Professor Soo Wohn Lee, chairman of the 14th International Union of Materials Research Societies-International Conference on Advanced Materials (IUMRS-ICAM) and Dr. Hanns-Ulrich Habermeier, president of IUMRS, welcomed participants during a Sunday evening reception to kick off the conference where over two-thousand researchers are expected to attend.
They emphasized that the participation of so many scientists, engineers, researchers and business executives from all around the world will certainly create an ideal atmosphere for a fruitful exchange of ideas, knowledge and state-of-the-art techniques. Even before the technical sessions begin, the informality of a welcome reception provides a good opportunity to establish long-lasting friendships with colleagues.
According to Habermeier and Lee, who is also first vice-president of IUMRS, one of the main objectives of IUMRS is to foster international cooperation among institutions, industries and research organizations. They contended that such an ambitious objective can only be reached by combining a dense scientific program with unique social events. The wonderful environment and facilities of the meeting venue, South Korea’s Jeju Island, fairly called “Hawaii in Korea”, will definitely provide a fascinating and productive setting for the growth of the materials science community and for establishing many future collaborations.
The IUMRS-ICAM opening ceremony was hosted by Prof. Donghwan Kim, program committee chair. He recalled the first conference on materials science, held in Tokyo in 1988, and the formal establishment of IUMRS in 1991. Since then, over forty countries have joined forces, making IUMRS conferences established events of global importance. Dr.H.-U. Habermeier, president of IUMRS, highlighted how the ambitious objectives of the IUMRS founders – the promotion of science at an international level and the development of inter-cultural collaborations – have been reached. With over 400 keynote presentations and invited talks, over 1300 papers on various topics, and unique workshops (i.e. the 6th International Workshop for R&D clustering among Mexico and Korea in eco-materials processing; and the 2nd Korea-EU bilateral workshop on advanced functional materials), Dr.Habermeier believes whole heartedly that younger and older researchers will be provided a rewarding multi-cultural learning experience.
Prof. Dojin Kim, head of the Materials Research Society of Korea (MRS-K) expressed his desire for further development of collaboration between groups, aided by promotion of research activities in the materials science area. In this frame, Prof. Kim mentioned the many corollary IUMRS conferences, held in Europe and Asia (ICEM, ICA, ICYRAM).
Prof. Soo Wohn Lee, conference chair and first vice-president of IUMRS, then declared the 14th International Union of Materials Research Societies-International Conference on Advanced Materials officially open.
Prof. Yuan Ping Feng introduced the first plenary lecture of the morning by Prof. Freddy Boey of the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. The topic “Functional biomaterials for medical devices in treating cardiovascular & glaucoma diseases” was addressed in depth by providing real-life examples. In particular, the outstanding effect of nano-drug carriers for the treatment of glaucoma and the design of a multi-layered polymeric structure releasing different drugs at different rates have proved how materials-based devices can substitute for mechanical ones. Prof. Boey went as far as to predict this as the future of materials science in the biomedical field: the coupling of known drugs with new carrier methods, to maximize the efficient delivery of the active ingredient.
The second plenary lecture by Prof. Toshihiko Koseki (University of Tokyo, Japan) was introduced by Prof. Masahiro Yoshimura. Titled “Towards higher performance steels”, the talk addressed the numerous issues related to the production of high performance stainless steel for applications in which light weight is essential. The compromise between high strength and ductility, formability and weldability was demonstrated and possible solutions provided: among others, the design of layered structures, consisting of martensite and austenite foils was described. Overall, Prof Koseki maintained that the key to a new-generation stainless steel resides in its superstructure, in the control of microstructure, and in the interfacial strength between components.
The wide variety of topics covered in the symposium on Structural Materials required seven separate sections with sessions spread over four conference days. Indeed, structural materials represent one of the main themes of the IUMRS-ICAM.
The first session covered the state-of-the-art of steel research. Fifteen oral presentation and twenty-seven posters were presented by researchers from over seven different nations: great attention was given to the effect of minor metal additions to the microstructure of stainless steel, to the detailed investigation of hydrogen embrittlement, and to corrosion behaviour. Several posters focused on the effect of pre-treatments (annealing, pre-straining), annealing, and homogenization.
