Project dates: 01. May 2021 - 30. Apr 2026
This ERC CoG will serve to build a strong multidisciplinary group concentrating on the synthesis of novel functional dielectric polymers that are printed into devices capable of converting one form of energy into another. Research spans all the way from materials’ synthesis and optimization, via device engineering to exploration of the manifold applications. TRANS will develop novel high dielectric permittivity elastomers and piezoelectric elastomers with an unprecedented collection of properties and use them as active components in devices for emerging technologies. The devices are not only of high technological and scientific importance, but also exhibit substantial economic and societal impact. They will reversibly change their shape in response to an electric field, generate electricity when mechanically stretched, cool while using little energy, convert thermal energy directly into electricity and, finally, store electricity in the form of batteries. The polymers developed in TRANS will combine either unprecedentedly high dielectric permittivity with a high dielectric breakdown field or piezoelectric properties with high elasticity. They have the potential to revolutionize different fields of applications such as actuators, sensors, energy harvesting, artificial muscles, soft robotics, energy storage, stretchable electronics, and solid-state refrigeration. A particularly important aspect concerns the synthesis of scalable and environmentally friendly, easy-to-apply and process printable inks, which are the active ingredients of various devices. After project termination, the applicant’s group will expand the fundamental understanding of structure-dielectric properties relationship and will be able to provide inks that are printed in prototype devices responsive to electricity, heat or mechanical stress.