The Materials for Sustainability and Wellbeing (MatSusWell) group aims at contributing towards the 21st Century Grand Global Challenges: i) Bioeconomy; ii) Secure, clean and efficient energy; iii) Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials; and iv) Health and wellbeing, through a strong emphasis on innovation, by continuing R&TD, investing on knowledge valorization and by bringing together a multidisciplinary team with background in Chemistry, Materials Science & Engineering,
Biomedical Sciences, Entrepreneurship & Business Development, encompassing as the ultimate goal the scientific knowledge transfer and technological valorisation.
In this context, the overall purpose of MatSusWell is the development and production of advanced multifunctional (nano)materials using sustainable methodologies for core scientific areas: i) Catalysis for a Sustainable Environment, ii) Renewable Energy and Climate Change Mitigation, iii) Environmental Protection and Remediation, and iv) Drug Delivery and Tissue Regeneration, with complementary research work on iv) Theoretical and Computational Modelling and on v) Wearable Technologies and Devices; the
utmost results of scientific areas boost Technology Transfer and Business Development.
(Bio)materials engineering and production
- Magnetic nanomaterials
- Core-shell magnetic nanomaterials
- Noble metal nanoparticles
- Hybrid silica nanoparticles
- Mesoporous silica and/with metal oxides
- Carbon-based nanomaterials
- Clays and nanosilicas
- Multifunctional MOFs
- Oxometallic-based composites
- Cost-effective molecularly imprinted materials (MPI)
- Natural and therapeutic deep eutectic systems (NADES)
- Natural polymers extracted from plants and animals
- Biocompatible materials
- Composite catalytic membranes
- Biomass activated carbons or chars
Catalysis for a sustainable environment
- Selective homogeneous and heterogeneous chemical catalysis
- Photocatalysis for clean and safe water supply
- Chemical sensors through electrocatalysis
Renewable energy & Climate change mitigation
- Energy efficiency - electrochromic (EC) materials and devices:
- Energy storage and conversion
- Gas adsorption separation and capture
Environmental protection and remediation
- Engineered nanomaterials coupled with advanced air-curtains technology for sustainable indoor air safeguard
- Smart ultrasensitive MPI sensory particles
- Antimicrobial polymers for anti-fouling applications and water treatment
- Industrial collaboration with GEO - Ground Engineering Operations Soil Stabilization
- Biomass activated carbons or chars
- Nanoporous and nanostructured adsorbents
Drug delivery and tissue regeneration
- Nano-enabled delivery systems
- Polymer conjugates
- Nano-in-micro dry powder formulations
- Therapeutic deep eutectic systems (THEDES
- Tailored membranes for wound healing
- Innovative biomimetic biomaterials
- Regenerative strategies for craniofacial and dental disorders
- Models of bone tissue metabolism and healing in physiological and pathologic conditions
Theoretical and computer modeling
- Theoretically modelling of nanostructured materials
- High-level quantum methods for the study of heterogeneouscatalysed reactions
- Atomistic molecular simulations to study the structural properties of self-assembled monolayers
- In silico modelling approach for predicting the cyto-/eco-toxicity of NPs
Wearable technologies and devices
- Healthcare and medical devices
- Smart textiles with enhanced photochromic properties under UV and/or sunlight exposure
- Functional textiles with hydro/oleophobic properties, thermochromism, radiation protection and antistatic properties
- Smart textiles and wearable technologies towards IoT applications
Technology transfer and entrepeneurship
- Collaboration with companies and technological centers
- Entrepreneurship start-up projects
- Clean fuels by cost-effective processes
Desulfurization of real fuels (diesel, jet fuel and heavy fuel) using cost-effective oxidative processes capable to operate under sustainable conditions (no use of toxic organic solvents) when catalyzed by oxometallic porous materials ((organo)silicas and metal-organic frameworks) have been performed. Structural catalyst improvement (performance, recycle capacity and robustness) and optimization of desulfurization process have been designed and showed to be crucial to achieved efficiency higher than 80%. The novel methodologies proposed are able to improve sustainability and cost-effectiveness of the actual industrial desulfurization process (hydrodesulfurization).