Another Monday session addressed the topic of bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) and high-entropy alloys (HEAs). Half of the sixteen oral presentations and most of the dedicated posters focused on synthetic pathways and properties (plasticity and ductility) of BMGs. One of the invited speakers provided an original insight on the possibility of using BMGs as biomaterials. Among HEAs, much attention was given to the CrCoFeNi system, and especially to precipitation hardening following Al/Ti additions. The use of a synthetic route involving high-pressure torsion followed by annealing was one new trend that emerged. In addition, a few researchers tackled the topic of the synthesis and characterization of amorphous alloys.
The mechanical behaviour of nanoscale materials was also a Monday session topic. Fifteen oral presentations and twenty-five posters highlighted several trends. First, the development of high-sensitivity techniques for in-situ characterization or mechanical testing (e.g., x-ray Laue diffraction, synchrotron mechanical testing, prismatic loop emission, TEM). Second, the broad range of applications for nanoscale materials, varying from electrode materials to sensors and composite materials was covered. Finally, also included were presentations on the tuning of materials properties, obtained either through proper design or through subsequent treatments (e.g., irradiation with a proton beam).
A session of the section dedicated to superalloys and high temperature materials also ran on Monday. The fifteen oral presentations and nineteen posters highlighted the role played by minor metal additions to mechanical and chemical properties of superalloys. The relation between properties and microstructure was discussed at length, and the effect of heat treatment on those was debated.
Together, symposia on nano- and biomaterials and onfunctional materials were divided into eleven subsections. Participants from Korea, UK, Japan, Czech Republic, USA, Taiwan, Thailand, Germany, Mexico, and other countries presented their talks during threeMonday sessions and poster displays.
Novel synthetic routes for preparation of new materials as bulk phases, nanoparticles, and thin films were presented. Primary attention was paid to elemental compositions of materials with new functions such as photovoltaic, thermoelectric, biocompatible properties. Materials for the construction of “green” devices (such as smart windows), as well as energy and gas absorbers were discussed. Heterofunctional and heterostructured materials were also focusedon bythe active participants. Organic perovskites were mentioned as one of the most promising materials for solar cells. Phases based on organic cations and inorganic anions with perovskite crystal structure have been intensively investigated during the last few years (over 1000 published papers during 2015). Hybrid perovskite materials show high efficiency, can be easily prepared from solution, and have a relatively low concentration of structural defects.
The computational design of new materials can be mentioned as one of the important areas showing fast developing recently, primarily because of the appearance of new computational approaches and the availability of powerful in house computers and facilities for supercomputing. To make the bridge between chemical composition, constitution and properties, structure prediction and structure database mining can be used to speed the design of new materials. Special attention is needed to the formulation of appropriate criteria forthe selection of candidate materials such as band gap, electronic structure, thermodynamic stability, etc. Particular progress has been shown in the area of the design of new materials for energy conversion where many promising materials for solar cells and batteries have been predicted and tested.The following criteria for materials design were putforward in a number of talks: modern materials should be easily synthesized, as cheap as possible, should be prepared reproducibly and the processes should be scalable.
Of the six symposia under the heading, Energy and Environmental Materials, the first covering photovoltaic solar cells and solar energy materials was essentially focused on current research and progress on materials for light harvesting and energy conversion. A total of fifteen oral presentations including one keynote address and five invited talks from eight different nations were delivered. Most presentations concerned quantum dot (QD) effects on solar cells followed by crystalline and amorphous solar cells for the enhancement of their efficiency. In order to attain the maximum efficiency of nonradiative energy transfer (NRET) solar cells with a QD-nanowire system, one of the speakers noted that four major steps should be considered. These include a) 100% photon absorption, b) Efficient Inter-QD Energy transfer, c) Efficient energy transfer across the QD-Nanowire interface and d) Ultralow-loss charge transport in the nanowire.
