Nanotechnology / Advanced Materials
FORTH/ICE-HT research efforts in the area of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials are directed towards understanding the fundamentals of nanostructured assemblies and atomic arrangement, and eventually tailoring the end properties of materials and their functionalities. Research activities address three main objectives: (i) to design and develop novel nanostructures at various dimensionalities and functional bulk materials for targeted applications, (ii) to adapt (nano) materials into devices and optimize their performance, and (iii) to explore implications of nanotechnology in energy, environment, health, and safety. To achieve these targets, materials synthesis and nanofabrication methods proceed in parallel with advanced characterization and modeling /simulation approaches.
Material synthesis: Architectures, assemblies and novel fabrication methods
“Bottom-up" and "top-down" physical/chemical approaches are developed for the synthesis / production / functionalization of nanostructured materials, low-dimensional crystals (1-D and 2-D), polymers, composites, and amorphous materials. The unique properties of these materials can enable radical advances in science and technology. Controlled assembly of nanostructures is essential to realizing novel device architectures based on hierarchical organization of nanomaterials. In addition, core activities encompass the development of generic and adaptable synthesis/nanofabrication methods (e.g. laser-assisted, low-temperature chemical vapor deposition, etc.) which are cost effective, eco-friendly and demonstrate potential for upscaling. ICE-HT is member of the Graphene Flagship and coordinates the FORTH Graphene Center.
Characterization of materials cover the three main aspects, namely, morphology (topology), atomic structure and composition, employing a combination of techniques to probe bulk and surface properties. Triggered by the nanoscale challenges (non-uniformity in sizes and shapes, presence of aggregates/agglomerates, etc.), systematic efforts are undertaken to advance experimental methods well beyond their standard capabilities, thus offering a more reliable characterization of complex nanostructured materials. This is mainly achieved by employing nanotechnology-enabling investigative tools, e.g., quantitative SERS, environmental SEM, nonlinear optics, etc. Optimization and continuous technique development help acquire special technical skills and capabilities that can be of direct benefit to SMEs and industry at the national and at the European level.
Modeling and Simulation
The development of new modeling and simulation tools is key to design, synthesis, and advanced characterization procedures. These tools can support the interpretation of experimental data, offer understanding of material properties at length and time scales that would be inaccessible by experiments, and guide experimentation towards new or improved materials. To this end, multiscale simulation methods are developed that cover the range from the atomic scale to the macroscopic scale. Special emphasis is placed at the interfaces between different material types or different phases of the same material, as well as on embedding inorganic and low dimensional materials in polymer matrices. Combination of experimental with modeling techniques can provide three-dimensional representations of the material sructure and helps predict end properties from a minimal set of experimental data.