What is ACES?
The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science
(ACES) comprises currently of six research organisations, whose common goal is
to explore electromaterials and how they can be applied to the way we live. Established in
2005, ACES expands on the research program of the ARC Centre for Nanostructured
Electromaterials and draws together researchers from a range of disciplines, including
biologists, clinicians, chemists, physicists and engineers.
Each of the six nodes possesses key research strengths, which, when combined with one another and developments in nanotechnology, will revolutionise the way we look at materials. The University of Wollongong competencies lie in the design and synthesis of novel intelligent materials. The Intelligent Polymer Research Institute (IPRI) is renowned for expertise in the electrochemistry of organic conductors; especially in the applications of artificial muscles, photovoltaics, batteries, and biomedical applications . The Institute for Superconducting & Electronic Materials (ISEM) is part of the energy program within ACES looking at new materials for energy storage, including the design and composition and batteries.
Monash University’s Ionic Liquids group investigates the preparation and characterisation of ionic liquids and other types of ionic materials for a range of applications in electrochemistry – including corrosion monitoring and green corrosion inhibitors, green chemistry, solar cells, batteries and biotechnology . Monash brings modelling expertise to the Centre, as well as the development and utilisation of powerful nano-characterisation tools.
The biotechnology expertise is reinforced with partner nodes, St Vincents Health and La Trobe University via the Centre for Bionic Ear and Neurosensory Research, both of which are located in Melbourne. Focusing on next generation biological research, Centre partners work together on interfacing biology and electronics, and developing biocompatible materials for surgical implants and a wide range of medical devices.
Research is conducted through joint projects, with combined research meetings, training workshops and exchange of research personnel between the nodes. A research program on the ethical implications of novel electromaterials including new energy conversion/storage devices (e.g. wearables) and bionics is also included. Of particular interest is the impact of research into nanostructured electromaterials for use in/on human bodies to alleviate disease and enhance human capacities and the social forces shaping these developments. This ethics expertise is through collaboration with the University of Tasmania.
Deakin University is the newest partner within ACES engaged in research into Electromaterials and Corrosion Sciences within the Institutes for Technology and Research Innovation (ITRI).
The Centre is funded by the Australian Research Council with $12 million in federal funding over the first five years and a further $7.7 million funding from July 2010 until December 2013. The nature of this research program; material developments, energy conversion and storage, and bionics and ethics will provide Australian industries with innovative technologies to the benefit of the Australian economy. ACES also receives support from the NSW Department of State & Regional Development to achieve technology transfer to NSW and Australian industry.
Through the investigation of new nanomaterials and new theories to explain their behaviour ACES will tackle some of the biggest challenges facing society, such as renewable energy (plastic solar cells, lightweight batteries and electronic textiles), and sustainable industries (which would benefit from advances in the recovery of precious metals and new corrosion protection technologies) as well as advance medical science through the regeneration of damaged nerves (eg in spinal injury) and the development of artificial muscles.