NANO-ENGINEERING FLAGSHIP

the omni-connected society is happening

About the NANO-ENGINEERING FLAGSHIP

The Nano-Engineering vision

The Nano-Engineering Flagship aims to achieve a new ICT vision of Omni-connectivity through the creation of cognitive Nano-engineered Interfaces (NaI).  It relies on the idea that properly controlling nanoscales, and in particular the simultaneous handling of time, size and frequencies, is key in designing and delivering the next generation of interconnected objects and systems from nano- to human scale.

Omni-connectivity is defined as encompassing real-time communication, sensing, monitoring, and data processing among people, objects, and their environment by using the full frequency spectrum. It is made possible by the cognitive Nano-engineered Interface (NaI), an ultra-thin, surface-based functional system, interacting with other NaI-networks and interfaces from local up to satellite communications. NaI will be applicable to literally any surface on any physical item and integrate a dramatic number of functionalities with real time data elaboration. It will lead to an unprecedented level of interaction, exponentially diversifying and increasing connections among humans, wearables, everyday objects, vehicles and their environment.

Way beyond the current ICT generation

The current ICT generation of Communications and Sensing systems relies on a large variety of platforms, systems, and functionalities, working at different frequencies and involving different materials and electronics while exploiting different wave phenomena. Conversely, the NaI concept provides a unifying approach. Exploiting recent dramatic advances in nano-fabrication, nano-materials, and nano-electronics, it has led to the implementation of a NaI as a complex hierarchical system integrating enhanced functionalities together with connection and elaboration capabilities at different scales (nano, micro, meso, etc.).

Being so complex and intelligent, NaIs are anticipated to boost the implementation of device-free omni-connectivity with discrete devices currently needed to make connection, sensing, monitoring, and data processing among people and objects to be replaced by functionalising cognitive skins, making the connections and interactions more natural and immediate.

Way beyond the current ICT generation

The current ICT generation of Communications and Sensing systems relies on a large variety of platforms, systems, and functionalities, working at different frequencies and involving different materials and electronics while exploiting different wave phenomena. Conversely, the NaI concept provides a unifying approach. Exploiting recent dramatic advances in nano-fabrication, nano-materials, and nano-electronics, it has led to the implementation of a NaI as a complex hierarchical system integrating enhanced functionalities together with connection and elaboration capabilities at different scales (nano, micro, meso, etc.).

Being so complex and intelligent, NaIs are anticipated to boost the implementation of device-free omni-connectivity with discrete devices currently needed to make connection, sensing, monitoring, and data processing among people and objects to be replaced by functionalising cognitive skins, making the connections and interactions more natural and immediate.

Fundamental S&T strategy: a unique and ground-breaking unifying approach

Turning the NaI concept into reality necessitates an extraordinary and long-term effort. This requires the integration of nanoelectronics, nanophotonics, nanophononics, nanospintronics, topological effects, as well as the physics and chemistry of materials. This also requires operations in an extremely broad range of science and technology, including Microwaves, Millimeter waves, TeraHertz, Infrared and Optics, and will exploit various excitations, such as surface waves, spin waves, phonons, electrons, photons, plasmons, and their hybrids, for sensing, information processing and storage. Integrating

This high level of integration, which goes beyond individual functionalities, components and devices and requires cooperation across a range of disciplines, makes the Nano Engineering Flagship unique in its approach. It will be crucial in tackling the 6 strategic challenges identified as:

  • Unifying the phenomenology of NaI systems, from microwaves, to THz and to optical frequencies
  • Bridging the gap between Quantum and EM modelling
  • Addressing extreme sub-wavelength systems on multiscale
  • Developing advanced artificial low-dimensional materials
  • Developing advanced nano-characterization techniques
  • Developing modules adding cognitive capabilities to the interface

Expected Impact

Transparent and non-invasive technology

The technology will become increasingly “unnoticeable” and simple to use, while remaining pervasive and effortless. In the future it will not be necessary to use key-boards, smart phones, PC or smart watches anymore. Through touching/sensing or voice commanding, the NaI will allow its users to get connected or to enable/disable functions. The physical and digital world will blend seamlessly and will be much less loaded with unwanted distractions. It will support interaction with computation through our full human and bodily capabilities such as walking, touching and signalling.

