Soft NanoPhotonics Programme Grant (sNaP)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

Visible light can be made to interact with new solids in unusual and profoundly different ways to normal if the solids are built from tiny components assembled together in intricately ordered structures. This hugely expanding research area is motivated by many potential benefits (which are part of our research programme) including enhanced solar cells which are thin, flexible and cheap, or surfaces which help to identify in detail any molecules travelling over them. This combination of light and nanoscale matter is termed NanoPhotonics.Until now, most research on NanoPhotonics has concentrated on the extremely difficult challenge of carving up metals and insulators into small chunks which are arranged in patterns on the nanometre scale. Much of the effort uses traditional fabrication methods, most of which borrow techniques from those used in building the mass-market electronics we all use, which is based on perfectly flat slabs of silicon. Such fabrication is not well suited to three-dimensional architectures of the sizes and materials needed for NanoPhotonics applications, and particularly not if large-scale mass-production of materials is required.Our aim in this programme is to bring together a number of specialists who have unique expertise in manipulating and constructing nanostructures out of soft materials, often organic or plastic, to make Soft NanoPhotonics devices which can be cheap, and flexible. In the natural world, many intricate architectures are designed for optical effects and we are learning from them some of their tricks, such as irridescent petal colours for bee attraction, or scattering particular colours of light from butterfly wings to scare predators. Here we need to put together metal and organics into sophisticated structures which give novel and unusual optical properties for a whole variety of applications.There are a number of significant advantages from our approach. Harnessing self-assembly of components is possible where the structures just make themselves , sometimes with a little prodding by setting up the right environment. We can also make large scale manufacturing possible using our approach (and have considerable experience of this), which leads to low costs for production. Also this approach allows us to make structures which are completely impossible using normal techniques, with smaller nanoscale features and highly-interconnected 3D architectures. Our structures can be made flexible, and we can also exploit the plastics to create devices whose properties can be tuned, for instance by changing the colour of a fibre when an electrical voltage is applied, or they are stretched or exposed to a chemical. More novel ideas such as electromagnetic cloaking (stretching light to pass around an object which thus remains invisible) are also only realistic using the sort of 3D materials we propose.The aim of this grant is bring together a set of leading researchers with the clear challenge to combine our expertise to create a world-leading centre in Soft NanoPhotonics. This area is only just emerging, and we retain an internationally-competitive edge which will allow us to open up a wide range of both science and application. The flexibility inherent in this progamme grant would allow us to continue the rapid pace of our research, responding to the new opportunities emerging in this rapidly progressing field.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description A very large number of new ideas and configurations for changing the coupling of light with soft nanomaterials based on assembling metals, dielectrics and in/organic components. High impact papers, and many interactions with companies.
Exploitation Route Tuneable structural colour for security, sensing, health, decorative coatings, textiles. Discussions and funded partnerships with Nokia, 3M, Renishaw, DSTL and others ongoing. Patents filed on a number of the key advances.
Sectors Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Energy,Environment,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy

URL http://www.np.phy.cam.ac.uk/publications
 
Description This grant concentrated on new ways to create nanostructured materials which have unusual light-matter interactions that can potentially be exploited. The focus was on developing new routes to create these materials which do not rely on costly, difficult and low yield lithographic technologies but instead utilise developments in self- and directed-nanoconstruction. In particular the combination of soft and hard materials in these structures has opened new opportunities, which have delivered an extensive and expanding range of outputs from the research. Four areas have been our main focus: Metallo-dielectric nanomaterials and metamaterials, Biomimetically-inspired photonics, Microcavities, and Plasmonics. The outputs also exemplify how work across these emphatically interdisciplinary boundaries yield new directions. In the first theme of research, our optics and soft matter groups teamed up to investigate a series of routes to nanomaterials. Using a sacrificial underlayer method to float large-area elastomeric bilayers onto a water surface allowed the use of roll-up and origami folding, techniques to create metallo-dielectric multilayers with unusual properties. We were the first to explore this strategy to large-area metamaterials, which attracted the interest and subsequent funding from Mars, Nokia, and 3M, as well as other companies who are collaborating in this area. Another route has used polystyrene/polyethylacrylate core-shell polymer nanoparticles grown in bulk solution for shear-assembly into opal films. These are the largest photonic crystals ever made, with film lengths so far up to 1km, proven to be single-domain (set by the shearing direction) and thousands of unit cells thick in an fcc lattice. Our unique fabrication route (which we have patented) led to commercial tests for pilot-scale-up with a major UK manufacturing company (Smith & Nephew). We were inundated with interest about these polymer opals (over 70 companies on our contact list), and they were exhibited in the 2012 Paris Fashion Show, as well as a Science Museum exhibit 'Trash Fashion' in 2011. Our students eventually founded a startup, Phomera, which is producing coatings for buildings (and also 'beetle' iridescent backpacks). The last research domain on which we have strongly focussed is plasmonics, with noble metal nanoparticles (Au,Ag) coupled together to produce intense optical fields tightly confined close to the metallic surfaces. We explored how stretching elastomeric plasmonics devices allows direct nanoscale tuning of the resonant wavelength, which led to funding from Nokia and a patent on our techniques to make single nanoparticle close-packed plasmonic mats. We have used an alternative void-like geometry supporting localised plasmons for producing a new (patented) solar cell which we showed has 4-fold enhanced efficiency. We have also pioneered the use of rigid cucurbituril (CB) molecules to glue together Au nanoparticles with nanoscale gaps producing aggregates with strong reliable plasmonic resonances. This system is particularly interesting because molecules can be sequestered inside CBs in the optimal high-field locations, allowing robust Raman sensing (patented). This has continued to develop, with discussions in translation to a new home sensing device, the 'Intelligent Toilet', with medical units and instrumentation companies. This grant brought in £1.1M of industrial funding (through Nokia, 3M, Renishaw, DSTL, Base4, Mars and others) leveraging our EPSRC investment. We focussed on how to exploit the nanomaterial systems created, working with Cambridge Enterprise (CE) to protect early stage IP. This led to eight patents in the grant which are brought into several portfolios, with over 50 companies engaged so far on these (with NDAs). In addition we leveraged the Programme grant to bring in £3.2M of EU funding, including an ERC Advanced award on various specific topics around this area, as well as two British Council grants with India. Together this forms a record of >100% leverage, showing the success of this investment.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Chemicals,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description 3M Minnesota
Amount £133,131 (GBP)
Funding ID RG64515 
Organisation 3M 
Sector Private
Country United States
Start  
 
