Project Title: MICREAGENTS - Microscale Chemically Reactive Electronic Agents

Start Date: 01/09/2012
End Date: 31/08/2015

ECLT project leader: prof. Norman Packard

Funding Scheme

STREP - FET Proactive ICT-2011 9.6


The goal of the project is to create a programmable microscale electronic chemistry forming a bridge between electronic and chemical computing. Microscopic reactive electronic agents will contain circuit elements on autonomous pairwise self-assembling microchips (called lablets, target ≤ 100 μm), that selfmodify via reversible nanoscale coatings, directing their reversible association to form twin complexes (called gemlabs), and controlling entry to and chemical reactions in the enclosed transient reaction compartments. The lablet device integrates transistors, supercapacitors, energy transducers, sensors and actuators, involving electronically constructed nanofilms, and will be essentially genetically encoded, translating electronic signals into constructive chemical processing and recording the results of this processing. This will provide an unconventional form of computation that microscopically links reaction processing with computation in autonomous mobile smart reactors. This corresponds to a radical integration of autonomous chemical experimentation and represents a novel form of computation intertwined with construction. The self-assembling smart micro reactors can be programmed for molecular amplification and other chemical processing pathways, that start from complex mixtures, concentrate and purify chemicals, perform reactions in programmed cascades, sense completion, and transport and release products to defined locations. The project defines a continuous achievable path towards this ambitious goal, making use of a novel pairwise local communication strategy to overcome the limitations of current smart dust and autonomous sensor network communication. It will provide a technical platform spawning research in new computing paradigms that integrate multilevel construction with electronic ICT. The 8 groups from 8 countries incl. NZ are all pioneers in the multidisciplinary areas required to achieve the project goals, with a common grounding in IT.


  • Ruhr-Universität Bochum (3 groups) (DE) - coordinating institution
  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem (IL)
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (NL)
  • University of Glasgow (UK)
  • Syddansk Universitet (DK
  • Vysoka Skola Chemicko- Technologicka v Praze (CZ)
  • Università Ca'Foscari Venezia, ECLT (IT)
  • University of Auckland (NZ)