Another symposium under the Energy and Environmental Materials heading covers superconducting and thermoelectric materials for sustainable development. It comprised 14 oral presentations including one Keynote speaker and thirteen invited speakers. The majority of the speakers’ topics concerned metal oxide thermoelectric (TE)materials and key aspects relevant to high temperature TE materials. The heat flux for TE power generation at the maximum designed power with energy payback (i.e., net output) [in W/m2] and material cost per unit area [in $/m2] was highlighted at the meeting. Environmental impacts and health concerns associated with TE materials were also discussed. Additional topics included the concept of an atomic layer thermopile, applications of oxides, and realization of the concept of nanoblock integrated-layered oxide structures. Atomic/molecular layer deposition (ALD/MLD) of new materials is yet another approach for TE power enhancement. ALD-fabricated thin films of oxide thermoelectrics and their room temperature characteristics were said to be essential for sustainable development.
Functional ceramics, including laser, transparent, oxide, and nitride ceramics, were another important class of materials benefitting from coverage in a symposium. Nine oral presentations of which eight were invited, as well as three posters appeared in the symposium on the cutting edge of multifunctional ceramics. The attractiveness for high power laser applications of rare earth oxide doped multifunctional ceramics was revealed at the meeting. There were other interesting technical observations worth remembering as well. For example, the properties of laser ceramics can be enhanced by controlling the crystal axes, by doping with ions, or by the application of external magnetic fields. The development of high power laser ceramics can represent a new opening for the field of laser science. Of course, the staple process in the field of ceramics is their preparation by sintering. Therefore several presentations dealt with the mechanical, optical, and microstructural characterization of ceramics fabricated by different sintering methods.
The speaker for the third planary lecture session, chaired by Prof. Robert P. H. Chang on Tuesday, 27 October, was Prof. William Dale Nix of Stanford University, USA. The title of his lecture was "modeling plasticity of FCC/BCC micropillars under uniaxial loading using dislocation dynamics." Research on nanoscale materials has blossomed over recent years because those materials have performed well in applied science and engineering contexts. Nix demonstrated with several experimental results and related theoretical simulations that the smaller dimension face-centered and body-centered micropillars act to minimize the effect of lattice dislocations in comparison to their larger dimension counterparts. Dislocation dynamics modelling can be used to track dislocation movement in FCC micropillars. For BCC micropillars, a natural cross-slip controlled multiplication mechanism operates at the surface and controls plasticity.
The forth plenary lecture given by Prof. Dongyuan Zhao (Fudan University, China) in a session chaired by Prof. Wenbin Cao (University of Science and Technology, Beijing, China), concerned the topic, "interfacial assembly and engineering of ordered mesoporous materials for application." Several experimental results for various mesoporous materials were presented. These materials included carbon nanosheets, carbon hemispheres, ordered polymer and carbon spheres, hollow spheres, asymmetric materials with the interfaces between hydrophilic and hydrophobic structures, multi-layered core-shell structures, magnetic silica microspheres with tunable large pore size, ordered TiO2 microspheres with radially aligned mesochannels, etc. These many morphologies correspond to a potentially wide range of applications.
Prof. Hyung Jun Kim from Seoul National University chaired the fifth plenary lecture session in which Dr. Sungjoo Hong (SK Hynix, Korea) spoke. The title of the lecture was "scaling challenges and requirements of advanced memory technology." Highlights of Dr. Hong’s talk involved the information and communications technology (ICT) world, ICT systems and networks, the Internet cloud, and server and data centers. He spoke about about technology development prospects and current challenges of DRAM and NAND flash memory technology and the trend to new non-volatile memory devices such as PCRAM, STT-MRAM, and ReRAM.
The second full day of IUMRS-ICAM technical symposia continued the intense interest and technical excitement of the first. In the structural materials area, symposia continued in state-of-the-art steel research, bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) and high-entropy alloys(HEAs), the mechanical behaviour of nanoscale materials, and superalloys and high temperature materials. There were 57 oral presentations across these four subtopics on Tuesday.
