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Smart nano-structured devices hierarchically assembled by bio-mineralization processes (SMILEY)
Start date: Dec 1, 2012, End date: Nov 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"SMILEY aims to develop and apply a ""bottom-up"" approach to build nano-structured devices with smart multi-functional properties: bio-mineralization, self-assembly, self-organization are an ensemble of concomitant phenomena, inspired by nature, that will be properly directed to generate elementary nano-sized building blocks organized in macroscopic devices for application in EHS (Environment, Health, Safety) Biomedical and Energy fields. SMILEY will exploit the ability of such a cascade of biologically-inspired processes to form complex hybrid nano-composites, starting from abundant and environmentally safe raw materials such as natural polymers and fibres, whose characteristics and organization are mediated by the activation of control mechanisms and structural confinement conferring defined functionalities to the final devices. The processes of self-assembling and mineralization, scaled at pilot plant, will be directed and adjusted to obtain 3-D porous hybrid nano-composites to be used as: i) filters for air purification from nano-particles; ii) biomedical devices exhibiting high mimesis with human hard tissues, addressed to dental regeneration; iii) fibrous integrated photovoltaic devices. The control mechanisms inherent in the whole process will allow to establish a technological platform based on highly repeatable, scalable and cost-effective technology for the manufacturing of multi-functional devices with huge economic, environmental and social impact. This will also represent a proof of concept for further development of smart devices obtained by biologically-inspired self-assembling processes; in this respect, roadmaps addressing wider industrial exploitation will be prepared, basing on the knowledge gained in the development of SMILEY."

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