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What topic involving novel collaborations between scientists and engineers has made new technologies possible? Why are these technologies important?
Specific ideas for a project should not be submitted. What is needed are general ideas that could launch a new research community of scientists and engineers who would work together to reach a common goal.

Please make sure to provide the following information when submitting your idea for a new topic:

  • Title of your idea
  • Keywords
  • Scientific and Technological Topics to be addressed?

    Guiding questions:
•    What does this topic address?
•    What is the state-of-the-art and what are the main scientific and technological challenges and opportunities for frontier research that need to be tackled in the next 5-10 years in this area?
•    Which disciplines are involved?
•    What would be the critical mass of European researchers needed to carry out research in this area? What is the current situation?
•    How is this topic related to recent breakthroughs?
•    Why is this research needed now (or when would it be needed)?

  • Why is this topic important?

Possible examples could include:
•    tackling the great societal challenges (e.g. global warming, tightening supplies of energy, ageing of society etc.)?
•    solving key technological problems
•    potential contribution to EU growth
•    maintain EU leading role in the field
•    essential role to boost EU innovation…
•    etc…

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nmacimst's picture


Keywords: Electromagnetism, Photonics, Multiscale, Multiphysics, Quantum dynamics, Metamaterials, Metasurfaces, Artificial electromagnetic materials, coupled state variables, Ballistic,

• Scientific and Technological Topics to be addressed
Nanoarchitectronics is a new paradigm gathering recently both industrial and academic environments. It brings Electronics, Photonics, Material Science, Solid State, Quantumand Condensed Matter Physics, Chemistry under the same umbrella. The main objective is to overarch future researches in Electromagnetism from Microwaves to Optics through a visionary and synergic approach which is grounded on the extraordinary light-matter interactions at nanoscale We can subdivide nanoarchitectronics in four subthemes, which are nevertheless related to each other.

1) Extreme-Scale Electromagnetics (EXEM)
2) Metatronics (MTX)
3) Nanoscale Light-Microwaves Interaction (NLMI)
4) Smart Quantum Electromagnetic Materials (SQUEM)

The analytical and design modelling framework which transversely incorporates these branches are denoted here, respectively, as Multiscale Quantum Electrodynamics and System Architecture by Design:

A. “Multiscale Quantum Electrodynamics” (MQE) has the objective to unify quantum dynamics and classical electrodynamics on electronics, atomistic, mesoscopic and continuous scale.
B. “System Architecture by Design”(SAD), is the innovative engineering paradigm which is aimed at the task-oriented definition and integration of design approaches for optimal system fabrication, control, and deployment.

The new area is multidisciplinary, including Engineering, Physics and Mathematics, with emphasis on the following areas: Microelectronics, Optoelectronics, Antennas, Microwaves, Metamaterials, TeraHertz, Infrared, Plasmonics, Photonics, Magnetism, Superconductivity Material Science, and Mathematical Modeling.

In the following, the areas associated with each branch as well as with the transversal theoretical and design modeling framework are defined.

1. Extreme Scale EM (EXEM) comprises all concepts and devices borrowed from radiofrequencies to TeraHertz and nanoscale, as, for instance, nanoantennas (single emitters and/or arrays), novel transmission lines, nanoconnections, extreme miniaturized cavities and filters, antenna coupling with quantum well infrared photodetectors (QWIP), single photon emitters and quantum cascade detectors (QCD), single photon emitters, superconducting quantum interference devices (SQUID) and multi-SQUIDs (SQIF). These issues merge classical concepts in antennas and microwaves with emerging areas like metasurfaces and nanostructured material science. The recent literature on this subject is mainly used to concentrate field beyond diffraction limit through nanoantennas or to enhance the efficiency of solar received power; however, exploring the potential of radiofrequency concepts in a broader sense may open a large variety of application possibilities. Many fields are unexplored or weakly investigated, like nano beam-forming networks, monoatomic edge-wave propagation, leaky-wave miniaturized antennas.

