Research that benefits society
Our researchers work at the atomic and molecular level to develop pioneering applications in fields such as electricity generation, energy storage, information technology and medicine. This combination of technical skills, scientific discoveries and partnerships with the private and public sectors pave the way for technological innovations that help improve people’s lives.
Further down the page is a selection of examples that show how our research is contributing to sustainable development, improving quality of life or enriching our culture.
Some current innoavtion projects
Get some insights into the innovation projects being developed within the Department of Materials Science and Engineering! We present here a selection of projects where new solutions to benefit society are taking shape out of research and education.
Micro-sensor for localising sources of pain – Improved diagnosis of chronic pain
Professor Ken Welch is leading a project where academics and industry partners are jointly developing a microsensor to localise and identify sources of chronic pain. The benefits that the project will bring include the development of a medical device available to clinicians to help them locate the source of and diagnose chronic musculoskeletal pain, which is difficult or impossible to do today.
Organic batteries – Built-in sustainability
Sustainable energy storage is in high demand. Our researchers have therefore developed a fully organic proton battery that can be recharged in seconds. The battery can be charged and discharged more than 500 times without any significant loss of capacity. Because many of the batteries manufactured today have a significant environmental impact, in particular due to the mining of the metals used in them, the starting point for their research has been to develop a battery made out of elements that are commonly found in the natural environment and can be used to create organic battery materials. Their proton battery is a major step towards producing sustainable organic batteries in the future.
Glass-ceramics for dental applications – Inventing the future of dental implants
Professor Håkan Engqvist and Associate Professor Wei Xia have developed a new glass-ceramic material for dental implants that combines high mechanical strength with attractive aesthetic properties. This allows dentists to make thinner and more durable constructions, where they currently have to compromise between strength and aesthetics.
More examples of innovation and societal benefits
Uppsala University integrating into solar energy research
Marika Edoff, Professor and director for the Division of Solar Cell Technology will become the coordinator of Uppsala University’s new centre of excellence for solar energy, research – SOLVE. The ambition is for more widespread use of solar energy in Sweden. SOLVE will begin operations during January 2022.
Major new research programme on materials of the future
Uppsala University is among the higher education institutions jointly embarking on a big new materials research programme aimed at improving scope for a sustainable society. The programme is to be funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.
Robotic textiles for everything from breathing recovery to feeling surfaces in Space
Imagine an artificial fibre that can be programmed to contract and stretch just like human muscle fibres. Thin and flexible enough to be woven into a portable, robotic textile muscle, OmniFiber is the result of a collaboration between researchers at KTH, MIT Media Lab and Uppsala University.
Designing tomorrow’s human spare parts
Age, injury or disease: regardless of the cause, there is a growing need for treatments to replace bone and other body parts. Researchers at Uppsala University are using 3D printers to develop tomorrow’s biomaterials.
Degree project about declaring climate impact from buildings receives scholarship
A degree project about declaring climate impact from buildings by Agnes Östberg and Josefin Torgerssons receives an essay scholarship from Uppsala Municipality. The 10.000 kr scholarship is rewarded yearly to seven essays.
Total defense possible winner on 3D printing
3D-printed houses and personalized medicines printed at each hospital. And a big investment in 4D printing. Researchers now describe the rate of development in the field as "furious". The question is what will strike militarily?
Marika Edoff is interviewed about solar cell research in the UU research podcast
Marika Edoff belongs to the world elite in solar cell research, hear her talk about what is happening in the field right now and what research that is going on in her research group. Among other things, there is hope for an upcoming technological leap with so-called tandem solar cells. By combining cells of different materials that absorb light in different parts of the solar spectrum, one could increase the efficiency compared to today's solar cells by more than a third.
Uppsala researchers want to increase solar cell efficiency with the help of perovskites
Solar energy is an important weapon against climate change. The solar panels that exist today capture just over a fifth of the sun's radiation. Researchers at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering hope to be able to significantly increase efficiency with the help of the mineral perovskite.
Space technology working miracles in healthcare
A gas sensor that was designed to detect traces of life on Mars turned out to have just the right qualities for measuring blood gases in premature babies. Through Region Uppsala Innovation’s project with innovation hubs, researchers and entrepreneurs have been able to gain full insight into needs in healthcare and adapted their innovations to become useful solutions.
AM – the next step towards tomorrow’s healthcare
3D printing is so much more than just printing physical objects for fun. In Uppsala, there is research and collaboration between Uppsala University and industry going on which could play a crucial role in tomorrow’s healthcare and increase the chances of saving lives.
New method for searching for Earth-like planets
A new technique for reducing light interference during telescope observations enables imaging of earth-like planets in nearby solar systems. An international team of astronomers and physicists, including researchers from Uppsala University, have used a diamond coronagraph to look for planets in the solar system Alfa Centauri, just 4.4 light years away. The method has demonstrated promising results
Uppsala researchers developing flatworm-inspired robots as part of EU project
The EU project SOMIRO began at the turn of the year with the goal of developing technology that will help to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. The project is being coordinated by the Division of Microsystems Technology, where researchers are currently developing swimming, flatworm-inspired milli-robots.
Bioceramic implant starts regrowth of skull bones
Windows with nanostructured coatings can cure ‘sick’ buildings
Harmful organic molecules in the indoor air can cause adverse health effects—a problem known as the ‘sick building syndrome’. Current air-cleaning technologies require both energy and upkeep, but a promising new solution is being developed at Uppsala University—window glass with nanostructured coating based on titanium dioxide which uses sunlight to remove organic pollutants from indoor air by passing it between the inner panes of the window.
Innovation will improve care for chronic pain
Ken Welch, professor at the Department of Materials Science, has received funding from the innovation programs Swelife's and Medtech4Health's joint call "Collaboration project for better health" for a research project on chronic pain.
Shedding light on the energy capacity of materials
Tomas Edvinsson makes measurements of, among others, vibration energies in materials to understand and improve processes in new generations of solar cells and photocatalytic materials.