Although a variety of very specific issues were addressed, the general trend emerging from some talks was of constant attention to structure-property relations and to sample analysis. Nano-indentation methods, in particular, were carefully reviewed, revealing the broad spectrum of materials property information that can be accessed, for example, at grain and phase boundaries. Among the materials studied were nanoporous gold and nanolayered metal composites.
Particular care was given to the performance of HEAs under extreme conditions.The numerous lattice defects characterizing HEAs can be associated with a multitude of energy levels. Consequently, several of these alloys have proved unstable when irradiated by neutrons or high energy ions or during high pressure measurements. The effect of hydrogen on the behaviour of BMGs and amorphous alloys was also discussed. Several speakers proposed new models for the design of radiation tolerant HEAs or for the prediction of HEA formation versus corresponding intermetallic compounds.
The precipitation and microstructure of Ni-based superalloys were reported and analyzed and computational models based on thermodynamics were displayed. Some case studies were presented, and in particular the high temperature behavior of turbine blades and discs and the performance of service-exposed LC blades were discussed. The exploitation of y-AlTi in additive manufacturing was also displayed and explained.
Tuesday also saw coverage of wide bandgap materials under the general electronic materials banner, of the synthesis and characterization of functional materials, and of computational materials. Both talks (65) and posters (110) were presented in the functional materials area. In general, in all symposia, speakers highlighted the importance of a close combination of complementary characterization techniques: the coupling of X-ray diffraction and imaging with mechanical tests; of theoretical approaches with experiments; of microscopy (optical, SEM, TEM) with X-ray diffraction and spectroscopy; and of x-ray and electron diffraction with calorimetric data. Only the combination of various characterization methods can provide a complete picture of a material’s properties and behavior. At the same time, only carefully executed experiments can reliably test theoretical predictions and lead to a proper distinction between various mechanisms of materials preparation and degradation. It is also the case that in situ techniques yield important information concerning materials formation and degradation.
It has been shown that size, strain, and boundary effects in bulk and nanomaterials all play an important role in materials properties and stability. Discussions of theoretical and experimental investigations of size and strain effects were evident in Tuesday’s proceedings. In particular, the preparation and investigation of porous and flexible inorganic materials for solar cell applications received significant attention.
Superconducting and thermoelectric materials for sustainable development, a component of the general topic of energy and environmental materials, on this day primarily covered modern superconducting materials. Iron-based superconductors were the focus of many presentations. It was mentioned that there is potential for improving the critical temperature and critical current characteristics of such systems (namely,Tc and Jc), by using new synthetic methods and preparation routes. A particularly promising area for further development concerned superconducting heterogeneous thin films.
Topics under the broad electronic materials category continued with the symposia on advanced oxide materials and thin films for electrical, optical and magnetic devices and on spintronics. Oxides attracted 48 oral presentations, of which eighteen occurred on Tuesday. Major topics included oxides of vanadium, positive exchange bias via redox driven oxygen migration, substrate epitaxy, electronic structures, and piezoelectricity. Substantial attention was paid to performance evaluation of oxide materials, considering their wide range of electrical, optical, and magnetic applications.
Thirteen presentations from six different countries on the Monday and Tuesday of the electronic materials symposia delved into spintronics. Spintronics (spin-electronics) is purported to be the next generation of electronics based on the spin of the electron. The work described in the symposium examined attempts to realize spin electronics in practice in the near future. Opportunities and challenges of magnetoresistive based logic and memory and their integration, magnetic anisotropy in ferromagnetic metal/oxide heterostructures, and spin orbit torques were the major topics covered. The spins of electrons can be aligned in parallel or antiparallel configurations to control the current in an electronic device. In other words, an electric circuit can be switched on or off depending on the spin state of electrons rather than on the physical movement of electrons in a conventional electrical circuit. Other related issues such as gauge potentials due to spin-orbit coupling, applications to spin-motive force, the spin Hall effect, and spin orbit torque via gauge theory spin -orbit coupling were also discussed.
