The huge economic value of some projects have focused large research effort and scanning of possible new roads. As example one knows energy storage, soft bio-mimetic catalysis, light and efficient actuators, ...
This large interest allow to collaborate on defined projects as playgrounds to develop and to test methods. The industrial realization is a little trickier than the clean setup we work on, but the main profit of these cases is to handle involved methods with a present and useful target, a kind of "market toy".
We cite hereunder cases concerning energy storage (electrochemical supercapacitors, giant dielectric capacitors, hydrogen production from solar energy), bio-mimetic synthesis using transition metal complexes (H2O2 production, Radical polymerization), actuators (ultrasonic and electromagnetic motors).
The motive is to properly handle structurally disordered materials and vacancies, 3d and 4f strongly correlated electronic systems, and engineering of "soft" processes as microwaves, sol-gel and other solution processes.
Energy storage using a redox reaction where only a charge transfer takes place allow performance between capacitors and batteries.
A prototypal toolbox of materials are Manganese oxides, a family of complex, non-stoichiometric oxides, containing additional metal cations, physisorbed and structural water, and structural vacancies. Specific capacitances reported for thin-film alpha-MnO2 are of the order ~1000 F/g which corresponds to ~1 electron per Mn center.
Capacitors, as passive components in electrical systems are used for various tasks (decoupling, by-passing, filtering, timing, ...) and miniaturization of components requires higher dielectric constant.
Ceramic/Polymer composites offer advantages and an example is CaCu3Ti4O12 (CCTO) in a Poly(vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) polymer matrix. CaCu3Ti4O12 (CCTO) has a giant dielectric constant of up to 10**5 at room temperature and proper understanding and control of this property add to the existing knowledge of Cu Oxides in electronics.
One way to store solar energy is to produce hydrogen, a clean fuel.
Nickel-iron Layered Double Hydroxide (NiFe-LDH) are candidates for active, durable and cost-efficient electrocatalysts for water-splitting. Other examples of similar structure researched for the same target are Co-Mn LDH.
Hydrogen peroxide production with electron transfer is one of the most described reaction on Fe containing Heme enzymes (as cytochromes P450 and hemoglobins).
Although mastering the ligands dynamics which occurs in biology is out of reach, building simpler but efficient systems is a fruitful exercise, mainly because of the large number of data and observations which are known from biology.
Radical polymerization is a widely used technology and Metal-mediated methods allow to expand the monomer scope and to better control the structure and the polydispersity of the polymer.
The steric and electronic properties of the ligand framework exerts a profound effect on the reaction outcome, and expertise from metalloenzymes models allow to scan various factors. For instance changes to the ligands can control the spin-state of the metal and switch the polymerization mechanism (OMRP, ATRP, CCT).
Ultrasonic motors are based on different designs which involve polling directions, dielectric, piezo and elasticity values. How to compose those properties is an important issue in realizing reliable motors fully adapted to their specific tasks.
Because the target can be precisely described (path, speed, duration, ...) and because the design equations are well known and effective, one can scan piezo materials, piezo geometries and composites with pure elastic support to obtain the required displacement and reliability.
Progress in the metallurgy of rare earth ferromagnetic compositions is making available isotropic powders. They can be simply dispersed in a polymeric binder to obtain any shape geometry and then magnetized with nearly any field geometry.
This versatility allow to design electromagnetic motors with unconventional path, but with all available properties and expertise linked to this type of motors.