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The preparation of nano-scale building-blocks with well-defined properties and surface characteristics is a key requirement for their successful assembly into functional hierarchial structures.

It is generally accepted that by improving control over the synthesis and assembly of nanoparticle building blocks it will be possible to produce materials with tailored and predictable properties. Futhermore, by incorporating hierarchial control into the assembly - through type, size and spatial distribution of the NPs - it will be possible to improve materials properties and performance and develop new functionalities.

UNION will assess the influence of order on properties, and will develop applications of the NPC's in suspension (bio-medical), in 2D arrays (optical), and in 3D arrays or nanocomposities (thermoelectric).


The main goal of UNION is to develop nanoparticle (NP) assembly techniques, and assembly monitoring technologies to prepare novel hierarchically-ordered nanoparticle clusters (NPCs), with unique emergent properties and scale targeted towards selected application areas.

  • Design and develop cost-effective, versatile and general bottom-up strategies for the controlled organization and massive integration of magnetic/fluorescent/plasmonic or thermoelectric-related NPs of varying size, morphology and composition into hierarchically ordered nanoparticle clusters.
  • Evaluate these clusters for potential biomedical applications and to construct functional structures (arrays) at different application relevant size scales for optical / lightinh and thermoelectric (TE) applications.
  • Design and develop in-line assembly monitoring technologies to control the dimensional and structural evolution of the NPCs/arrays and the scalability of the assembly process.
  • Elaborate, develop and apply assembly models in order to identify and gain insight into the design principles governing the higher order organization of the above building-blocks.
  • Control and tune the hierarchical structure and dimensions of the above clusters and arrays in order to optimize the quality of their opto-magnetic or TE properties.
  • Develop magnetic/optical and magnetic/lipidic hierarchical NPCs for medium-term industrialisation of breakthrough optical/MRI diagnostics and MRI-trackable delivery vehicles.
  • Develop 2D-arrays of hierarchical plasmonic/fluorescent NPCs for sensing and lighting applications.
  • To develop TE materials with high figures of merit to improve the performance of current devices for medium term industrialization of energy conversion and harvesting devices with superior characteristics.
  This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 310250.
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© UNION 2013