At the beginning of his lecture, Prof. Miguel Yacaman from the University of Texas at San Antonio described recent developments in transmission electron microscopy as a tool for crystal mapping and structure determination. This was the first plenary lecture of the day, “Mechanical Properties of Nanoalloys.” As a prominent specialist in advanced TEM techniques, he described unique experimental approaches that allow him to perform microscopic investigations with picometer resolution. A combination of crystallographic images and real images obtained with high resolution allows the formation and evaluation of defects to be directly followed during nanoparticle compression and deformation. Holographic and conductivity measurements can be used to separate electric and magnetic effects in nanoparticles of various shapes. Now it is possible to perform mechanical tests inside a transmission electron microscope with in situ monitoring of nanoparticles’ structure, shape, stress, and defects. The mechanisms of plastic deformation of nanocrystals have been observed using live microscopic video illustrations. Recently Yacaman has investigated the effects of high pressure hydrostatic compression of individual nanoparticles. Such pilot studies open the way for investigation of nanomaterials under ultra-high pressure including monitoring of nano-diamond formation.
The second plenary lecture of the day was presented by Prof. Krupanidhi Baba Saluru from the Indian Institute of Science. He presented his recent results in the area of non-polar group-III-nitrides -- mixed In/Ga nitrides epitaxially deposited on Si(111), SiC, AlN, and sapphire(0001). It has been shown that sapphire(0001) substrates provide for better growth of thin films. As InGaN is a critical layer in LED devices, InxGa1-x thin films grown on sapphire were investigated using SEM, TEM, AFM, and both Raman and photoluminiscent spectroscopy. In comparison with conventional GaN films, InGaN films have the following challenges: very high equilibrium pressure, a large mismatch depending on the temperature, with GaN or InN films showing differing growth characteristics. At the same time, they show drawbacks in LEDs such as current and thermal drops. It has been shown that changing crystallographic orientation allows researchers to change films from polar to non-polar growth which eliminates disadvantages of parent GaN thin films.
The last plenary lecture, “Thin Films for Renewable Energy Applications: Deposition and Characterization” was presented by Prof. Thomas Lippert (Paul Scherrer Institute and ETH Zürich, Switzerland). Prof. Lipper specializes in PLD (pulsed laser deposition) techniques and their modifications as well as synchrotron- and neutron-based techniques of thin films characterization. In his group, much know-how has been developed and practically realized. The PLD technique is flexible and can be applied for deposition of many thin films on well-defined surfaces. Deposited films show well defined crystallinity and controllable crystal orientation. In many cases, unique phases unavailable by other techniques can be deposited. Laser-induced forward transport (LIFT) technique can be considered as further development of the technique for deposition of films on various substrates. The main characteristics, which should be the focus of any research work, are quality of the deposited film, thermal strain and mechanical properties. The last two issues are less developed in the literature. High stress and strain in the thin film can drastically change its conductivity. Laser printing of thin films can be performed using “printing” by LIFT which can be done for metals, cells, proteins, polymers, organic compounds, oxides, and semiconductors with working velocities of 4-17 m/s. The main attention should be paid to analysis of film growth by PXRD, XAS/XES, as well as to a close collaboration with theoretical chemists.
Wednesday saw a number of interesting presentations in this third day of technical symposia. Notable among them was the day-long “6th International Workshop for R&D Clustering among Mexico and Korea in Eco-materials Processing.” The balanced participation of Mexican and Korean researchers combined with the wide variety of topics, highlighted the enrichment brought to both sides by this collaboration. The debate involved photocatalytic hydrogen production, H2-sensitivity ability and hydrogen storage materials; promising photoactive compounds for solar cells of LEDs, and energy harvesting. The session was opened by a talk on nature-inspired material (hydroxyapatite from clam shells), and the topic was addressed again in a talk about metal foams for sound and heat absorption.
In a number of excellent symposia presentations, classical synthetic approaches were applied to new systems.
- It was shown that exfoliated graphene-like black phosphorous can be prepared. Its electronic properties lead one to suggest it for further more detailed investigation as a low-dimensional functional 2D material.
