Through the NANOFUTUR project, IEMN is the winner of the Call for Expressions of Interest « Structuring Equipment for Research » (EquipEx+)
This project federates the French academic community in micro/nanofabrication gathered through Renatech+, the national network of French technology platforms. Within the framework of this structuring project coordinated by CNRS, IEMN will acquire state-of-the-art equipment in nano-fabrication to develop innovative micro-nano-technologies, in particular in two areas,
1) TeraHertz technologies for very high-speed wireless communications beyond 5G,
2) integrated and miniaturized sensors and micro energy storage devices, which will become ubiquitous in the Internet of Things.
The NANOFUTUR project will be financed by the French government via the National Research Agency following the Call for Expressions of Interest (AMI) EquipEx+ (ESR EquipEx+). It aims at investing in key equipment proposed by the French nanotechnology community. Since 2004, the five largest academic nanomanufacturing facilities, including the IEMN, have been federated within the RENATECH network. Two years ago, this network was extended to federate the majority of the regional academic nano-manufacturing technology centers (RENATECH+). NANOFUTUR has identified equipment to meet the challenges of nano-manufacturing and nanotechnologies for the coming decade. For the IEMN, this concerns two areas in particular, TeraHertz (THz) technologies and miniaturized and connected sensors for the Internet of Things. In order to achieve the set objectives, pilot nano-manufacturing lines dedicated to the targeted components/subsystems will be set up within the Centrale de Micro-Nano-Fabrication (CMNF) of the IEMN (technological platform labeled by the University of Lille).
Many revolutionary applications are envisaged following the emergence of components operating in the millimeter and THz wave ranges (imaging, spectroscopy, telecommunications and biological applications). To exploit their potential, it is still necessary to increase their transmission power and sensitivity at very high frequencies (0.3 to 1 THz). In this context, we specifically aim to develop: 1) new source and detector concepts that meet the requirements of future 6G systems and THz imagery/spectrometry systems for field use; 2) new low-cost technologies to build high-performance building blocks for the next generation of complex integrated THz devices. Such performance would allow transfer rates of a few terabits per second using THz waves.
Miniaturized sensors and energy sources for the Internet of Things
The last decade has seen the emergence of the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT). However, many strategic domains (including scientific instrumentation, exploration and industry) are still largely excluded from the IoT because they lack compact, high-performance sensors capable of operating in harsh environments. These include harsh conditions, temperature, acceleration, or corrosive environments, but also situations where small dimensions or manufacturing constraints make the insertion of sensors and sensor arrays impractical at present. In addition, the current performance (bandwidth, range) of sensors is not high enough to allow reliable metrology and fast dynamic monitoring, nor can they be assembled in a network allowing rapid mapping of the environment.
The objective of the IEMN within NANOFUTUR is to provide sensors for instrumentation and industry beyond current limits. These miniaturized micro/nano sensors (<1 mm2) will integrate a data processing chain and functional and energy autonomy through the use of high performance miniaturized energy sources. One objective is to obtain miniature devices with integrable transducers, including inertial sensors, force and magnetic field sensors, microelectrode-based biological sensors and chemical sensors. The project also aims at developing novel nano-manufacturing processes, for example based on flexible, printed, additive technologies, or deposition and etching techniques at the scale of the atomic layer.