ERC Consolidator Grant for Engineering Smart Materials

Friday 01 December 2017

Professor Jin-Chong Tan (photo: Ian Taylor)Jin-Chong Tan (Associate Professor of Engineering Science and Tutor in Engineering Science) has been awarded a five-year European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant of €2.4 million. This year, the ERC has evaluated 2,538 research proposals, out of which 13% have been funded.  

With this generous support from the EU, Professor Tan will be establishing an exciting new field at the cutting-edge of advanced materials: ’PROMOFS: Nanoengineering and Processing of Metal-Organic Framework Composites for Photonic Sensors’. More precisely, this ambitious project will make possible the design and fabrication of fine-scale porous materials with bespoke physical and chemical properties, to afford disruptive photonics sensing technology. The potential applications of smart photonic sensors will be vast, ranging from non-invasive medical and healthcare diagnostics to environmental monitoring, and from food safety to civil security safeguarding against biological and chemical threats.

Professor Tan explains: ‘I am thrilled, because this EU grant will enable us to set up a state-of-the-art atomic force microscope (AFM) with advanced nanospectroscopy capabilities. This will be the first of its kind in the country! We will use this AFM nanospectrometer to perform in-depth measurements of new materials, at the very fine scale. Understanding and controlling materials response at the atomic level is central to the engineering of successful devices for real-world applications.’

Professor Tan leads the Multifunctional Materials & Composites Lab in the Department of Engineering Science at Oxford. Jointly with the industry, his research group has developed and patented innovative MOF-based materials technology for commercialisation.