EU funds nanotech research project

DESY NanoLab is part of this project

SEM logo

Scanning electron microscope image of DESY logo (diametre: 50 micrometres) made of platinum and written on a silicon surface using a fine electron beam. This technique is used by DESY NanoLab to tag individual nano-objects before examining them in the X-ray beam of PETRA III. (Picture: Thomas Keller, DESY)

DESY NanoLab

System for X-ray photo emission spectroscopy of the DESY NanoLab.

DESY is involved in a new EU project that aims to coordinate nanoscientific research in Europe. NFFA Europe (NFFA stands for “Nanoscience Foundries and Fine Analysis”) will in future more closely link the leading European facilities for research into nanomaterials with the various groups studying nanoscale phenomena and nanotechnology. The European Union recently gave the go-ahead for this ten-million-euro project, which involves a further 19 partners from ten European countries in addition to DESY. The aim is to promote multidisciplinary research on a nanoscale, from synthesising nanomaterials, through nanocharacterisation, to developing the underlying theory and performing numerical simulations using high-performance computers. This will for example allow more industrial products to be brought to the market.

Nanotechnology is a booming area of modern research. What makes it so remarkable is that the properties of materials change dramatically once their size in at least one dimension is reduced to 10 nanometres (10 billionths of a metre). Nanomaterials of this kind are already put to a wide variety of uses, including semiconductor nanostructures, heterogeneous catalysts, sun cream, self-cleaning surfaces, scratch-proof car paint, or engine-friendly lubricants. Promising future applications range from nanowires for new data storage devices through to nanorobots that can transport drugs to specific cancer cells in the body. However, in order to produce and deploy such materials industrially, it is important to ensure the quality and reproducibility of the functional materials.

Within the new infrastructure of NFFA Europe, DESY’s NanoLab offers European users the synthesis, chemical and structural analysis as well as the structuring of nanomaterials, concentrating particularly on the combination of nanomicroscopy with electron and synchrotron radiation. As of spring 2016, dedicated beamlines at DESY’s high-brilliance synchrotron radiation source PETRA III, which were funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research to encourage collaborative research, will be used for selected experiments.

Beyond this, DESY NanoLab is in charge of developing a new procedure, known as “Advanced Nano-Object Transfer and Positioning”, together with five European partners from France, Italy and Greece as part of the NFFA Europe project. In future, this will make it easier to label individual nano-objects in the laboratory and specifically analyse them using the nanofocused X-ray beam, allowing individual nanoparticles or nanostructures to be characterised using complementary X-ray and electron techniques.

(from DESY News)