Multifunctional Materials Design: highlights of 2021 and aspirations for 2022

Overview of our research group's achievements in the previous year and plans for the current year.
Colorful pattern


2021 was a busy and productive year for Multifunctional Materials Design. Our research group diversified a lot and moved to new interesting areas. Let's look at some of the most significant highlights of the past year.

  1. Many of our big projects were launched: ModelCom in January, Beyond e-Textiles in May, WEARSENSNANO in June and EARMetal in September.
  2. Other projects continued to expand their research efforts (SUBSTAINABLE, SUPER-WEAR, FinnCERES-funded research).
  3. When the coronavirus situation allowed, we were able to get together and participate in group activities: 'Summer Get-together' in August and 'MMD pre-Xmas event' in November. Moreover, we were able to hold group meetings in person towards the end of the year.
  4. In June, our group members took part in the CHEM Research Day which was organized for the first time by the School of Chemical Engineering.
  5. MMD Summer Pilot project was carried out to make the most of the research work and other activities in the summertime.
  6. Journal Club meetings were introduced in summer and continue to be held online on a weekly basis.
  7. International guests gave presentations at a series of online lectures during our group meetings. These Colloquium sessions will continue in 2022.
  8. Two iterative workshops took place as part of the Nordic network on smart light-conversion textiles beyond electric circuits (Beyond e-Textiles / NordForsk): the first one was hosted by the Aalto team online (due to coronavirus restrictions), the second one was organized by the Turku team as a 2-day event at the University of Turku.
  9. After the second iterative workshop, we were able to welcome our Nordic partners during their visit to Aalto University.
  10. The ModelCom project team presented their research work to Aalto Bachelor's students.
  11. Our group became part of AaltoTEXTILES network.
  12. In the domain of public outreach and communications, webpages of all our research projects were launched.
  13. In late 2021, we initiated the process of Research Data Management in relation to our research data and other internal materials.
  14. And last but not least, our research output: overall 14 publications were published or accepted for publication in high impact scientific journals during the previous year! To highlight some of them:  
    -"Plant-Based Structures as an Opportunity to Engineer Optical Functions in Next-Generation Light Management" in Advanced Materials;
    -"Textile integrable mechanochromic strain sensor based on the interplay of supramolecular interactions" in Materials & Design;
    -"Multiscale Hierarchical Surface Patterns by Coupling Optical Patterning and Thermal Shrinkage" in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.


Plans for 2022: “How do we see potential directions for the development of Multifunctional Materials Design in the near future?”

Head of the group, prof. Jaana Vapaavuori: "Year 2022 opens new horizons – one of the most important being the possibility to organize more in-person ideation and co-creation events. The strong scientific contributions we made during 2021 create a great base to keep extending the limits of our current understanding – whether it relates to plant virus templates for patterned nanomaterials, new ways of making a textile to actuate or developing completely biomaterial-based energy devices. I am excited about the unexpected links emerging between seemingly different research topics – especially those that still today would be unimaginable, one way or another. By the end of the year, we will be wiser, but the fun part is that we don’t yet know how."

Professor Jaana Vapaavuori

By the end of the year, we will be wiser, but the fun part is that we don’t yet know how.

Prof. Jaana Vapaavuori, leader of the MMD research group

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