The Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge is coordinating a new European Commission-funded project on fibre-based e-textiles entitled 1D Nanofibre Electro-Optic Networks (1D-NEON), which involves 14 partners from the UK and Europe in a 4-year innovation action activity with the purpose to mature technologies from Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 (technology validated in lab) to TRL 6 (technology demonstrated in relevant environment). It is funded through the H2020 NMP (Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials and Production ) 2014-2015 call, under Topic 22, “Fibre-based materials for non-clothing applications”.
The project coordinator Prof. Jong Min Kim said: “I have seen this field evolving in the last decade and feel that timing is opportune to bring this wonderful innovation to the market and to the community. I have the privilege to lead this unique consortium which is poised to revolutionise electronics manufacturing and bring added value to the field of technical textiles.”
Professor Kim is Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Department. Prior to his arrival at Cambridge, he was Professor at Oxford University and Senior Vice President of Samsung Electronics and SAIT in charge of leading innovations including organic light-emitting diode and quantum dot displays, fibre electronics and graphene technologies.
Dr Luigi G. Occhipinti, Exploitation and Business Development Manager and work-package leader for Exploitation and Dissemination, said: “The 1D-NEON project represents a unique opportunity to bring innovation in technical textiles by embedding electronic, sensing and energy functionalities into active fibres. The new manufacturing platform will use processes widely adopted by the textile industry, from multi-layered fibre extrusion to weaving, knitting or braiding techniques, in order to make circuits and multifunctional systems that are intrinsically flexible and stretchable.”
Dr Occhipinti is a member of the Department of Engineering and is also the National Outreach Manager of the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics. Prior to that he was Senior Group Manager and Director of R&D Programs in Flexible and Disposable Electronics at the global semiconductor company STMicroelectronics, leading multidisciplinary research teams in Italy, Singapore and France, as well as public-funded projects and strategic R&D initiatives.
Professor Arokia Nathan, a work-package leader in 1D-NEON for Design and Modelling, said: “This project represents a stepping stone to bring further innovation on e-textiles for the University of Cambridge and the UK. We are looking to establish a strong network in the UK to support the field and work with other centres of excellence in the UK and with the textile industry to provide the UK with yet another opportunity to become world leader in the field of e-textiles for smart wearables.”
Professor Nathan holds the Chair of Photonic Systems and Displays in the Department of Engineering. He leads a multi-disciplinary research group whose primary focus is on the heterogeneous integration of materials and processes, sensors, energy harvesting and storage devices including wireless power, signal processing and radio frequency wireless communications pertinent to wearable systems.
About the 1D-NEON consortium
The 1D-NEON consortium is composed by the University of Cambridge – Engineering Department, Electrical Engineering Division (Coordinating partner), the University of Oxford – Department of Engineering Science, and SILVACO Europe Ltd in the UK, UNINOVA - Instituto de Desenvolvimiento de Novas Tecnologias Associacao and the Centre for Nanotechnology and Smart Materials Associacao (CenTI) in Portugal, Fundació EURECAT and RELATS SA in Spain, SOLVAY Specialty Polymers, SAATI S.p.A. and BioAge S.r.l. in Italy, Textilforschungsinstitut Thüringen Vogtland e.V. (TITV Greiz), HENKEL KGaA and LG DISPLAY GmbH in Germany, and PHILIPS Lighting B.V. in Netherlands.
The total estimated project cost is € 9.1 million and is funded by the European Commission (EC) with € 8 million under the call H2020-NMP-22-2015 GA No. 685758, with start date on 1st April 2016 and a duration of 48 months.
About the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics
The EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics is a partnership between four UK academic Centres of Excellence in Large-Area-Electronics (LAE) at the University of Cambridge (Cambridge Innovation and Knowledge Centre, CIKC), Imperial College London (Centre for Plastic Electronics, CPE), Swansea University (Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating, WCPC) and the University of Manchester (Organic Materials Innovation Centre, OMIC. The EPSRC Centre was created to work with industry to address key manufacturing research challenges enabling us to meet end-user needs for multifunctional large-area electronic systems that include sensors, power generation and storage, signal processing and logic elements, and output capability through information display or by wireless transmission.