2. Metatronics (MTX).
This name has been very recently introduced by Prof. N. Engheta at UPenn with reference to the emulation of lumped circuit elements at optical wavelengths. The same name can be now referred to a broader collection of concepts to bringing a new dimension to metamaterial research, which has consistently been gaining success over the last ten-fifteen years. Metatronics includes a number of new emerging research directions, further to the original ones proposed by Prof. Engheta, like i. modulated and reconfigurable nano-scale metasurfaces, ii. transforming artificial materials, iii. fluid-tunable materials, iv. unconventional paths to non-reciprocal materials, v. computational metamaterials, vi. disordered materials for enhanced light-matter interaction and other metamaterial inspired subjects merging electronics and reconfigurability into metamaterial concepts. For what concerns i., nanoscaled metasurfaces have been recently introduced (by Prof. Capasso’s group at Harward) to arbitrary transform a given wavefront in a different one. The natural extension of this concept is to reconfigure the wavefront transformation dynamically, concept already feasible at microwave frequencies using conventional electronics. A proper modification of Transformation Optics (ii.), the recent theory introduced by Prof. J Pendry (Imperial College), could provide an appropriate theoretical framework to drive these issues. Considering iv. and v., Andrea Alù’s group at the University of Texas at Austin has lead a very recent and highly innovative collaborative research demonstrating a. non-reciprocal artificial materials based on spatiotemporal modulation of the electromagnetic constitutive parameters and b. optical analog signal processing based on proper metamaterial multilayers, respectively.

3. Nanoscale Light-microwaves interaction (NLMI)
This subject is concerned with the reconfigurability control of radiofrequency devices with light-matter interaction at nanoscale. Some aspects can be related to point 4; however, the substantial difference is that the final system operating frequency bandwidth remains in microwave domain, but its operation is enabled by light-matter interaction.
As a leading example, Microwave Photo-Conductive Switches (MPCS) have been widely studied to perform high speed switching, modulation, generation and sampling of microwave signals by photoconductivity but with important insertion losses. Performances compromises justify semiconductor material choice with regards to optical wavelength operation from visible to near-infrared and sub-nanosecond activation time, as for example with use of mature technologies based on Si and GaAs materials. Up today, best performances in terms of microwave On/Off ratio have been obtained using membrane GaAs substrate and sub-micronic architecture. Actually, emerging nanotechnologies dedicated to 1D and 2D materials process allow suggestion of design innovations in both microwave and light/matter interaction, as also nanomaterial engineering, high degree of confinement of waves, immunity to EMI and ultimate miniaturization are reachable. This multiphysics approach suggests the possibility of achieving ultrafast nanoscale microwave devices integration in future telecommunication systems.
Radiofrequency devices of such a type could be i. phased aperture antennas, ii. reconfigurable metasurfaces, iii. arrays, iv. microstrips, coplanar waveguides, slot-lines and other microwaves transmission lines. In all these devices, the metallo/dielectric features should contain photosensitive material and can be even extended to superconductive/dielectric or superconductive/graphene hybrid material. These materials, subjected to controlled light beams, should be able with a good sensitivity to change the properties of the radio-frequency propagation/radiation. With this, one can create i. ultra-flat scanning beam aperture antennas (with flatness and cost like a LCD TV), ii. ultrafast optical switches and iii reconfigurable beam forming networks. With the same method one can modulate microwave printed metasurfaces transforming surface wave in leaky-waves. The involved mechanism requires the analysis of quantum dynamic effects as well as the classical electromagnetic phenomena and their complex mutual interaction within a homogenized models. Light-matter interactions at nanoscale opens new avenues for controlling nanosystems as material non linearities are exalted. Multiscale approaches are required from macroscopic down to the submicrometer scale at which elementary excitations such as photons, electrons, phonons and atoms and communicate to each others via energy transfer, thus guaranteeing the multifunctionality of a new generation of 3D high frequency systems.