- Also, an elegant pack cementation route for Ni-Ti-Hf shape memory alloy was explained in great detail.
- More detailed understanding of the structure and properties of disordered and amorphous materials can be achieved by a combination of methods sensitive to local environment such as TEM (transmission electron microscopy), EXAFS (extended x-ray absorption fine structure), and PDF (pair distribution function x-ray diffraction).
- Complex oxide, salt and metallic systems can be understood only after careful collection, analysis, and evaluation of existing experimental data. Such analysis allows one to identify knowledge gaps and select experimental data of highest quality. Further experiments can be designed with more success after a completion of materials database.
- Progress was evident in a design of new Ti-based alloys for medical and constructional applications.
- In the chemical metallurgy area, general trends were covered in the field as well as particular topics related to slag formation and equilibria in complex oxide systems. It was noted that evaluation of phase diagrams needs careful data evaluation and multiple experimental approaches. Analysis of existing literature data shows high geographical fragmentation of the research field and the need for active international and interdisciplinary collaborations.
The symposium on photovoltaic solar cells and solar energy materials covered most of the presentations on performance evaluations of the solar cells. The session consisted of 10 oral and 67 poster presentations. Solar spectral selective coatings and low dimensional materials attracted significant attention. Similarly, efficiency enhancement by the application of nanocomposites, heterojunctions, or polymers were also the hot topics for discussion. Various other kinds of solar cells including, perovskite solar cells, thin film solar cells, quasi-solid state dye sensitive solar cells (DSSCs), organic solar cells, etc. were also reviewed.
The symposium on recycling under the energy and environmental materials area covered a wide range of recovery/recycling techniques such as the autoclave leaching aluminothermic process, the mechanochemical process, as well as home-made designs. Ten oral presentations were made and great attention was given to the last presentation of the evening session on recycling of polyethylene into a strong and tough laerite composite for building applications.
The last part of the symposium on mechanical behaviour of nanoscale materials occurred on Wednesday, whereas new sessions on advanced functional ceramics, plasma-materials interactions, and eco-materials began. Regarding the nanoscale materials, talks confirmed the trends of the recent days, by covering failures’ causes and effects (dislocations, fatigue, creep and twinning). Time was also devoted to the development of new technologies for the determination of nano-mechanical properties: elastic moduli, viscoelasticity, and tangent loss data were obtained via tapping mode AFM experiments. Discussions on functional ceramics focused mostly on the measurement and application of piezoelectric thin films and single crystals. But also, conductive properties and photoluminescence attracted attention for their strict relationship to optoelectronic devices. In addition, the issue of electric control of magnetic phase transitions was addressed. The interaction of plasma with different materials concerned materials processing and surface treatments. The first was defined by the speakers in terms of atomic layer depositions and doping. The latter focused on discussing redox reactions or etching, printing, and cleaning techniques. One presentation reviewed current methods for plasma diagnostics.
The topics of interest in the eco-materials session included the study of microstructure stability and evolution as a function of temperature, composition, and pressure in selected case studies. In particular, the challenges in the development of turbines and automotive parts were analysed. Such peculiar applications require carefully tuned processes: among the traditional production routes, accumulative roll-bonding was reviewed.
The prestigious Somiya Award, conferred on prominent figures in the scientific community since year 2000, was today given to Prof. Ruslan Z. Valiev (Uta State Aviation Technology University, Russia) and Prof. Yuntian T. Zhu (Carolina State University, USA). The prize is dedicate to Shigeyuki Somiya, emeritus professor of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, active at the international level for the development of materials science in Asia. The award is accredited every year to researchers who have maintained inter-continental collaborations for at least the last ten years, whose outstanding work has brought about substantial development in the state-of-the-art, and whose discoveries have gained them international notoriety. In particular, the collaboration of Valiev and Zhu on ultrafine grained materials entailed the successful exploitation of nano-Ti and nano-Ti-based alloys for medical applications. The ultra-fine grained structure (less than ~100 nm) is obtained through severe plastic deformation (SPD). Their work has been cited almost 5000 times, and has raised awareness on a new class of materials: to accommodate the rising interest of the international community, several conferences and symposia hves been hosted, and two books and five major reviews have appeared since 2013.
