Researchers look for ways forward in advanced materials

A two-day workshop at the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials (AIIM) focussed on the future of opportunities in materials science.

The use of quantum mechanics has the potential to enable the fabrication of new materials and devices, according to a statement released at the end of the workshop.

Held by the Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials (ISEM) at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus, the meeting was entitled “Workshop on Surface Science and Technology” and brought together researchers from fields that contribute to current advances in material sciences, including physics, chemistry, photonics and biology.

Currently, ISEM researches how to create batteries used for electric vehicles and energy storage, superconductivity for electrical and medical devices and nano-structured materials.

The event highlighted the opportunities that research in this area could create, noted associate professor Yi Du.

“These workshops are an invaluable opportunity to exchange ideas and seek broad collaborations as we look for ways to solve fundamental challenges that will enable a new generation of electronic devices that are more efficient, smarter and more compatible with our lives,” said Du.

One of the areas canvassed were new quantum materials for low-energy quantum electronics. While existing electronic technologies in this field are unable to be adopted broadly because of their high cost, new materials that bypass current limitations could allow for the integration of large-scale super performance electronics in emerging quantum computers and devices.

“All of these new devices will require not only revolutionary materials to laws of physics and chemistry, but new ways to make those materials that is also cost effective and scalable,” said Du.

A statement on the workshop described how a critical part of the discussion was how theoretical or experimental research in this area could be applied in a commercial setting.

ISEM is one of a handful of multifunctional materials facilities that can create the processes and devices needed to scale-up lab-based findings to allowed them to be applied commercially.