4. Smart Quantum Electromagnetic Materials (SQEM)

The discovery of novel 1D-2D materials has recently attracted intense attention in the research community due to their extraordinary mechanical, electronic and optical properties.
In particular, carbon materials, (carbon nanotubes, graphene) are quoted to enable device, circuits, system competitive and compatible with the established silicon technology, ranging from microwave to THz, offering new capabilities, lower power consumption, enhanced electro-thermal-mechanical properties and novel functionalities.
Work in this area paves the way to related developments that utilize other 2D materials such as chalcogenides, germananes, silicenes, metal oxides and hexagonal boron nitrides. Possibilities exist for designing devices that utilize a combination of materials rather than isolated 2D crystals to satisfy diverse requirements ranging from insulator to direct bandgap properties. Their heterostructures provide further enhancement in device properties and design flexibility. Exceptionally good performance is expected from a novel “stacked” electronics involving graphene and 2D materials in terms of carrier mobility, transconductance, band-gap, stability.
A further intriguing aspect of novel 2D-materials is the onset of non-linear properties, arising from the Dirac cone band structure, thus providing their use in novel concept circuits such as frequency multipliers. 2D-2D tunneling devices may lead to novel low-power electronic applications. Negative Differential Resistance may also offer the possibility of developing new signal sources.
Nanoarchitectronics could be oriented first to microwave technology and then, if successful, be brought to a level of maturity suitable for industrial product development integrating several disruptive smart materials (such as 2D and 1D materials) components to design and fabricate a new kind of ultra-high frequency module. According to the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) 2D and 1D materials are among the most recent and promising materials with emphasis on their potential in microwave and millimeter wave electronics. Moreover, progress in 2D and 1D materials technology will have wide ranging impacts not only for RF components, but for other nano-electronic applications. 1D carbon nanotubes are also used for vias, heat transfer materials, electrodes and field emitters for displays, microwave amplifiers and electron microscopes. 2D materials are candidates for transistors, ballistic transport based devices, ultra high speedoptoelectronics, interconnects and sensors. Hence, all these areas will benefit from research at the interfaces of the areas covered by nanoarchitectronics, which may lead to technology for next-next generation of RF switches and resonators.

Most Nanoarchitectronics development is hindered not only by technology limitations but also by the limited availability of modeling and design tools that should encompass a wide range of spatial and time scales, with accuracy compared to that of available experimental and process data, and within affordable computational resources. For this reason, robust theoretical/ computational tools should be set up in the frame of Nanoarchitectronics as suggested below.

A. “Multiscale Quantum Electrodynamics” (MQE)

This definition identifies the general analytical and modeling framework of Nanoarchitecronics. The apparent contradiction of the words Quantum and Electrodynamic together emphasizes the need to integrate different theories. The goal of the MQE platform is to bridge the gap between nano-science theoretical foundations and the implementation of advanced numerical tools for the investigation, modeling and design of a new generation of integrated, smart, multi-functional devices, circuits and systems, while extending it in the modern tools for electromagnetic analysis based on Maxwell’s equations. The concepts of i) interfacing different phenomena and/or ii) extending the space-time scales of single models are a priori undertaken, thus providing a new paradigm of model, aimed at investigating the border region a) from ballistic to non-ballistic, b) from nano- to the mm-scale, c) from electronic/atomistic/meso-scale level to continuum partial differential equations (PDE) level, d) from linear to non-linear responses.
The computational platform deals with the full-wave modeling of the combined quantum transport-electrodynamics phenomena in nano-structured materials and low dimensional systems, ranging from atomistic and nanoscale, to mesoscopic and continuous scale.
In the short/medium-term, it will also include PDE systems governing: i) thermal effect and heat transfer, ii) mechanical and opto-mechanical phenomena (phonon-photon interaction) iii) analysis of time transients in the describing the behavior of high energy carriers, iv) onset and prediction of non-linear phenomena.
A limit for the design of some classes of metamaterials is less evident: the need for a theoretical approximate model at “intermediate” or mesoscale for the conception of functionalized materials, that could be seamlessly integrated into the computational framework for subsequent optimization. The above challenges can be addressed by extending in various ways existing models and codes, and by proposing a general multi-resolution multiscale framework to unify individual and multiphysics modeling endeavors.

B. “System Architecture by Design” (SAD) is the engineering paradigm on which the analytical MQE framework as well as several current and innovative methods, algorithms, architectures, and solutions can be merged to enable the development of innovative, affordable, and reliable Nanoarchitectronics applications and devices. Its fundamental aim is the exploitation, the customization, and the innovation of synthesis/analysis methodologies acting as enabling tools for the effective development of integrated design procedures comprising several different interchangeable functionalities. Accordingly, SAD involves the task oriented design, definition, and integration of Nanoarchitectronic system components to achieve desired performance with minimum costs, maximum scalability and optimal reconfigurability. In this framework, the ELEDIA Research Center@UNITN (Prof. Massa) has recently introduced and demonstrated the effectiveness of the SAD paradigm in the design of engineered-material applications including antenna systems, phased arrays, and metamaterial-based lenses.
European research already produces strong results on the individual aspects of Nanoarchitectronics, but it is fragmentation and does not benefit from a concerted effort. Under the umbrella of Nanoarchitectronics, these emerging themes are expected to enhance synergy. Engineers and physicists adopt different terminologies and methodologies to treat similar phenomena, and the interaction between the two communities (initiated by the Metamaterial community) should continue with new inputs. The number of researchers involved in Nanoarchitectronics is predictably very large, involving people not only from the ICT Engineering and Physics communities, but also from Mathematics and Material Science. Furthermore, there is an industrial need for alternative technologies that are expected to emerge from the new knowledge, to realize a new generation of communication and sensing architectures. It is estimated that, if successful, Nanoarchitectronics may deliver potential High-Tec products in a few years. Today, major High-Tech EU industries (Thales, Selex ES, …) are looking for new smart nanosystems combining ultra-low-power, autonomous, low-cost, high performance solutions that meet the next-generation technological objectives in terms of scalability, flexibility, reconfigurability, and modularity for avionics, radar, space, security, and remote sensing applications from microwaves to optics.

