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Important new functional 3D devices including soft robotic limbs and solar fuel devices will be developed in a new world center for 3D Electromaterials based at the University of Wollongong.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) has received $25million as a new ARC Centre of Excellence to further develop their work on smart nano-materials, to now create 3D devices with advanced capabilities over their 2D counterparts. The resulting technology breakthroughs will have a direct impact on existing industries for batteries, solar cells and medical implants.

Long term aims of the center include development of systems that will have profound implications for advances in materials development, energy conversion/storage, systems that interact with living tissue and soft robotics. Among the planned applications are a 3D robotic prosthetic hand with a neural interface system and a solar fuel device that will use the sun to convert carbon dioxide into a fuel.

ACES Executive Director Professor Gordon Wallace said the ACES vision is to create the preeminent world center for electromaterials science.

“We are well placed to take a global leadership position in 3D electromaterials science and to use this knowledge to create new industries for Australia,” Professor Wallace said.

The new center will combine research strengths from across six countries including five new international partner organizations, bringing together leading experts in materials, modelling, fabrication and device development. 

Joining UOW, Deakin University, University of Tasmania and Monash University are The University of Melbourne, The Australian National University, Dublin City University, University of Warwick UK, Friedrich Alexander University of Erlangen Nuremberg, Hanyang University Korea and Yokohama National University.

Advanced customized 3D fabrication equipment and engineering expertise will enable the transition from fundamental research to a workable 3D product.  All applications will be looked at by an Ethics, Policy and Public Engagement program.

ACES will also implement a new program to ensure the development of globally recognized PhD graduates with multidisciplinary skills including business development and community engagement.

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