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Xavier Obradors talks about the new era for materials in "Innovadores"

New technologies are frequently supported on innovative functional materials that allow for improvements in performance in order to leave behind the physical limitations of current materials. The economic supplement of La Razón Innovadores talked with 6 expert researchers on the field of materials, amongst which was ICMAB's Director Xavier Obradors, to find more about the future of hardware in advanced technologies. 

In the Innovadores interview, several topics were discussed: sustainability, biomedicine, substitutes for rare-earth elements, and specially the relationship between laboratories and the industry. Xavier Obradors shared the floor with Jesús de la Fuente, CEO of Graphenea, Javier García, Prof. in Inorganic Physics from the Laboratorio de Nanotecnología Molecular de la Universidad de Alicante (UA), Adriana Orejas, downstream technology Project Director at the Repsol Technology Lab, Elena Rodríguez, responsible for Advanced Materials at AIMEN, and Ainara García Gallastegui, Technology Transfer Manager at the CIC nanoGUNE.

Through the article there is a clear sense of the importance of new functional materials, specially nanomaterials, as well as the relevance of Spanish research within the field, noting that Spain is the 9th country in the ranking of nanotechnology-related scientific publications. There is also a focus on the challenges to face for the implementation of these technologies, for example the importance of sustainability, creating materials that are environmentally friendly, and applying ecodesign philosophies that keep in mind the full life of the material, up to its reuse or transformation. There is also an interest in affordability, with the consideration that the materials will only bridge the gap between laboratories and industry if it’s economically viable. 

In 10 years there must be a paradigmatic change of technology, and for that to be feasible the materials behind it must be competitive
- Xavier Obradors

Xavier Obradors also focuses of the importance of nano and biomaterials in the field of medicine, in diagnostic, therapy and treatment, pointing at the interesting research being developed in Spain. He particularly centers in the design of optical and electrochemical biosensors that can be prepared in the form of single use stripes or devices that use electrical systems to help in diagnostic.

“[These materials] are made functional with biological systems and with proteins that detect specific alterations”
- Xavier Obradors

You can read the article in the Innovadores supplement "Así es la nueva era de los materiales: el secreto del ‘hardware’ de la economía digital" (1 April 2020).

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