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Nanomaterials and advanced characterization


Recent advances and challenges in chemical synthesis and solution processing of advanced inorganic nanomaterials

The symposium provides a platform and a discussion forum for researchers and students working in the field of chemical synthesis and processing of inorganic (nano)materials, with emphasis on novel syntheses routes, scale-up of (nano)material synthesis, design of functional nanoscale architectures, and their utilization in emerging energy, health and environmental applications.


The world is facing a number of global societal challenges for which no overarching solutions are available or implemented yet: think of reduction of global CO2 emissions, the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy conversion & storage technologies, the development of green processes and recyclable materials using earth-abundant elements for a sustainable economy, or the ageing of populations in developed countries and the health issues related to that.

A key requirement to overcome or contribute substantially to each of the above challenges is the successful development of new functional materials. Novel inorganic materials are needed for emerging energy harvesting & storage technologies, carbon capture and utilization schemes, biomedical & health applications, electronics and sensing, to name just a few. The production methods with which these future materials are to be produced should have the potential for large- to massive-scale, yet flexible, production, while employing sustainable, green synthesis methods and cost-effective processing technologies at the same time. In light of these considerations, chemical solution-based processing methods, also known as “wet chemistry” routes, have gained renewed interest by the scientific community and industry. Chemical synthesis and solution processing of inorganic (nano)materials are generally acknowledged to be highly flexible in terms of precursor composition, targeted substrate and processing procedures, often at ambient pressure and temperature, and thus can be faster and less expensive than gas based deposition routes while providing materials with matching or even superior properties.

Significant advances have been made in recent years, yet various scientific challenges remain: for example, the development of low-temperature crystallization pathways and green processing routes, realization of high throughput synthesis of nanocrystals, self-assembly of nanoparticles, -rods, and –platelets into functional assemblies using solution processing, and the optimization of the microstructure towards the targeted area of application on multiple length scales. In all cases, a thorough understanding of the relation between the solution chemistry, deposition process, and final solid-state properties are key to achieving high performance, irrespective of the targeted application. Advanced characterization tools are often indispensable to understand the formation and function of materials derived via chemical synthesis routes.

Hot topics to be covered by the symposium:

  • Nanocrystal formation & crystallization pathways
  • Unconventional, low temperature & green chemical synthesis
  • Microstructural characterization, electron microscopy, synchrotron, operando methods
  • Sol-gel, hydrothermal/solvothermal, coprecipitation, hot injection, mini- and microemulsion, polymer-assisted, photo-assisted synthesis, etc.
  • Colloidal nanocrystals, nanoparticles, nanofibers, nanorods, 2D materials,…
  • Multilayers, hierarchical materials, porous materials, …
  • Solution-derived epitaxial films
  • Ink jet printing, 3D printing, imprinting
  • Innovative thin film processing methods
  • High-throughput processing, scale-up
  • Solution-derived materials for energy harvesting & storage, carbon capture and utilization
  • Solution-derived materials for biomedical applications & health, electronics and sensing

List of invited speakers (confirmed):

  • Lourdes Calzada (ICMM-CSIC)
  • David Grosso (Aix-Marseille Univ) 
  • Katharina Landfester (Max Planck Institute)
  • Raffaella Buonsanti (EPFL)
  • Jesus Santamaria Ramiro (Zaragoza University)
  • Peter Wick (EMPA)
  • Markus Niederberger (ETH Zürich)
  • Bettina Lotsch (Max Planck Institute)
  • Elvira Fortunato (New University of Lisbon)
  • Nicola Pinna (Humboldt University)
  • Ali Abou-Hassan (Sorbonne University)
  • Eduard Saiz Gutierrez (Imperial College London)
  • Bernd Smarsly (University of Giessen)
  • Sanjay Mathur (University of Cologne)
  • Monica Lira-Cantú (Catalan Institute of Nanoscience & Nanotechnology ICN2)
  • Karen de Clerck (Ghent University)
  • Richard Walton (University of Warwick)

List of scientific committee members:

  • Marlies van Bael (University of Hasselt)
  • Barbara Malic (Jozef Stefan Institute)
  • Thomas Palstra (University of Twente)
  • Torsten Brezesinski (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)
  • Yong Lei (Technical University Ilmenau)
  • Silvie Begin (University of Strasbourg)
  • Guido Kickelbick (Saarland University)
  • Susagna Ricart (ICMAB-CSIC)
  • Monica Lira Cantu (ICN2


The Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology (Springer) will publish the proceedings of the symposium as a special issue and manuscripts will undergo the normal peer review process.

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Symposium organizers
An HARDYHasselt University

Institute for Materials Research Inorganic and Physical Chemistry and IMEC division IMOMEC Martelarenlaan 42 3500 Hasselt Belgium

+32 11 268308
Johan E. TEN ELSHOF (Main)University of Twente

MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands

+31 53 489 2695

Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona Campus UAB E-08193 Bellaterra, Catalonia Spain

+34 93 5801853
Silvia GROSSUniversità degli Studi di Padova

Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche - Via Francesco Marzolo, 1, 35131- Padova, Italy

+39 049 8275736