Description EPSRC
Amount £123,369 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/H027130/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description EPSRC
Amount £397,636 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/H007024/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description EPSRC
Amount £3,630,742 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/G060649/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description EPSRC Programme Grant SNaP
Amount £3,630,742 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/G060649/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description EPSRC Programme grant (NOtCH)
Amount £6,013,126 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L027151/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description ERC Advanced Investigator
Amount £1,666,666 (GBP)
Funding ID 320503 
Organisation European Research Council (ERC) 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start  
 
Description European Commission (EC)
Amount £174,195 (GBP)
Funding ID FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IEF 298012 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start  
 
Description European Commission (EC)
Amount £174,195 (GBP)
Funding ID FP7-PEOPLE-2011-IEF 298012 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start  
 
Description Impact Accelaration Award EPSRC (opals)
Amount £58,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2014 
End 12/2015
 
Description Leverhulme visiting Prof
Amount £122,984 (GBP)
Funding ID VP1-2013-011 
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description NanoSciEra+
Amount £397,636 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/H007024/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Nokia
Amount £523,373 (GBP)
Funding ID RG61446 
Organisation Nokia 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start  
 
Description Nokia
Amount £523,373 (GBP)
Funding ID RG61446 
Organisation Nokia 
Sector Private
Country Global
Start  
 
Description RDA Follow on funding
Amount £20,650 (GBP)
Organisation East of England Development Agency 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2009 
End 07/2010
 
Title Dataset supporting "Plasmonic response and SERS modulation in electrochemical applied potentials" 
Description Author: Giuliana Di Martino email: gd392@cam.ac.uk Institute: NanoPhotonics Centre, Department of Physics, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge Principal Investigator: Jeremy J. Baumberg email of PI: jjb12@cam.ac.uk File formats: - raw data files are supplied as .txt files - images are supplied as .png or .pdf files 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Dataset supporting "Plasmonic response and SERS modulation in electrochemical applied potentials" 
Description Author: Giuliana Di Martino email: gd392@cam.ac.uk Institute: NanoPhotonics Centre, Department of Physics, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge Principal Investigator: Jeremy J. Baumberg email of PI: jjb12@cam.ac.uk File formats: - raw data files are supplied as .txt files - images are supplied as .png or .pdf files 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting "Electrically controlled nano and micro actuation in memristive switching device with on-chip gas encapsulation" 
Description Data related to plots and figures in associated publication. Datasets are provided as comma-separated values files, containing the raw data from experimental measurements. Raw image files are also provided for the images included in the publication figures. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting "Electrically controlled nano and micro actuation in memristive switching device with on-chip gas encapsulation" 
Description Data related to plots and figures in associated publication. Datasets are provided as comma-separated values files, containing the raw data from experimental measurements. Raw image files are also provided for the images included in the publication figures. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting "Laser-Induced Reduction and In-situ Optical Spectroscopy of Individual Plasmonic Copper Nanoparticles for Catalytic Reactions" 
Description Author: Giuliana Di Martino email: gd392@cam.ac.uk Principal Investigator: Jeremy J. Baumberg email of PI: jjb12@cam.ac.uk Institute: NanoPhotonics Centre, Department of Physics, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge The data files contain optical spectra of the experimental and simulated data. Details on the acquisition method are included in the main manuscript. Igor Pro has been used to acquire and plot the data. PovRay and PowerPoint has been used to create Fig.1. File formats: - raw data files are supplied as .txt files - images are supplied as .png or .pdf files 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting "Laser-Induced Reduction and In-situ Optical Spectroscopy of Individual Plasmonic Copper Nanoparticles for Catalytic Reactions" 
Description Author: Giuliana Di Martino email: gd392@cam.ac.uk Principal Investigator: Jeremy J. Baumberg email of PI: jjb12@cam.ac.uk Institute: NanoPhotonics Centre, Department of Physics, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge The data files contain optical spectra of the experimental and simulated data. Details on the acquisition method are included in the main manuscript. Igor Pro has been used to acquire and plot the data. PovRay and PowerPoint has been used to create Fig.1. File formats: - raw data files are supplied as .txt files - images are supplied as .png or .pdf files 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting "Thermo-Responsive Actuation of a DNA Origami Flexor" 
Description Research data supporting Thermo-Responsive Actuation of a DNA Origami Flexor 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2000 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting Dynamic- and Light-Switchable Self-Assembled Plasmonic Metafilms 
Description Research data supporting Dynamic- and Light-Switchable Self-Assembled Plasmonic Metafilms 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting Dynamic- and Light-Switchable Self-Assembled Plasmonic Metafilms 
Description Research data supporting Dynamic- and Light-Switchable Self-Assembled Plasmonic Metafilms 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting [Mapping nanoscale hotspots with single-molecule emitters assembled into plasmonic nanocavities using DNA origami] 
Description Experimental and simulation data is collected at NanoPhotonics center, University of Cambridge. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Title Research data supporting [Mapping nanoscale hotspots with single-molecule emitters assembled into plasmonic nanocavities using DNA origami] 
Description Experimental and simulation data is collected at NanoPhotonics center, University of Cambridge. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
 
