Everything is made of something, yet, during the past century, the scientific and technological importance of new materials has not been widely appreciated. Indeed, even though historical breakthroughs in materials science such as the development of steel for replacing wrought iron had enormous commercial impact. The term 'advanced material' has been coined only recently. Large parts of the development underpinned by advanced materials remains invisible to the general public - such as the requirement for high dielectric constant gate materials for ultra-small transistors and advanced alloys in order to improve the efficiency of jet engines. But we can also see and benefit from a lot of innovations - such as scratch-resistant glass for smart-phone screens and optoelectronic polymers for displays. In many cases it is not the material itself that is 'advanced' but rather the manufacturing processes required either for creating it or for mixing it with other materials. Sapphire, for example, has been recognized and used for thousands of years, but the ability to create and produce large, perfect crystals has enabled it to be used as the substrate for the growth of gallium nitride (GaN) films for light-emitting diodes and to increase the scratch-resistance of smart-phone displays.
Social Impact: The next generation of materials can help to solve the globe's most pressing challenges. For example, light weighting solutions increase fuel efficiency and lower emissions for the entire transportation sector. The best materials can help us to ensure the best future for our planet.
Health Effect: Most European societies are ageing and hence more and more people will suffer from illnesses in the future. However, all of us want to live a good life. People will need to replace their hip joints, dentures, prosthetics etc. to improve the quality of their life.
Energy Consumption: Advanced materials help us to lower energy consumption, to increase energy efficiency, to improve agriculture or to scale up enzymatic transformations. Hence, there are many opportunities related to advanced materials.
Advanced materials, High-tech materials, Energy efficiency, Medical implant
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