their functionalities to maximise connections and monitoring/sensing capabilities.” Defining the present, guiding the future Conceived to provide a standard language, NANOARCHITECTRONICS will define clear boundaries for current research and a roadmap for the future. In an emerging discipline born of the convergence of numerous cutting-edge technologies including nanophotonics, plasmonics, nanoelectronics, and smart materials, this was no simple task. The consortium developed a framework based on three newly christened research areas, each an intersection of numerous other fields. Nanoscale materials engineering and multiscale design enabling modelling unite these areas. Using these defined areas of research, the team developed the strategic roadmap, bridging the gap between theoretical research and research driven by societal challenges and industrial competitiveness. It includes a timeline and recommendations for research to achieve ‘omni-connectivity,’ consolidating European leadership in key areas and strengthening it in emerging ones. All the hard work and detailed outcomes have been exploited in numerous ways with outstanding results. NANOARCHITECTRONICS established the NTX Virtual Centre to help partners disseminate the NANOARCHITECTRONICS paradigm within the research/industrial communities and enhance their research potential. The Joint Common Repository contains data, results, models, and tools for researchers working on nanoarchitectronics projects. International cooperation was the focus of three activities geared toward the research community, local government, and public-private partnerships. Organisation and/or participation in a wealth of international events such as workshops and special conference sessions included three specialised PhD courses. The NANOARCHITECTRONICS project did more than produce unifying concepts – it unified a multitude of organisations working on the cutting edge of this emerging technology. As Maci concludes, NANOARCHITECTRONICS succeeded in “the constitution of a broad community, presently counting 50 partners, and the definition of a flagship vision for the new key enabling technology of nanostructured interfaces in the larger context of nanoengineering.” Specifically, the academic-industrial partnership of the FORESEEN network, the originator of the concept of nanoarchitectronics and the present project, expanded from its original 33 partners to 50. This group, along with 72 other institutions in the spintronics, metamaterials, and nanophotonics communities have subscribed to a flagship vision for nanostructured interfaces. With NANOARCHITECTRONICS, the ship has set sail.
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