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ngiralui's picture

ICT ART CONNECT - Artistic Practices for Research in ICT

Keywords: ICTART, technology, artistic practices, research, transdisciplinarity, innovation, creativity

The topic brings the stimulating power of art into scientific and technological research, contributing both to the definition of FET new topics and to the advancement of ongoing research. The critical reflection and out-of-the-box thinking of artists can enrich scientific research by opening new ways and perspectives: in order to do so, artists should be integrated as a substantial part of the research team.

ICT is present almost everywhere, crossing not only with all areas of knowledge and research but most importantly with everyday life. The same happens with the arts, as they tend to integrate all areas of knowledge in their critical approach and to use all sorts of mediums as tools for expression and for the advancement of an understanding of the world. In some cases, this desire of wanting to understand everything, characteristic of artists, is so intense, that it leads them to create unforeseen technological visions. The historical case is Leonardo Da Vinci.

Artists, as humanists, are particularly interested in social change. Consequently they will address any research topic as long as it responds to human needs or societal challenges. Artists are and already have been involved in research projects worldwide, in areas such as augmented reality, nanotechnology, big data, biotechnology, data visualization, agriculture, space, bionics, social networks, HCI, just to mention a few.

What needs to be addressed at this stage are methods of integration and processes of validation of artistic practices in research for ICT, in order to formally substantiate its significant contributions for new knowledge and innovation.

Artistic practices make transdisciplinarity happen. The integration of artistic practices in research helps diluting frontiers and barriers between disciplines and allows for broader, holistic perspectives. Their creative approach allows for unforeseen results in previously unexpected areas of knowledge.

Therefore this approach could tackle a wide range of scientific and technological disciplines, and it would be beneficial under two main aspects, the research process and the dissemination of the research.

The community is growing exponentially but it is still fragmented. It needs to be consolidated in the EU research context. The interest raised by the FET-ART project testifies the existence of a large community of ICT & Art practitioners in Europe interested in working at the intersection of their disciplines. The ICT ART CONNECT study is mapping and characterizing this community of hybrid researchers, artistic technologists and artistic institutions involved in research.

As described by Golan Levin and his collaborators in New Media Artworks: Prequels to Everyday Life, here are some concrete examples of breakthroughs:

Myron Krueger’s Video Place (1974), and the Sony EyeToy (2003)

Michael Naimark & MIT ArchMac’s Aspen Movie Map (1978-1980), and Google StreetView (2007-)

Jeffrey Shaw’s Legible City (1988) and E-fitzone exercise equipment (2008)

Art+Com’s Terravision (1996) and Google’s Google Earth (2001, 2005-).

Chris O’Shea’s (IAA) Hand from Above (2009), and the Forever21 Billboard by Space150 (2010)

The definition and establishment of the field of the crossings of ICT and Art can be instrumental in post-crisis processes of recovery in the European Union, by enabling creativity and innovation through artistic practices in ICT. Support in this area of research and technological innovation is expected to produce results both at social and economic levels. The vital nature of the arts combined with ICT can be positioned as activators in the development of creative digital futures of social innovation in a cohesive European Union.
The integration of artistic practices is instrumental in the implementation of the RRI strategy in all its main pillars: public engagement, open access, gender dimension, ethical issues and education. The arts, as applied humanities, can be extremely relevant for the reformulation strategy in SSH as well as for the achievement of pro-activity in FET.

The integration of artistic practices in ICT research allows the simultaneous co-existence of both blue sky thinking/exploratory research and close to market research outcomes, due to the tangible nature of results of such practices. Furthermore, the integration of subjectivity in methodological research as promoted by this integration of the arts is of extreme importance for the nurturing of creativity in research, which has been clearly identified as essential to boost EU innovation.

