Mechanical metamaterials are materials that display unusual properties, often not found in nature, that result from their geometric design. Recent interest in this type of materials comes from their potential to display new mechanical properties derived from the design of their inner architectures. For example, the large-scale mechanical behavior of a material can be adjusted from geometrical changes introduced on their small-scale structural components. If the construction of these metamaterials is carried out with "smart" materials, that is, materials that respond in a controlled manner to external stimuli, we will have a metamaterial capable of interacting with the medium and modifying its properties over time. The emergence of 3D printing has boosted the development of metamaterials, since it is a technique that allows to build materials of all sizes, as well as complex geometries with enormous precision.
This ability to design smart materials with properties originated from its architecture, can find applications in areas ranging from regenerative medicine (i.e. stimulating mechanically stem cells), to the construction of new soft-robots or sensors.
The main goal of the Millennium Nucleus in Soft Smart Mechanical Metamaterials (MN-S2M3) is to discover, develop and promote a new multidisciplinary scientific/technological knowledge for harnessing new physical properties of metamaterials in pursuit of new applications. Engineers, physicists and biologists with extensive experience in the different areas associated with metamaterials, gathered together in this Nucleus, to work synergistically and collaboratively, in the design of materials that can go beyond what nature has given us so far.
The generation of S2M3 is based on a continuous cycle of multidisciplinary feedback between Design, Materials Development, Advanced Processing, Characterization and Applications, which is the hallmark of our Nucleus.
Our Nucleus will contribute to making Chile a leading research center in metamaterials, promoting multidisciplinary scientific and technological interactions. Technology transfer to society will be a focus of our Nucleus, developing metamaterials from Chilean natural resources, and pursuing applications in regenerative medicine, energy, structural materials and sensors.