Description Collaboration with 3M 
Organisation 3M
Country United States 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution 3M funded project on exploring potential of optical scattering from colloidal particles. Funded project to study scattering from films.
Start Year 2011
 
Description Renishaw Diagnostic Ltd 
Organisation Renishaw PLC
Department Renishaw Diagnostics Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution CASE studentship
Start Year 2008
 
Description Signed exploitation agreement with DKI 
Organisation German Plastic Institute
Country Germany 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Our technology partner has signed agreements with us, so that we jointly commercialise with Cambridge Enterprise leading. Long term collaboration developed.
Start Year 2006
 
Description base4innovation 
Organisation Base4 Innovation
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution research project
Start Year 2008
 
Description collaboration with DSTL 
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution joint research on UV SERS
Collaborator Contribution background on need and current technologies
Impact see publications on UV SERS
Start Year 2011
 
Description collaboration with Nokia 
Organisation Nokia Research Centre Cambridge
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution research collaboration
Start Year 2010
 
Company Name Base4 
Description Spin-out producing a new ultra-high speed DNA sequencing technology 
Year Established 2010 
Impact second tranche of funding, having hit milestones
Website http://www.base4.co.uk
 
Description BBC Horizon interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact filming labs and interviews for BBC Horizon programme on our synthetic biology project on making structural colours from squid genes.

limited feedback from public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Dara O'Brian Science Club BBC 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Produced interviews and experiments for an "Future Fantastic" episode of Dara O'Brian Science Club BBC, aired on 15 Aug 2013.

Contacted by various members of public.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Materials movie, "The Secret Life of Materials" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact JJB in Materials movie, "The Secret Life of Materials", Mimicking Nature,
selected for Pariscience and the Goethe science film festivals receiving awards in the International Film Festival in Athens and in the Life Sciences Film festival in Prague so far...
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://youtu.be/SVGMhGualU0?list=PLmQdDYjAqXUk5jp7_xLYLFfIeH53Gl-bg&t=1
 
Description Naked Scientist interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact interview on our work recorded with Naked Scientist
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History exhibit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact built polymer opal exhibit for Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

good feedback from museum.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Paris fashion show 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Working with a London fashion designer who developed our polymer opals nanomaterials into clothes, these were shown at the Paris Fashion show.

Many designers asked us for sample material to use.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Royal Society Summer Exhibition: Dress to Impress 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 12000 members of the public came by the stand and saw the exhibit, sparking many discussions, demonstrations, ideas, etc.

We had enquiries from very many schools about our work, which is highly visual nanotechnology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description SET for Parliment 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Laura Brooks represented our work at SET in Parliment, won 2nd prize
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Science Society talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Talk for the Cambridge University Science Society
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Stoner lecture, Leeds 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact JJB gave the Stoner lecture on translating research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Trash Fashions exhibit at Science Museum 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Trash Fashions, showcased new ideas for clothers based on technologies. We provided an exhibit based on our polymer opal materials.

Many schools and clothers designers asked us for sample materials to test and create new clothes with. It caught the imagination well.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Wired 8 page spread on our work 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact With their journalists, we produced an 8 page article of images and text in the international magazine Wired.

Many people contacted us as a result.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/11/weird-nanophotonic-materials/
 
Description exibit in Cambridge Science Museum 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact built polymer opals exhibit as part of Cambridge Science Museum display
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description general article on microcavities 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Article on our general research in microcavities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://spie.org/newsroom/6743-a-sub-femtojoule-electrical-spin-switch-based-on-liquid-light?SSO=1