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SMART Report Summary

Project ID: 306277
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Germany

Final Report Summary - SMART (Shapeable Magnetoelectronics in Research and Technology)

Electronics of tomorrow will be flexible and will form a seamless link between soft, living beings and the digital world. The unique possibility to adjust the shape of the devices offered by this alternative formulation of the electronics provides vast advantages over the conventional rigid devices particularly in medicine, consumer goods and eMobility.

The main goal of the ERC proposal SMaRT is to develop magnetoelectronics which can be reshaped on demand after fabrication. These shapeable (flexible, stretchable and printable) magnetic sensorics can be used to realize interactive consumer electronics, e.g. intelligent packaging, postcards or promotional materials in the spirit of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Alternatively, shapeable magnetosensitive devices can be used to monitor displacements or motion and provide feedback as needed, e.g. for smart implants, proximity sensorics for on-skin or wearable electronics or for the realization of the sensory feedback systems for unique class of soft actuators – soft robotics.

The key achievements of the project are as follows:

1. We introduced mechanically imperceptible electronic skins equipped with magnetic functionalities that enables distance and directional perception. The remarkable flexibility of our magnetosensitive foils eases the integration with soft and malleable materials such as elastomers and textiles for wearable electronics. These magnetosensitive skins are able of tracking motions of the body and enable a new form of touchless-addressable interactive on-skin electronics. We demonstrate virtual knob turning functions as well as the operation of virtual dialing pads with our sensors. Applications of this technology platform are far reaching and range from navigation, motion tracking in robotics, regenerative medicine, sports and gaming to interaction in supplemented reality [Nature Communications 6, 6080 (2015); Science Advances 4, eaao2623 (2018)].

2. Our theoretical and experimental works made a decisive contribution to the establishment of a new research field in modern magnetism – “Curvilinear magnetism”. Here, the key effects are due to geometric curvature of magnetic thin films. For these fundamental studies, we developed two unique techniques – “zero-offset Hall” to assess all-electrically tiny magnetic responses [Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 097201 (2015); Nature Communications 8, 13985 (2017)] and put forth the foundation of magnetic soft X-ray tomography to reconstruct complex 3D spin textures [Nature Communications 6, 7612 (2015)].

3. We realized printable high-performance magnetic field sensorics for flexible electronics [ChemPhysChem 14, 1771 (2013); Advanced Materials 27, 880 (2015)]. With the achieved specifications, printed magnetoelectronics can be efficiently used for realization of smart packaging and energy efficient switches for consumer electronics.

The results related to the project are presented as more than 70 invited talks and published as 50 high-profile papers including Science Advances, 3x Nature Communications, 3x Physical Review Letters, 6x Advanced Materials, Nano Letters, 3x Lab Chip, 5x Scientific Reports, etc.

The research of the team is very visible and broadly disseminated to scientific as well as non-scientific community via press-releases, printed and radio interviews with leading popular and technological magazines including IEEE Spectrum, SPIEGEL,, EurekAlert, Space Daily, Tech Times, BBC, Bild, Medical News Today, Nanotechnology Now, Science News, Die Welt, Nanowerk, Advances in Engineering, etc. as well as featured as cover pages of the top journals of the material science community.

Further details on the outcome of the project can be found at the dedicated project website

The results obtained in the frame of this project provided a solid base in the understanding of the curvature- and shape-driven effects in magnetic and non-magnetic architectures. This know-how resulted in new ideas, which allowed to attract national and EU-funded third party projects including: EU FET Young explorers, 2x ERC Proof-of-Concept, 2x German Research Foundation, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Currently, there are activities in the group with the aim towards commercialization of the project related results. The developed measurement method “zero-offset Hall”, integrated fluidic detection platform as well as wearable motion monitoring system is now at the stage of the development of industry-ready prototypes. If successful, the devices will be commercialized.

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