In absence of Prof. Zhu, Prof. Valiev gave the award lecture “Recent findings in superior strength and ductility of ultrafine-grained materials”. The talk covered the history of ultrafine-grained materials from their discovery in 1998 until the present: in particular, the steps in the tuning of hardness and ductility were described. The strong effects on nanostructured material performance are clearly related to the effects of SPD (a combination of equal-channelled angular pressing and high pressure torsion) on grain size and, ultimately, on grain boundaries. In fact, the segregation of some elements at the grain boundaries can both suppress dislocations and enable small sliding, thus contributing to the material extreme hardness as well as ductility. The unique features of these materials make them suitable for several medical-related applications: pilot studies on dental implants and orthopaedic devices are currently being performed. However, the synthetic route is difficult to scale-up: it may still be too early to be talking about mass-production of ultrafine-grained materials.
Somewhat prematurely, taking advantage of the great attendance at the conference banquet on Wednesday evening, the closing ceremony of IUMRS-ICAM 2015 was hosted by Prof. Do-Kyun Kwon, General Secretary of IUMRS-ICAM 2015. Prof. Soo Wohn Lee, Conference Chair and First Vice President of IUMRS presented an evaluation of the conference success: 1921 submitted abstract, of whose 1694 accepted, from a total of 41 countries. China, Korea and Japan accounted for over 80% of the overall participation, consisting of over 1500 attendees from 38 countries. Prof. Hanns-Ulrich Habermeier, President of IUMRS, highlighted the importance given in IUMRS statutes to international cooperation and the promotion of interdisciplinary information exchange. He emphasized the achievement of these objectives in the conference, as confirmed by the massive participation. However, nothing would have been possible if not for the joint work of the other IUMRS officers, of the IUMRS commissions, and of the IUMRS-ICAM organization committee. The international spectrum of IUMRS was confirmed by the existence numerous adhering body socieites located in Australia, Brazil, Europe, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Singapore, and Taiwan.
The opportunity was taken by principal organizers of future IUMRS conferences to briefly announce their venues, topics, and dates. These include the ICEM, ICYRAM, and ICA series and,. of course, the next ICAM conference. Details are posted at this IUMRS web site when they become available.
The fourth and last day of IUMRS-ICAM 2015 opened with three plenary lectures focusing on advanced functional materials and to the necessary strategies to link theoretical research with industrial applications.
In the session chaired by Prof. Rodrigo Martins of the New University of Lisbon (Portugal), the first plenary speaker of the day, Prof. Juan Ramón Morante (Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC), Spain), was introduced. His talk, on new material alternatives for solar chemicals and CO2 reutilisation offered a clear and complete insight into the great potentialities of photo-electrochemical processes in the context of energy storage and production. The global objectives set by the Kyoto Protocol incentivized the studies on renewable energy sources, with solar energy having been found to be the most promising and globally available. The development of sun-based systems would satisfy needs of the economy, environment, and production; nature-inspired designs (based on light, CO2, and water), would also appear to be the most efficient.
Conversely, the production of such artificial systems requires a massive combination of competencies and resources: photo-electrochemistry is an across-the-board technique, which can combine photochemistry with water splitting or carbon dioxide photo-reduction, and therefore maximize the energy output. However, the development of active PEC solar farms is still far off in the future: current anode and cathode materials are either too expensive or have very low efficiency. While proper cell design can greatly improve the efficiency, some issues require further research: in particular, the charge transport mechanism through protective layers, the performance of back-illuminated electrodes, and the production of transparent devices.
