Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

No longer sweating the small stuff, for nano-enabled design

The EU-funded MMP project has developed a modelling platform to solve multiscale and multi-physics engineering problems for nano-enabled design.
No longer sweating the small stuff, for nano-enabled design
Nano-enabled materials and devices hold out much promise in the high-tech industry, offering increased quality and functionality. However, nano-enabled design requires the application of the right numerical tools, alongside a better understanding of multiscale transitions and how best to treat simulations involving multiple physical models (multi-physics). Unfortunately, a tool which can combine software, both local and networked, tailor-made or licensed, does not currently exist in the marketplace.

The EU-funded MMP (Multiscale Modelling Platform: Smart design of nano-enabled products in green technologies) project was set up to address this gap by developing a modelling platform, equipped specifically to accommodate multiscale and multi-physics engineering problems. To enable the integration of existing modelling software and data repositories, the platform was designed to be generic and modular, supported by data standardisation and clearly defined application interfaces.

The pursuit of interoperability

Often the scientific knowledge gained in particular fields is contained within specialised simulation tools or databases. Individual scientific fields are currently witnessing efforts to consolidate this knowledge between their diverse sources, facilitating the design and manufacture of new materials and products. There is however less focus on the combination of knowledge across scientific fields.

By its very nature nano-engineering is multidisciplinary, with various modelling and simulation resources distributed between entities such as companies and research institutes. To enable collaboration and innovation, MMP set out to provide infrastructure that allows these independent simulation tools and databases to be interoperable. In other words, allowing the models to communicate with each other. As the project coordinator Mrs Sjoukje Wiegersma explains, ‘This will facilitate the development of complex multi-physics models and their fully automated runs, allowing mutual data exchange, communication and execution.’

The resultant MuPIF platform works through abstract interfaces developed by the team. These can be plugged into by simulation tools and data components used by existing tools and libraries. This interface approach enables workflows which are extendable and modular, independent of a particular tool or data format.

The project demonstrated the platform’s efficacy by taking the examples of a simple multi-physical thermo-mechanical coupling and a multiscale computation with homogenisation, partly as these examples can be arbitrarily extended for other modelling. The versatility and power of the platform was further assessed through two case studies on the performance of phosphor light conversion in LEDs and the efficiency of CIGS thin film processing for photo-voltaic devices.

A platform from which to build the future

The development of an interoperative system was no easy task, as Mrs Wiegersma recalls, ‘The main scientific challenge for building this platform lies in a proper definition of scale transitions and the associated information exchange between the relevant scales.’ However, she goes on to assert that, ‘The benefits consist in the significant reduction of manual coding, an interoperability based on standardised schema and the potential availability of many tools.’

Ultimately, the platform holds out the potential to producers of reducing development costs, decreased time to market and improved production yield. MuPIF has been distributed as open source software supported by online documentation. This will enable future users such as SMEs, to not only benefit from - but also contribute to - the project as well as new product designs.


MMP, multiscale modelling, multi-physics, interoperability, nano-design, nanotechnology, simulation tools, modelling platform
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