The National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) Bio-Inspired Materials was launched in June 2014. Its vision is to establish an internationally recognized hub for smart materials research, education, and innovation. Its home institution is the University of Fribourg, with the Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and Zurich (ETHZ) joining as participating institutions. Its operations team is based the Adolphe Merkle Institute, an interdisciplinary and independent center at the University of Fribourg that focuses on research and education in the domain of soft nanomaterials.
The overarching scientific goals of the NCCR are:
- to take inspiration from natural materials to establish design rules and strategies for the creation of macromolecular and nanomaterial-based building blocks and their assembly into complex, hierarchically ordered stimuli-responsive materials with new and desirable properties;
- develop a predictive understanding for the interactions of such materials with living cells;
- and use the generated knowledge to develop innovative applications.
The NCCR seeks collaboration partners who are willing to provide insights into their materials challenges, are interested in novel solutions from nano- to micro- to macroscopic sizes, and are interested in finding new ideas for new products.
In specific, we have developed novel sensor materials, adhesives that debond-on-demand with light or heat, 3D-printed novel materials, materials that change color when stretched, microencapsulation techniques and services, nanomaterial characterization, various diagnostic solutions and more.
Research is organized in four modules that focus on:
- mechanically responsive materials across different length scales;
- biologically inspired assembly of optical materials;
- responsive bio-interfaces and surfaces;
- and the dynamics of interacting cell-materials systems.
We support our spinoffs:
www.spectroplast.ch (3D printing of silicones)
www.nanolockin.com (products and services for nanoparticle detection and characterization)
www.microcaps.ch (microencapsulation services)
www.fenx.ch (building insulation from ash)