The National University of Singapore (NUS) has launched the Institute for Functional Intelligent Materials (I-FIM) – the world’s first institute dedicated to the design, synthesis, and application of Functional Intelligent Materials (FIMs). Co-directed by Nobel-Prize-winning materials scientist Professor Sir Konstantin Novoselov and Distinguished Professor Antonio Castro Neto, I-FIM will be the sixth research centre of excellence (RCE) in Singapore, and the fourth RCE hosted at NUS.
Education Minister Mr Chan Chun Sing (third from left) launched the NUS Institute for Functional Intelligent Materials (I-FIM), accompanied by (left to right) Prof Sir Konstantin Novoselov, I-FIM Director; Mr Hsieh Fu Hua, Chairman of NUS Board of Trustees; and Prof Tan Eng Chye, NUS President.
Most materials have fixed properties. For example, steel has a fixed strength, shape, and conductivity regardless of the environment it is in. However, emergent technologies need materials that can adapt, have memory functions, and have properties which change depending on the environment. These are FIMs, and they are crucial for artificial organs and tissues, smart membranes, smart batteries and catalysts, to name just a few.
“Currently, materials scientists can only describe the properties of materials when they are in energetic equilibrium. To describe dynamic, out-of-equilibrium properties of functional intelligent materials requires new approaches in physics, chemistry, biology, materials science, and engineering. That is the goal of I-FIM,” said Prof Sir Novoselov.
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