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Mapping Weak Signals

Inspired by: FP7 » Bendy Copper Nanowires akin to foldable iPad

version: 9 / updated: 2011-02-04
id: #1609 / version id: #1043
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Anthony Walker
List of all contributors by versions (mouse over)
Last changed by: Anthony Walker
WI-WE status:

Source of inspiration

European Commission Framework Programme for RTD (FP7)

Theme/activity of inspiration

Theme 4 - Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials & new production technologies

Sub-theme/area of inspiration

Knowledge-based smart materials with tailored properties

Optional reference/s to FP7 project/s

Use the following format: Project Acronym (Project Reference No.). Use commas if more than one project is associated to this Wild Card, for example: ALFA-BIRD (213266), SAFAR (213374), LAPCAT-II (211485)

Signal's headline

(max. 9 words)
Bendy Copper Nanowires akin to foldable iPad

Signal's description

(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Weak Signal (approx. 150 words)
Chemists have perfected a simple way to manufacture inexpensive copper nanowires in great quantities that are so small they are transparent. Applications could clearly be in thin-film solar cells, TVs, computers and other flexible displays. Copper can be used to make a film of nanowires that is both transparent and conductive and this is a material that is abundant in the earth's crust and doesn't take much energy to extract. Silver nanowires also perform well as a transparent conductor, but silver is rare and expensive. Attempts have been made to improve the performance of carbon nanotubes as a transparent conductor, but without much luck, and the fact that copper nanowires are cheaper and work better makes them a very promising material to solve this problem.


Copper nanowires, thin-film solar cells, manufacturing, felxible displays, nanowires


(max. 250 characters)
Chemists have perfected a simple way to manufacture inexpensive copper nanowires in great quantities that are so small they are transparent. Applications could clearly be in thin-film solar cells, TVs, computers and other flexible displays.

Signal's first apperance


Signal's potential evolution

It could lead to...
issue type of issue/development potential impact on society timeframe for the issue to become at least 50% probable
#1 Flexible screens reducing paper use. Large landfill created with existing obsolete hardware needing to be disposed. Concealed security risks for terrorism (as much easier to conceal potential flexible weapons (for instance at airports). new/emerging
very harmful
#2 Ubiquitous changeable information eg like m-way matrix. Creation and evolution of new types of weapons of mass destruction. Society becomes much more reliant on virtual technology. Demise of tradition print, books, newspapers and magazines. continuation
#3 Radical invasive advertising could be on the rise. Monopoly on media can lead to misinformation and propaganda. re-emerging
#4 Traditional education becomes obsolete and there is a lack of understanding of traditional teaching methods. Short attention span is developed by society as students and scholars are more akin to ‘copy and paste’ than understanding and comprehension. discontinuation
mainly harmful

Under what assumption the Weak Signal might evolve.

Business as usual


please specify
please select
Level 4: important for the whole world Developed world

Filters preventing the signal's monitoring

institutional filters (rules, laws, regulations)
economic filters (business/market interests)

Comments on selection:

Extent of application based on cost. Restrictions based on potential regulation eg akin to current planning laws for billboards, H&S etc

Key driving forces of this signal

Please use these boxes to provide up to 2 drivers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
Driver 1 Driver 2
Technological/Scientific ADVANCES

Major risks & opportunities associated to the signal

Please choose the most appropriate timeframe option(s) to which you would like to provide inputs.
Risks Opportunities
between 2015-2025 COST COMMERCIAL DEMAND

Potential stakeholders' actions

short-term actions
(after 2015)
Business actors (incl. SMEs) Develop applications New products
Academic/Research sector Develop technology Look at other applications, technology transfer eg health, bio-implants
Media Advertise possibilities
General public Be aware

Signal's relevance for European Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Crime and terrorism Illegal applications - fraud, crime in general
Ethics and abuse of S&T Bio screen implants for better or for worse
Social exclusion & poverty Not affordable for all
Social cohesion and diversity Greater access to info/games/leisure activities
Energy security/dynamics Lower energy and cheaper than curent monitors
Economic prosperity/dynamics More opportunities for those that have access
Globalization vs. localization Global applications
Urban and rural dynamics Info provision to rural communities

Signal's relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Health Implants
ICT - Information & communication technologies Ubiqitous screens
Nanosciences, nanotech, materials & new prod. tech. Manufacturing demand for products
Energy Lower energy use than alternatives
Transport (including aeronautics) Info provision for public transport
Social Sciences and Humanities Widespread uptake change attitudes. The have-nots have no access.
Space Applications.
Security Widespread applications. Also used to undermine security so counter measures required.
Research infrastructures Incorporation into scientific equipment etc

Pan-European strategies influencing the signal

please justify:
particularly relevant
Strengthening research institutions and universities Technology development and transfer needed
Facilitating and promoting knowledge sharing and transfer New applications new products

Research-friendly strategies potentially improving understanding of the signal

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here
please justify:
particularly relevant
Strengthening the actors in the research-friendly ecology
(i.e. Research funding organisations, universities, businesses, Research and Technology Organisations, Researchers and Citizens)
Technology development required
Addressing cohesion through a localised articulation between supply and demand
(e.g. making research institutions more engaged with their own context and local users; reinforcing knowledge flows into and out of regions; etc.
Make applications commercial
Creating a closer link between researchers & policy-makers
(e.g. supporting both thematic and cross-cutting policies, highlighting the strategic purpose of the European Research Area, etc.
Yes for applications and uptake

Signal's relevance for future R&D and STI policies

Note: RTD = research and technology development; STI = science, technology and innovation
Technology development and transfer needed. New applications and new products. Studies into societal impact required.