Materials of the Future

Event marks Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials’ 25th anniversary.

Experts from around the world will gather at the University of Wollongong (UOW) this week to discuss the latest developments and future directions of materials science, chemistry and physics at the 2019 International Symposium on Future Materials.

The Symposium is hosted by UOW’s Institute for Superconducting and Electronic Materials (ISEM) from Thursday 31 January to Friday 1 February.

The international materials science community will also use the gathering as an opportunity to celebrate ISEM’s 25th anniversary.

Materials science is an interdisciplinary field concerned with the properties of matter and the design and discovery of new and useful materials. It includes elements of physics, chemistry, biology and engineering, including metallurgy, chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering.

Professor Xiaolin Wang, Chair of the Symposium, Node Director for ARC Centre for Future Low Electronics Technologies and Associate Director of ISEM, said the Symposium will feature 120 speakers from four continents covering a spectrum of the latest and most interesting research underway in materials science. More than 250 delegates are expected to attend.

It will include presentations on a diverse range of topics including: functional materials; energy materials; superconducting materials; emergent materials physics and chemistry; electronic and optical materials; biomaterials; nanomaterials; interface science; and simulation and modelling.

Highlights of the Symposium include talks by Professor Qikun Xue, Vice President for Research at Tsinghua University, and by Professor Jun Chen, an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Professor at Nankai University.

Professor Xue is an internationally renowned condensed matter physicist, known for his breakthrough research on topological insulators and superconducting materials. He is also a Partner Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Future Low-Energy Electronics Technology (FLEET) with Professor Wang and many other speakers at the Symposium.

Professor Chen was one of the first PhD graduates from ISEM and has developed a body of world-class research in innovative energy materials resulting in more than 30 patents and over 370 peer-reviewed journal articles.

Distinguished Professor Shi Xue DouISEM Director and founder Distinguished Professor Shi Xue Dou. Photos: Paul Jones, UOW


Now regarded as one of the world’s premier materials science institutes, ISEM was founded in 1994 by Distinguished Professor Shi Xue Dou to conduct research and stimulate the technological and commercial development of superconducting and electronic materials science and technology.

Over the past 25 years, ISEM has produced more than 180 PhD graduates and more than 200 alumni, now spread widely throughout academia and industry over five continents. Collectively, ISEM researchers have published more than 2,900 papers, and secured more than $72 million in funding.

“What started as a small cadre of enthusiastic and creative materials science researchers and students has now turned into an internationally-renowned research institute, and one of the flagship research strengths at the University,” said Professor Dou, Director of ISEM.

“ISEM leadership and culture is to motivate researchers to their highest level by providing opportunities without interference – the sky is the limit at ISEM. It is this research freedom that has resulted in the academic excellence that ISEM has been able to achieve.”

In its 25 years, ISEM has made an impressive contribution to UOW’s research output, and has built a collaborative network of more than 100 research institutions around the world. At the same time, ISEM has placed great importance on working with industry to translate that research into commercial products.

ISEM currently has seven research programs – superconductors and devices; energy materials and storage, spintronics and electronic materials, condensed matter physics, thin film technology; advanced materials; and biomaterials.

The end products of the Institute’s research include advanced batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage; superconductors (materials that have no resistance to the flow of electricity) for electrical and medical devices; innovative materials that can help convert waste heat in automobiles or industrial plants into electricity; developing spintronic materials for use in electronics and information technology.

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