IDEAS Factory - Chemical Craftwork: Directed Assembly of Functional Patterns (Brianchell)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Chemistry

Abstract

Nature is uniquely good at constructing complex, versatile, self regulating systems from cells to us. Learning to manipulate complexity in a similar way should allow new solutions to many problems. In this project we are aiming to direct the assembly of conducting networks so that there is information (function) encoded in the structure of the product. This is very similar to the way in which the central nervous system both stores information and responds to stimuli, and our target is to physically realise a type of computational device known as a Neural net. To achieve function we have two approaches / 'learning' in which the net can be taught to have a function, and 'evolution' where the parameters used to construct the net act as a gene which can be evolved to code for nets with the required function. It is likely that a combination will be needed (evolution to establish a gross structure, and learning to 'fine tune' it) in much the same way as a our central nervous system develops.We will be using conducting polymers, nanoparticals, nanotubes, and dynamic chemical waves to construct our networks, mainly electrical potentials to direct formation, and conductance properties to characterise them.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description A custom 20-microelectrode array was sourced from Prof. Gardner (Warwick) after the EPSRC fabrication service failed to provide a working device, but the 2 year delay substantially affected progress of a large part of the work. A 20 independent channel voltage source / picoammeter was designed and built in collaboration with Prof. Ben Whitaker and Mr P. Kapetanopoulos (Leeds) who were also part of the CHELL consortium (CHELLware).
Exploitation Route Thin films of carbon nanotubes and carbon nanotube - nanoparticle superstructures have been integrated in chemical sensors, detectors and parts of solar cells. They showed remarkable improvements in sensitivity.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Agriculture, Food and Drink,Electronics,Energy

URL http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/nanocarbon
 
Description Thin films of carbon nanotubes and carbon nanotube - nanoparticle superstructures have been integrated in chemical sensors, detectors and parts of solar cells. They showed remarkable improvements in sensitivity.
Sector Electronics,Energy
 
Description European Research Council Consolidator Award
Amount € 1,446,100 (EUR)
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 12/2011 
End 11/2016
 
Description Royal Society Research Grant
Amount £14,700 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2005 
End 03/2006
 
Description Royal Society University Research Fellowship
Amount £689,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2005 
End 09/2013
 
Description Collaboration with Oxford Materials - Prof. Andrew Briggs, Dr. Kyriakos Porfyrakis 
Organisation University of Oxford
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration on fullerene chemistry
Collaborator Contribution Exchange of materials and technical expertise; support with endohedral fullerene preparation and characterization
Impact several high-profile publications; £235,400 funding for research in my group on endohedral fullerenes for quantum information processing; joint PhD students; Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition "Wonder in Carbon Land" 2008
Start Year 2006
 
Description British Association Festival of Science (Liverpool) 'Wonder in Carbon Land' 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Popular science exhibition to inspire school pupils to study STEM subjects with emphasis on chemistry of nano-carbons

Increased levels of interest from general public and schools (6 school visits followed the exhibition).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008