Geoffry Ozin - P-Ink and Elast-Ink lab to market
A notable trend these days amongst academics, especially in the fields of information technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology, is the increasing tendency to transfer the fruits of their research into the marketplace. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the globally burgeoning and highly competitive area of nanotechnology. Particularly interesting is the large number of spin-off companies now emerging from universities all racing to develop, manufacture and commercialize nanotechnology based on the potential of a cornucopia of new nanomaterials in diverse areas from electronics to photonics, biometrics to cancer therapy. In this lecture I will present a personal account of some of our recent research in the area of photonic crystals that has evolved over the last ten years from a laboratory curiosity to two new nanotechnology platforms, affectionately called P-Ink and Elast-Ink. These nanotechnology platforms are both founded on active color tuning of opals, a capability that provides electrical and mechanical access to materials with any visible color you want, including the invisible ultraviolet and near infrared wavelength range. P-Ink is made of a metallopolymer opal gel that reversibly swells and shrinks with application and removal of a voltage. Elast-Ink is made of an elastomeric opal that undergoes reversible dimensional changes on applying and removing a mechanical force. P-Ink and Elast-Ink actively tuned opals show considerable promise for the development of new generation of full color displays, smart color adjustable coatings, battery state-of-health fuel gauges, banknote anti-counterfeit devices, product authentification labels and biometric security systems.