Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Finland
  France
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Macedonia - former Yugoslav Republic
  Malta
  Mexico
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Senegal
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Swaziland
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States


  

Last Update: 05-07-2012  
Related category(ies):
Success stories  |  Research policy

 

Countries involved in the project described in the article:
Belgium  |  France  |  Germany  |  Italy  |  Netherlands  |  United Kingdom
Add to PDF "basket"

SUPERIOR – Long live Europe's organic electronic dynasty

Nanoscience has captured the imagination of industry and the wider community primed to expect ground-breaking devices and technologies made possible thanks to European leadership in a complex field at the tiniest of scales – organic electronics.

©Fotolia
© Fotolia

Thanks to new thinking and developments in the Superior(1) Initial Training Network, scientists are paving the way for lightweight, low-heat 'organic' alternatives to meet demand for smaller, more powerful electronics to keep pushing the limits of Moore's law – which describes the size-to-power relationship of integrated circuits.

But complex work such as organic electronics calls for specialist expertise in chemistry, physics and engineering – skills that no single lab or site can deliver, according to Superior's coordinator Prof. Paolo Samori. The Superior network combines the skills of experts in all three fields, a collaboration that started when the principle investigators were themselves PhD researchers and postdocs.

"The fact that we didn't start from zero with this consortium really makes a difference," says Prof. Samori. The principal investigators in Superior today have collaborations dating back nearly two decades starting in the EU's Fourth Framework Programme (FP4) Sisitomas project.

"We've been building on a critical mass of know-how and collaboration for decades, so we've observed and influenced the field's evolution towards complexity, building blocks, self-assembly and multifunctional materials and devices."

Currently, 16 Marie Curie fellows from 12 nationalities worldwide are getting invaluable experience and skills to help them develop their careers. In total, Superior will train 19 fellows (14 PhDs and five postdocs) by October 2013.

"We are promoting the new generation of leaders in a similar way that Professor Frans De Schryver, under the Sisitomas project, mentored the current leaders in the field. Of course, we hope the new generation will do better than us!" says Prof. Samori.

Team nanoscience
These are future innovators, like Dr Emanuele Orgiu who was appointed to the University of Strasbourg as an assistant professor shortly after his 24-month fellowship. He entered the project with a background in electrical engineering, device physics and organic semiconductor transport and came out with new skills in chemistry and a vision for a future in multidisciplinary research.

Organic electronics is a team game, he says: "You can be a great chemist and synthesise the best molecule ever but not know how to apply it. And the best 'device man' can struggle to understand why a certain molecule works better than another."

Superior provided strong scientific ties to equally talented and enthusiastic researchers and mentors in organic electronics. This excellent "scientific web", he says, is a wellspring of exciting ideas and prospects: "I discovered in science you can be either a follower or an innovator. Now I know I'm an innovator."

Dynamic dynasty

According to Prof. De Schryver, Sisitomas was also one of the first to mix synthetic and physical chemistry (physics) in its approach to supra-molecular science, now better-known as nanoscience. Sisitomas tried to assemble materials into a predictable architecture from which to study physical properties – at the molecular level.

From these tentative early steps, the field has moved on, from super molecules to super functions, explains Prof. Samori. "Next, we'll go from mono- to multifunction – looking to integrate multifunctionality inside a single electronic device." And from there, who knows where this multidisciplinary field will take science?

The professor offers a hint. "In electronics today, you have a button (a transistor) and by applying voltage to it you determine if it is 'on' or 'off'. But we are looking to go beyond the 'one-function' paradigm, to integrate more functions on a device using different stimuli to turn a device on and off."

He says he cannot reveal too much ahead of a publication which will add to Superior's tally of 55 already in circulation, including leading titles like Science and the Chemical Society Review. But he insists the results are a big step towards the first multifunctional computers.

Already, this nanoscience dynasty has proven capable of translating pioneering research into market success. For example, spin-offs under Prof. Richard Friend of the University of Cambridge include recognised names such as Cambridge Display Technology's polymer organic electronics, and Plastic Logic's new-generation display technologies.

Project details

  • Participants: France (Coordinator), United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands
  • FP7 Proj. N° 238177
  • Total costs: € 3 793 675
  • EU contribution: € 3 793 675
  • Duration: October 2009 - September 2013

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

Project web site

Project information on CORDIS

Contacts
Unit A1 - External & internal communication,
Directorate-General for Research & Innovation,
European Commission
Tel : +32 2 298 45 40
  Top   Research Information Center