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Interinstitutional research focuses on ferroic materials

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Published on Thursday, 21 January 2021

Advanced Materials are among the important Key Enabling Technologies (KET), which are critical drivers and accelerators to allow European industries to retain competitiveness. With fascinating chemical and physical properties, new advanced materials have the potential to introduce new functionalities and improved properties to new products. As an example, advanced materials are the basis of sensors, which are ubiquitous in our modern society, more broadly speaking, of the Internet of Things.

Both, the University of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), have an internationally recognised expertise in Materials Science, which is today one of the fields of excellence of Luxembourg’s research and technology. Based on this, the two main actors of public Research in Luxembourg have decided to join forces to take full advantage of their complementary expertise by creating Luxembourg’s first interinstitutional research group (IRG): Multifunctional Ferroic Materials. The IRG is one of the instruments of the recently signed bilateral agreement between the University and LIST to foster synergistic collaborations in research and education, namely doctoral education.

The mission of this IRG is to conduct cutting-edge research on multifunctional ferroic materials, which present multiple physical properties such as magnetism, ferroelectricity or ferroelasticity.  Because of their many interesting properties, multifunctional ferroic materials are considered to be ‘smart’ materials. The IRG has a particular interest in understanding the interplay of such different physical properties in smart materials. As a matter of fact, the interactions - called coupling - between multiple properties are the very basis of modern transducers, devices that convert energy from one form into another.

The University of Luxembourg and the LIST share a common history and scientific interest in research on functionality of materials. The cornerstones were laid in the collaboration and joint project within the FNR PEARL project “Coupling in Multifunctional Ferroic Materials”. The IRG is based on a research program of common interests that focuses on lead-free ferroic materials, which are more environmental-friendly than the current industrial lead-based materials, and on the effect of light on such multifunctional materials.

“Our institutions have a common ambition in Materials Science: further developing Luxembourg into an internationally renowned centre of excellence in research and innovation, with benefit for the country. An interinstitutional research group is the ideal instrument to take full advantage of our synergies to make this ambition a reality. The future co-location of the group in a new building in Belval will provide further leverage.” says Prof. Jens Kreisel, Vice-Rector for Research of the University, himself a Materials Physicist.

“This bilateral agreement is a new element which will accelerate the speed and agility of Luxembourg's innovation eco-system,” states Dr. Thomas Kallstenius, CEO of LIST. “Teaming the complementarity of the roles with the partnership models of the University and our research organisation, is without any doubt a major asset to serve our partners and the society in the best possible way.”