- From CATALVALOR project - a catalyst for change - to INNOVCAT spin-off
CATALVALOR project: A sustainable solution to solve the problems of biodiesel offering a disruptive technology based on a renewable, eco-friendly and reusable solid catalyst (X-CAT) combined with a simplified process to transform multiple feedstocks including low-grade (low-cost) fats/oils into biodiesel reducing simultaneously OPEX and CAPEX, turning the biodiesel market more competitive. CATALVALOR project was selected for COHiTEC 2013 – turning science into business, a training program in technology commercialization. CATALVALOR project was the winner, in the most important national entrepreneurship competition in Portugal, category Industry - Acredita Portugal; and finalist in two other awards, Brisa Mobilidade and iUP25k (2015). INNOVCAT Company (www.innovcat.pt) was created in 2015 to provide the continuity of CATALVALOR project. INNOVCAT is a spin-off of University of Porto focus on R&D, production and commercialization of solid catalysts and innovative functional materials.
- Anticancer ultrafine dry powder
Proof-of-concept systems for the treatment of lung cancer were engineered using scCO2. The resulting ultrafine dry powders were able to reach the deep lung and showed optimal in vitro release profiles and biodegradation rates for the treatment of lung cancer. This work was part of A.S. Silva PhD thesis, entitled “Multifunctional nano-in-micro formulations for lung cancer theragnosis”, and was distinguished as Best PhD Thesis Award 2016 from the International Society for the Advancement of Supercritical Fluids.
- A gravity-driven API purification process
Large core-shell affinity beads were developed using a green strategy by combining molecular imprinting and supercritical fluid technology. The cheap polymeric affinity materials produced could completely remove impurities from API solutions, with minimum loss of the active substance, by using a low-energy intensive gravity-driven process.
- Bonelike® - Bioactive nanostructured synthetic bone graft for enhanced bone regeneration
Bonelike® is a synthetic nanostructured bone graft with a chemical composition and structure similar to that of natural bone, revealing superior mechanical properties and improved bone regeneration, compared to other marketed bone substitutes. It has found a widespread application, being approved for dental, orthopedic and maxillofacial surgery applications, either as a filling material or employed within 3D biomodeling techniques. The biomaterial, with CE marking, is patent protected and commercialized by Biosckin SA – a company founded by members of the research group.
- In silico prediction of the (eco-)toxicity of nanoparticles
We addressed the potential toxic effects of nanoparticles (NPs) to different ecosystems by means of a series of improved in silico-perturbation models, using data from different NPs characterised under diverse experimental conditions. We probed NPs ranging from solely metal-based to metallic oxide NPs, including silica-based NPs, whereas the toxicity assays targeted different endpoints – for instance: algae, bacteria, fungi, mammal cell lines, crustaceans, plants, fishes, among others. The resulting models showe dan accuracy higher than 97%, and the structural information gathered from the in silico models per se shall aid the (eco-)toxicological assessment of new NPs at the design stage.
- High-performance light-responsive smart nanomaterials & textiles
High-performance photoresponsive silica nanoparticles (SiO2 NPs) with high color contrast and tunable color-switching response under UV and/or sunlight were prepared by covalent grafting of silylated naphthopyrans (NPT). Smart photochromic cotton textiles were produced through the incorporation of the hybrid NPs by screen-printing. Both hybrids and textiles presented excellent performance, coloring in <1 min and bleaching in 2 min– 2 h, with a wide color palette ranging from purple to red and high photostability for at least 12 UV/dark cycles. The most promising textiles were excellent competitors to other previously reported photochromic fabrics in terms of color contrast (ΔE= 53.1), color/bleaching rate, photostability and washing fastness. This was the first work on high-tech light-responsive textiles by screen-printing with hybrid SiO2 NPs as building blocks, being a step forward on the design of smart clothing with sensing and UV protection properties for fashion, sports and military.
- WEStoreOnTEX – We power your smart wearable
WEStoreOnTEX is an entrepreneurship startup project focused on the creation of innovative technological solutions in the areas of textiles and flexible electronics for energy storage on garments or accessories. The stored energy is used to power portable devices and sensors integrated on clothes. This technology is being implemented in the Textiles and Clothing areas, with the mission of boosting technological transfer of wearable energy storage technologies towards marketable products. WEStoreOnTEX has been recognized by several entrepreneurship awards such as the Best Innovation Award of Exame Informática – The Technological Best in Portugal 2017, 2nd Place on the National Final of ClimateLaunchpad 2017 - Green Business Idea Competition, 1st Place in the Pitch Day of UPTEC School of Startups 2017, Award for BEST Energy Business in iUP25k Business Ideas Contest 2016 and 3rd Place in iUP25k Business Ideas Contest 2016. Incubated at UPTEC– Science and Technology Park of University of Porto.