EMAP, Engineering Materials & APplications is linked to the faculty of engineering technology in the domains of electronics and electro-mechanics. EMAP is translating different research targets from ‘lab scale’ towards ‘industry ready’. Its applied research topics are in close collaboration with industrials partners. The applied research is situated within three domains:
- Biomedical device engineering, headed by prof. dr. ir. R. Thoelen
- Energy systems engineering, headed by prof. dr. ir. M. Daenen
- Functional Materials Manufacturing, headed by prof. dr. ir. W. Deferme
In the domain of ‘Biomedical Device Engineering’ the academic research focusses on the development of “dedicated” measuring platforms that can process the signals of sensors with sufficient precision and speed in order the translate each impedance, thermal or optical based biosensor, into a fully functional point-of-care system. The applied research is done is close collaboration with the industry, hospitals and care centers to accelerate the development of innovative new products to support and improve the healthcare.
Another research topic is that of Functional Materials Manufacturing. Using different printing and coating processes, such as inkjet printing, screen printing or spraycoating, inks can be deposited onto different substrates. The inks have another functionality than “just color”. They can be made conductive to be used as interconnects, RFID antennas or electrodes for other applications. Other inks can have the property to absorb light and can be used for the development of organic solar cells, in combination with the above mentioned conductive electrodes. Again another ink can be light emitting and can be used, when a voltage is applied, to send out light. They are used for applications related to OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diodes). The challenge in this research is, besides the upscaling, also the performance and lifetime/reliability of the devices and to determine which printing technique is most suitable for the chosen substrate and the used ink!
The third topic concerns photovoltaics (PV) and energy storage (battery) installations. Besides the fundamental research towards the materials for PV and batteries, from the engineering side, we are looking at applications. How can know-how from fundamental research be applied to determine PV reliability from cell level up to an entire installation with converters maw powerpoint tracking and storage of energy. Here we look into the entire energy conversion chain, combined with energy storage solutions. The primary interest lies in the reliability of all the components in these systems. Various techniques are used to investigate lifetime and efficiency of these composing parts, such as NDT by thermography, accelerated life cycle testing and multiphysics simulation of components and entire installations.