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nkiddkpu's picture

It's Time for Art

It is time for art.

For reasons that we should, in time, take some time to better understand, science and art, which were once unified, went separate ways. This was a major error and has led to many serious problems that most of those caught up in science are unable to even contemplate. We need to rediscover the notion of the polymath, the person who can excel in several areas. While there will always be scope for the specialist, the person who, one can say, knows a lot about very little, such minds can be very dangerous. If we are truly to pursue the notion of sustainability we need minds that are able to embrace more than just atoms, or cells, or whatever pretty pebble that has caught the attention of a particular mind.

Artists are already exploring and researching the world from a transdisciplinary perspective, in which they bring art, science, and technology together in ways quite different to that of scientists or technologists, who most often limit themselves to quite narrow specialisations. And with this transdisciplinary approach, artists are demonstrating their capabilities to produce new insights and knowledge as well as new technologies. Only most people, especially those caught up in specialisations, and those who think in terms of dualities, do not understand. It seems that many scientists and technologists who do encounter art in the context of science and technology, think that it is about illustrating their work and communicating this to the public. This is the nature of the gulf that now exists, and which is inhibiting the development of entirely new approaches to science and technology research.

There is tremendous transformational potential in art used for research, and this is fully in line with what FET aims at achieving, and to understand more about this I have provided an example of the creative arts used for research in the FET Proactive Time for Time consultation (, which I now invite you to read.

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ntorrerg's picture

Co-creation between Scientists, Artists and many more...

I have had the privilege to coordinate the FET-ART support action, that has just finished and focused on identifying new research avenues stemming from ICT and Art connection.

Among recommendations I would highlight in the framework of the present consultation:
1 - There is still a great potential to explore about co-creation between scientists and artists and the best way to give evidence of this potential would be to involve in "pilots" or "residencies" first-class scientists and first-class artists
2- This co-creation potential should be explored beyond ICT-ART pairings and teams (of 3, 4, 5) could be usefully formed also including first-class scientists from other disciplines (philosophers, anthropologists, historians, sociologists, etc.)

All this should require only a light project but with an expected very high impact, not only as a reference project to convince scientists to go to multidisciplinary research, but also as a set of highly innovative activities which could be reported by mass media to the public at large.

Roger Torrenti

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nprriema's picture

ICT Art Connect

Artists anticipate more than everybody else potentialities and practices to come. Their reading of the contribution of emerging technologies for the community is precious.
They are in a constant search of new and relevant ways of expression (for example in the NTIC field), in relation with their feeling of their human and physical environment. Number of them thus search for modern and disruptive expression tools.
They hold what is probably the most important key to value any innovative tool: sense and content. Quite all recent successful technologies have the ability to give access or to share sense and contents: from music to video, from literature to social networks, contents and sense primarily matter.
Finally, they have the capacity to disseminate what they have foreseen. They can act worldwide helping new thoughts, new ideas, new words and finally new tools and practices to become familiar to everyone. As such, they can ensure a progressive inclusion of disruptive approaches in the society.

Another example of a previous art & technology great success story is the composer Luciano Berio who asked (1974) physicist Giuseppe Di Giugno to develop a hundred-oscillator machine. The 4X computer was created at IRCAM to meet that requirement, and was most powerful computer in France when introduced. 4X was then used in many other fields than music and art.

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npnevmdi's picture

Support for BACA

I agree that we need new paradigms to approach, implement and exploit truly adaptable systems, and I believe customization and flexibility offer *huge* potential in terms of efficiency if only we can exploit it from the application side. Domain specific approaches (as in the languages used to specify the desired operation) will be key, and we need new innovative ways to express the complex architectures, and application requirements and flexibility. Excellent idea!

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ngrabipi's picture

zero-power computers

As foreseen by many researchers and analysts, we are at the dawn of a next micro/nanoelectronics revolution - Internet of Things. (see: or )
The IoT idea should open a viable way for smart cities, smart industry, smart agriculture and many other application domains, however in virtually all cases these new applications will call for more connectivity, still considerable or even growing computing power with, at the same time more autonomous operation. Therefore, an extremely low power or preferably zero (harvesting supported) power devices and systems will be needed. It has to be emphasized, that the vast number of applications enabled by development of the IoT concept will be especially important for Europe, allowing for leverago of strongly interdisciplinary knowledge of European academic researchers. To open this new opprtunities a zero power "building blocks" including zero-power computing will be indispensable.

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