Creating and sharing knowledge for telecommunications

A smart move called MobiWise

on 08-07-2018

... Project MobiWise – from mobile sensing to mobility advising, is building a 5G platform that encompasses the access infrastructure filled with sensors, people and vehicles, to improve mobility in the cities, both for commuters and for tourists. The project aims to connect any sensor, person and vehicle, and use all possible information to improve the user mobility, through a complete network and services platform for an Internet of Things (IoT) real deployment in a smart city. Specific examples include eco-urban routing, which requires data from people's smartphones, sensors and transportation to choose the best paths in the city, for commuters that have meetings throughout the city, and for tourists that aim at visiting touristic places.

Susana Sargento, researcher from IT in Aveiro and the co-founder of VENIAM, the spin-off company from IT that delivers disruptive technology for connected transportation and smart cities, is the coordinator of MobiWise. The platform will be tested "in real large-scale environments, both in Porto in the area of ecological mobility, and in Aveiro in the area of automobile driving, accident prevention and detection, and can then be transported to other cities”, says Susana Sargento. In Portugal, this platform can also be used in Águeda, while abroad there are already contacts to be made available in S. Francisco (USA), Barcelona (Spain) and Singapore.

Together with IT and the University of Aveiro, the MobiWise consortium also includes the CISUC - Center for Informatics and Systems of the University of Coimbra, the CMUC - Center for Mathematics of the University of Coimbra and TEMA – Centro de Tecnologia Mecânica e Automação. Having started in 2017, MobiWise is a 3-year project supported by Compete 2020 under the SAICT – Sistema de Apoio à Investigação Científica e Tecnológica, involving an eligible investment of around 2,3 million euros, which resulted in a FEDER incentive of around 2 million euros.

GreenSol: Materials for green processing and their integration in low-cost OPV cells

on 05-07-2018

... The project GreenSol aims at preparing new organic semiconductors with solubility in solvents of low toxicity (e.g. water or ethanol) to perform as the photo-active layer in photovoltaic (PV) cells. The solubility of organic photo-active materials enlarge the range of applications of PV devices to products where the conventional silicon-based technology cannot easily enter, as power-generating curved roofs or windows, wearable items, etc. In addition to advantageous processability, organic photovoltaic (OPV) modules can be lightweight and semi-transparent (i.e., nearly transparent across the visible spectrum) due to the high absorption coefficients of the organic semiconductors that enable that photoactive layers can be very thin (ca. 100 nm). Remarkable progresses in performance of OPV technology have recently demonstrated efficiencies surpassing 13% in small scale device prototypes. When translated to large areas, OPV modules drop in efficiency, due to reasons mostly related with the fact that ink formulations used in laboratory are not directly transferrable to large scale deposition techniques (e.g. rol-to-rol printing). This occurs because the device performance depends on the active layer morphology, i.e. the assembly between the organic semiconductors in the active layer, and this is affected by the type of deposition technique. Another important aspect relates to the toxicity of the solvents used to deposit the organic layer. In fact, current organic semiconductors have restricted solubility and require highly toxic solvents not compatible with uses in large scale (e.g. chlorinated solvents).

As a result, the developed materials should be more adequate to large-scale fabrication processes. So far, the research team from the Organic Electronics Group at IT, coordinated by Ana Charas, prepared several organic materials exhibiting solubility in ethanol by incorporating hydrophilic side groups in the semiconducting skeletons. Interestingly, some of the new materials absorb in the near-infra-red - a rare property in organic PV materials - that can lead to more efficient devices, due to enlarging the fraction of absorbed photons from sunlight. The results have shown that for one of the new materials, the incorporation of hydrophilic groups lead even to improvements in devices efficiencies, in 20 to 53%, although the solvent was kept as conventional. When going to solvents as ethanol, the hydrophilic character of the solubilizing groups inserted in the semiconducting skeleton affect the assembly within the organic layer of the cells and appears to complicate the charge generation and/or charge transport. In this regard, additives and co-solvents can be at the basis of strategies to exploit the new materials for real «green» PV technology.