Selected developments in materials research
The observation of developments in materials research is a central task of the TAV department's technology monitoring. Due to the wide-ranging spectrum of this topic, its heterogeneity, and the constantly rising industrial demand for the development of materials with new properties and for the opening of new fields of application, a variety of different trends can be identified. There is continuous progress e.g. in the improvement of different parameters in all material classes, in the cross-scale modeling and simulation of materials and their behavior under strain, and in new nature-inspired synthesis procedures. The increased use and differentiation of smart materials in applications should also be mentioned here. In addition to this, also real breakthroughs are consistently achieved in materials research. Since recently, there exist two new material classes whose realization had not even been imaginable for a long time: so-called metamaterials, which feature negative refractive indices, and graphene, a purely two-dimensional material configuration of free single-layer carbon sheets. The latter two topics are briefly introduced and discussed.