Dr. Tsung-Tsan Su of the Taiwan Material Research Society presented a plenary lecture on the ITRI approach to going from R&D to business development. The session was chaired by Prof. Yafang Han (the Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Materials of Aviation Industries of China). The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), based in Taiwan, aims to create a bridge between R&D and industry by monetising valid and innovative ideas. In particular, ITRI intervenes in the transition phase between basic research and commercialization: it aims to create value, capture it through technology innovation, and finally increase the success rate for business development. Accordingly, ITRI and its business partners look for appealing projects which can identify real problems and propose original solutions. Dr. Su presented some examples of successful ITRI strategy, ranging from energy storage (increased stability in Li-based batteries) to energy saving (green buildings, waste heat utilisation), water resources (portable devices for water purification), and biomaterials applications (food storage materials).
The final plenary session involved Prof. Yanfeng Chen (Department of Materials Science and Engineering & National Laboratory of Solid-State Microstructures, Nanjing University, China) as presenter and was chaired by Prof. Zhengyi Fu (Wuhan University of Technology, China).
The lecture covered exotic acoustic and optical effects in micro-structured materials. It provided insight into the field of optical and acoustic meta-materials. In the last fifty years, the concept of meta-materials as systems utilising local resonance has evolved to include control of the interaction between waves and materials. In particular, the study of photonic crystals has led to the development of artificial band structures (because the interaction of the wave with the system is actually an interaction with its band gap) and eventually to the discovery of peculiar effects in the material properties. Prof. Chen showed the effect of negative refraction of acoustic waves in periodic acoustic crystals and the recent results obtained by his research group in the field of parity-time symmetric photonic structures. The propagation behaviour in such deliberately designed structures could be successfully applied in photonic logic and, eventually, in computers.
Many interesting and productive discussions took place during the last day of the conference within the symposia of most of the meeting’s major topics.
- New light Al, Zn and Mg alloys for aerospace and automotive applications have been investigated in recent years. Their promising mechanical properties and stability (chemical and mechanical) under extreme conditions make them ideal candidates for substitution of more classical alloys. Based on evaluation of alloys texture and microstructure their working properties can be predicted and improved.
- Composite materials for various applications were the focus of many talks during the conference. All presenters concluded that, in many cases, composites with combined structural and functional properties could substitute for ordinary materials in smart applications.
- Substantial attention was devoted to the ceramics materials and their novel processing technologies. Different methods of ceramics processing such as spark plasma sintering (SPS), modified carbothermal nitridation, solid state reaction, reactive hot pressing, and gel combustion combined with field-assisted rapid synthesis were discussed. Microstructure, high temperature oxidation, and electrical, optical, thermal, mechanical, tribological, magnetic, and corrosion protection properties of different ceramic materials were highlighted during the meeting.
Supported nanoparticles are used as catalytic materials in chemical reactions, electrochemical cells, as well as fuel cells. The fuel cell sessions took place at the very end of the conference, but they were one of the broadest sessions in the energy and environmental materials area. Chemical and mechanical stability of electrocatalytic systems and membranes during operation of fuel cells is one of the most important issues, which in many cases limits further progress of the field. Special attention has been directed toward fuel cells and their main elements under extreme operating conditions (extended number of cycles, overcharge, high and low temperature). Such investigations based on the analysis of morphology and functionality of working models ex situ and in situ give a solid basis for further improvement of existing materials as well as predictions of new compositions. In many cases, thin films cannot be used as functional elements of electrochemical and photochemical devices where a highly active surface is required. Nevertheless, such thin films can be used as models for understanding general trends and mechanistic details of many important processes and reactions.
Dr. Gobinda Gyawali, Sun Moon University, Korea
Ms. Sephira Riva, Swansea University, UK
Dr. Kirill V.Yusenko, Swansea University, UK
These daily highlights are able only to cover a small fraction of the broad and deep technical activity of the ICAM Conference. A full list of talks and speakers can be found at the Conference web site (http://iumrs-icam2015.org). Many full journal articles derived from the Conference presentations are expected to be published in one of the following journals:
- Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology
- Science of Advanced Materials
- Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology
- Journal of Nanoelectronics and Optoelectronics
- Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters
- Journal of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering
- Progress in Natural Science : Materials International.
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