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Final Activity Report Summary - NANOFEN (Novel nano-scale multifunctional materials engineering)

Nanotechnology has been rapidly growing for the last 10 or more years. However, widespread practical applications have not kept pace with the exciting basic science discoveries.

The objectives of NANOFEN project were to develop tools and ideas to move the basic science closer to technology. More specifically, the research objectives of NANOFEN were to:

1. develop novel processing technologies for controlled growth of nano-structured functional materials
2. apply an intelligent combinatorial approach to realising ordered nano-composite architectures
3. demonstrate simple, novel multifunctional devices.

Significant progress was made in all these areas. Firstly, low temperature, chemical processing techniques were developed to create highly controlled nanomaterials over large areas. The techniques included atmospheric chemical vapour deposition (CVD), atmospheric atomic layer deposition (ALD) and solution electrodeposition. These techniques were combined with a new templating technology which involved growth of thin, ordered anodic alumina templates.

Secondly, ordered nanocomposite thin film structures were achieved for the first time. These structures were very important for multifunctional nanoelectronics and would certainly grow significantly in the next few years. This was a very new area and the work of NANOFEN was truly pioneering.

Thirdly, we were able to bring our particular skills to the area of nanosolar cells. We fabricated and understood all-inorganic and inorganic-organic solar cells and made some landmark achievements, most notably in being able to fabricate them over large areas at low temperatures.

Some of the highlights of NANOFEN were detailed in the document prepared by J.L. MacManus-Driscoll, titled 'Making perfect nanomaterials for industrial applications', which was published in the Projects Magazine, British Publishers Ltd, Issue 9, February 2009 (ISSN 1758-2369). Around 74 publications in total resulted from the work. Moreover, the citation and impact of our work was high. During the last four years, the principal investigator (PI) has had over 1 500 citations on the work in which she was involved. Some of these were in collaboration with other funded programmes, but NANOFEN was also absolutely critical to their success. The program allowed the PI much time to dedicate to research and training and to develop new lines of research, most notably in the area of photovoltaics.

The NANOFEN fellows were immersed in an excellent interdisciplinary training environment within Cambridge. They went on to take up top positions in academia and industry. Lukas Schmidt-Mende became an academic in the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU), Munich. Adam Robinson became a research fellow in the Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge, working on conducting materials on elastic substrates for antennas and radio frequency (RF) components. Arnaud Fouchet became an academic at the Universite de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvellines (UVSQ), Paris, France. Ying Lin Liu was employed as a technical staff member at Nokia, Cambridge. Julia Linke was finishing her PhD thesis writing by the time of the project completion. Finally, Sophie Harrington became a Cambridge College junior research fellow.

Reported by

United Kingdom
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