Synthesis of inorganic materials at different TRLs
Mastering the synthesis of inorganic materials at different technology readiness levels (TRLs) implies knowledge and control of both the synthesis aspects as well as the material’s aspects (such as their functional properties), while taking into account the final destiny in appropriate devices. For example, an excellent material, with functionality demonstrated as an epitaxial thin film, can become something totally different when the material is fabricated as a powder. It is only by control of the synthesis (the route, the deposition method,…) that the achievement of the desired properties will be ensured.
The synthesis of inorganic materials therefore pops up at all technology readiness levels, covering:
- fundamental research,
- strategic basic research and
- applied research up to
- the implementation into devices.
The IPC group is active in each of these levels, specializing in oxides, metals and phosphates mainly.
The non-linearity of research
All types of research mentioned above influence each other. Research is not always linearly passing from the fundamental stage to the implementation in devices. More often, it is observed that the research if flipping back and forth, going towards application, returning to fundamentals when hitting a wall, and moving back forward again into the applied types.
About the IPC-group
The inorganic and physical chemistry group (IPC) operates within the Institute for Materials Research (IMO-IMOMEC), combining fundamental (UHasselt-IMO) and applied (IMEC-IMOMEC) research in the field of oxide nanomaterials. The IPC group is headed by prof. dr. M.K. Van Bael and prof. dr. A. Hardy, while at the research activities are carried out by PhD students and 1 postdoc researcher. The group has expertise in the solution based synthesis and deposition of metal oxides. They have been involved in many research collaborations with industry in the frame of the synthesis and characterization of inorganic nanomaterials, mainly oxides, for several applications (e.g. Agfa, Arcelor, Custodiam, Nitto, Océ, PANalytical, Umicore, Zweko). Currently they participate in projects from FWO, IWT-SBO, Methusalem, Hercules and EU.