Molecular understanding and chemical engineering of interfaces and interfacial processes to control material properties
The Molecules and Materials at Interfaces Laboratory - 2MILab - integrates research, education and innovation to meet societal challenges and to increase the scientific and societal impact of the research performed at the school of Chemical Science and Engineering (CHE). The activities will reach from basic science findings to applications. Understanding chemical processes at interfaces has become increasingly important for a wide range of applications, not least in the emerging nanotechnology areas, and it is the key for solving several major challenges for our society. CHE has several strong scientific groups focusing on interfacial processes and properties, today working more or less isolated from each other, and some state-of-the-art instrumentation located at the three different departments. We aim to reach international excellence by a strategic and concentrated approach to combine the competences of our departments to cover the entire chain from modelling to synthesis and engineering of interfaces and finally to control of chemical processes at interfaces including characterization and applications. This requires collaboration over departmental boarders, coordination and further strengthening of the infrastructure in order to build a KTH-spanning world-class focus area. A key in this strategy is the 2MILab, which will provide a physical laboratory environment with top-of-the-line instrumentation and scientific proficiency for engineering and exploration of interfacial materials and processes. This will enable us to reach new external resources for novel research directions and thereby meet societal challenges, and to integrate research and education leading to increased impact.
We aim to, at the molecular level, understand and engineer interfacial layers and processes and hence provide the means for controlling macroscopic material properties and dynamic processes. This includes studies and developments of:
- Novel batteries, solar cells and fuel cells
- Electrochemical and thermochemical processes at interfaces, including heterogeneous catalysis
- Efficient and environmentally benign corrosion protection systems
- The next generation nanocomposite materials
- Biocompatible materials and biomimetic interfaces, including materials and interfaces for biomedical implants and sensors
- High value products from renewable resources, with an emphasis on biopolymers and nanocellulose development and new materials from our forest raw material
- Advanced functional surfaces utilizing self-assembly processes, organic and polymer synthesis, including development of low friction surfaces
2MILab will be an advanced laboratory for studying interfacial processes and for engineering of interfacial layers, where leading experts in fundamental and application oriented science join forces to stimulate cross-disciplinary efforts to increase the impact of the research in both the academic and societal arena. 2MILab will foster holistic research efforts and stimulate projects that span over all or several of the steps: modeling-synthesis-functionalization-characterization-application. It will be run and organized by dedicated laboratory managers and act as a springboard for multi-disciplinary projects both within and outside KTH.
2MILab will operate as a creative venue for KTH researchers, Master and PhD students and visiting scholars alike, where cutting edge technologies will be used to meet the challenges of tomorrow´s society. The findings will be implemented in our Master programmes as examples of how science can benefit society and will serve to rejuvenate the curriculum by stimulating cross-disciplinary activities also in the educational arena. As part of the activities at 2MILab, CHE will create scholarships for a selected number of Master and PhD students to perform research in the facilities.
The new laboratory will bring together fragmented expertise, foster and aid cooperation and initiate and attract both new research constellations and research directions. With its focus on strongly expanding areas of research and development, the laboratory will significantly increase our opportunities and abilities to attract visiting industrial researchers, coordinate and participate in major international research programs, and gain funding from national and European research agencies as well as from both existing and emerging industries. It also provides conditions to achieve breakthroughs and high-profile publications and thereby contribute to the performance and visibility of KTH.