Leading molecular materials experts meet in Singapore to seed the next ‘big ideas’ for tackling energy, sustainability and health issues

In celebration of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) 2011, nearly 70 scientists from across the globe will speak at a two-day conference on research that can greatly impact technologies in health, lifestyle, high-value manufacturing and sustainability.

Low-cost, highly-efficient solar-energy harnessing devices, multi-functional ‘smart’ materials, and novel building materials that are lighter, more durable and use less resources to make, are all possible because of advances in molecular-materials studies. The Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) will host some of the top molecular-materials scientists for the inaugural Molecular Materials Meeting (M3). The conference is also the first major scientific event in Singapore that celebrates the UNESCO[1]-IUPAC[2] International Year of Chemistry (IYC) 2011[3] as chemistry and the multi-disciplinary molecular-materials fields are intertwined.

At the molecular level, materials can behave very differently from their bulk forms. Using this principle, molecular-materials research examines the structure, alignment of molecules and crystallinity of common materials, and alters them to produce new materials that often offer useful and unique properties. Molecular-materials research has been used in photonics, optoelectronics and data storage to create a slew of new technologies from ultra-high-density memory devices to super strong, lightweight composite materials for building cars and airplanes.

“Molecular-materials research is like ‘genetic modification’ for the physical sciences world”, said Prof Andy Hor, IMRE’s Executive Director, who also serves as President of the Singapore National Institute of Chemistry (SNIC). “We can harness changes to a material’s molecular structure to create new properties, and make old materials work in new ways for us!” An example of such R&D would be IMRE’s work on organic electronic materials where scientists have tweaked the molecular structure to produce new light-harvesting materials that are highly efficient at converting solar energy into electricity.

The 68 speakers for the conference will cover research topics that are focused on four main themes; Sustainable Materials, Materials for High-value Manufacturing, Health Technologies and Lifestyle Materials. Plenary speakers for the conference include Prof Allan S Hoffman from the University of Washington, USA who is known for his work in using polymers for medical applications, and Prof Samuel Stupp from Northwestern University, USA whose work in materials for regenerative medicine, cancer therapies and solar energy technology had earned him a listing in the ‘Scientific American 50 Leaders Shaping the Future of Technology’.

Chemistry provides a means for researchers to interact with, modify, and create new materials at the atomic and molecular level. The borderless nature of molecular materials research combines chemistry with other burgeoning fields of research. The aim is to produce better materials and advanced devices to solve the difficult problems of energy, sustainability, and health.

The inaugural Molecular Materials Meeting @ Singapore conference will be held on 10 and 11 January 2011 at Level 4, Matrix Building at Biopolis, Singapore.


[1] United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
[2] International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)
[3] IYC 2011, with the theme "Chemistry - Our Life, Our Future", recognises the achievements of chemistry, and its contributions to humankind.

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For media enquiries, please contact:
Mr Eugene Low
Manager, Corporate Communications
for Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)
3, Research Link
Singapore 117602
DID +65 6874 8491
Mobile +65 9230 9235
Email [email protected]

For technical enquiries, please contact:
Dr Joel Yang
Research Engineer
Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)
3, Research Link
Singapore 117602
DID +65 6874 8385
Email [email protected]

Encl. Annex A: A*STAR Corporate Profiles
Annex B: About the Molecular Materials Meeting @ Singapore

Annex A – A*STAR Corporate Profiles
About the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)
Established in September 1997, IMRE has built strong capabilities in materials analysis, characterisation, materials growth, patterning, fabrication, synthesis and integration. IMRE is an institute of talented researchers equipped with state-of-the-art facilities such as the SERC Nanofabrication and Characterisation Facility to conduct world-class materials science research. Leveraging on these capabilities, R&D programmes have been established in collaboration with industry partners. These include research on organic solar cells, nanocomposites, flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), solid-state lighting, nanoimprinting, microfluidics and next generation atomic scale interconnect technology. For more information about IMRE, please visit www.imre.a-star.edu.sg

About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation-driven Singapore. A*STAR oversees 14 biomedical sciences, and physical sciences and engineering research institutes, and seven consortia & centres, which are located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, as well as their immediate vicinity.

A*STAR supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry. It also supports extramural research in the universities, hospitals, research centres, and with other local and international partners. For more information about A*STAR, please visit www.a-star.edu.sg.

Annex B - About the Molecular Materials Meeting @ Singapore

This international meeting is convened to commemorate IYC 2011 by providing a forum for frontiers and rising stars in the field of molecular materials to discuss their BIG IDEAS in the intersecting area between materials and chemistry and related developments in other scientific and technological arena.

Under the theme of molecular materials, we welcome not only chemists and materials scientists, but also leading researchers of other related fields such as physics, biology, medicine, engineering etc. with the intention of developing cross-disciplinary and collaborative research ideas. We expect to share your big ideas, and in return, we expect bigger ideas to emerge from this meeting.

For more information and the conference programme, please visit the “M3 Conf” tab on IMRE’s website at http://www.imre.a-star.edu.sg.

Published: 10 Jan 2011

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