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Published: 24 August 2017  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Health & life sciencesBiotechnology
Research policyHorizon 2020
Countries involved in the project described in the article
France  |  Spain  |  United Kingdom
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Metamaterials: revolutionising modern medicine

The EU-funded ABIOMATER project is developing new metamaterials with properties that can be changed remotely using a magnetic field. This could revolutionise biomedicine and biotechnology, particularly in the fields of optical devices, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, to name but a few.

Photo of a woman with a microscope surrounded by virtual chemical equations

© vectorfusionart - fotolia.com

Metamaterials are a combination of synthetic materials which, together, demonstrate properties not usually found in natural materials. Normally these properties are fixed once the metamaterial has been produced, and cannot be altered. The EU-funded ABIOMATER project aims to change this by designing metamaterials with properties that can be switched remotely by applying a magnetic field.

ABIOMATER’s metamaterials will take the form of micromotors that hold direction-dependent, ferromagnetic properties – i.e. microscopic motors which have properties that can change depending on their direction, and can be manipulated remotely by switching a magnetic field on and off.

The materials will be incorporated into magneto-elastic membranes which will pave the way for magnetic metamaterial devices to be used across various applications. For example, the micromotors could be used to deliver batches of medicine inside the human body through fluid environments.

ABIOMATER will also design several prototype devices, including for tissue engineering and optical devices – such as lenses that rely on magnetic-induced changes to their properties. The materials could also be incorporated into pumps and filters able to operate on a microscopic scale based on magnetically driven membrane deformation and changes in pore structure.

These innovative prototypes, designed and developed to overcome specific challenges, will also have the scalability to ensure they attract leading research and innovation players.

Project details

  • Project acronym: ABIOMATER
  • Participants: United Kingdom (Coordinator), France, Spain
  • Project N°: 665440
  • Total costs: € 2 978 883
  • EU contribution: € 2 978 883
  • Duration: November 2015 to October 2018

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