Transparent and non-invasive technology

Holographic cellular phone

Unprecedented integration of functionalitiesgy

NaI Augmented Reality contact lens

Unprecedented integration of functionalitiesgy

A huge number of micro- and nano-devices will be integrated onto a single interface, providing an unprecedented number of coexistent functionalities (as with sensing and actuation whose integration into a single NaI will lead to extraordinary developments in haptics and smart material actuators). By making possible the fusion of a huge amount of sensing information, possible dangerous situations will be anticipated and corrected (e.g, lack of driver’s responsiveness) or to identify global risks, such as urban pollution. Further, NaIs will have the ability to track how people interact with devices and communicate through their body movements, and therefore assist human behaviour interpretation (for both human-human and human-machine interaction).

Unprecedented integration of functionalitiesgy

A huge number of micro- and nano-devices will be integrated onto a single interface, providing an unprecedented number of coexistent functionalities (as with sensing and actuation whose integration into a single NaI will lead to extraordinary developments in haptics and smart material actuators). By making possible the fusion of a huge amount of sensing information, possible dangerous situations will be anticipated and corrected (e.g, lack of driver’s responsiveness) or to identify global risks, such as urban pollution. Further, NaIs will have the ability to track how people interact with devices and communicate through their body movements, and therefore assist human behaviour interpretation (for both human-human and human-machine interaction).

Unprecedented integration of functionalitiesgy

NaI Augmented Reality contact lens

Enhanced computation and cognition

Thanks to the extreme reconfigurability of the NaI network, new computation models (e.g. neuromorphic schemes) can be implemented, choosing the most suitable solution for a given computation task. Simple computation tasks will be performed by single NaIs and more complex tasks by NaI networks or remotely by clouds. Furthermore, NaIs will be connected to distributed computational networks performing a specific task in time by developing ad hoc cognitive capabilities through mutual dynamic reconfiguration.

Enhanced computation and cognition

Traffic avoidance control based on NaI network

Data protection

Security of data directly linked to a person’s DNA

Data protection

The striking potential of NaIs will be further enhanced by its ability to ensure both top security and personal privacy control. Due to the NaIs’ intrinsic nature, secure functions will be implemented naturally and used for real-time data cryptography. Operating at the nanoscale will benefit from the quantum properties with the creation of robust hardware modules, such as encryption/decryption key generators with high degree of randomness (e.g., spin- or photonic-based random generators). This security module will be the core of each NaI, linked to an intimate aspect of the NaI’s owner (a fusion of DNA, retina, for a person, the MAC address for a car).

Data protection

The striking potential of NaIs will be further enhanced by its ability to ensure both top security and personal privacy control. Due to the NaIs’ intrinsic nature, secure functions will be implemented naturally and used for real-time data cryptography. Operating at the nanoscale will benefit from the quantum properties with the creation of robust hardware modules, such as encryption/decryption key generators with high degree of randomness (e.g., spin- or photonic-based random generators). This security module will be the core of each NaI, linked to an intimate aspect of the NaI’s owner (a fusion of DNA, retina, for a person, the MAC address for a car).

Data protection

Security of data directly linked to a person’s DNA

Autonomy

Energy harvesting modules based on spintronics and other novel technologies will enable NaIs to harvest energy directly from their environment. NaIs will be automatically recharged by a certain movement or the heat of a person. NaIs applied to objects, such as cars or satellites, will be recharged by the actuation of breaks or the surrounding electromagnetic radiation. Power consumption of ICT will be reduced to the very minimum to reach 24/7 autonomy in the long-term.

Autonomy with NaI  energy harvesting

Autonomy with NaI energy harvesting

NANO ENGINEERING FLAGSHIP