Researchers funded by the European Union have developed a microwave modeling and characterization platform for nanomaterials
This work is initially part of the State-Region Campus Ambient Intelligence Contract (CIA) 2010-2013 and relates to the cross-cutting action « Electrical Characterization of Nano-Devices and Advanced Instrumentation (CENIA) ». In a context of spectacular development of nano-objects, it was necessary to develop new means of electrical and electromagnetic characterization at small scales. It is in this context that an EQUIPEX project ExCELSiOR (Experimental Center for the study of the properties of nanodevices in a broad spectrum from DC to mid-infrared) was carried by the IEMN in 2012. The results obtained have enabled the laboratory to integrate several European projects H2020 EMPIR (European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research – Euramet) bringing together the actors of microwave metrology in Europe.
Launched in December 2017, the European project NMPB (Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Biotechnology and Production) entitled MMAMA carried by IEMN and built with Keysight Technologies® (leader in microwave test and measurement equipment – Austria), METAS (Institute of Metrology – Switzerland), Materia Nova® ASBL (Materials Research and Engineering Center – Belgium), ETHZ (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich – Switzerland), QWED® (SME – microwave software and hardware solutions), Dracula Technologies® (SME – photovoltaic solutions), Adamant Composites® LTD (SME – nano-composite materials and structures), Ayming (monitoring and communication) aims to develop a unique microwave characterization and modeling platform for advanced materials analysis for a large community. This platform aims at optimizing the quality and the manufacturing of these materials/structures in an industrial context.
MMAMA is interested in the chemical industry which offers a wide range of organic and non-organic nanoparticles addressing different sectors and applications. The quality and performance of the final product depends mainly on the chemical, electrical, optical and/or mechanical properties of these nanoparticles as well as on their arrangement at the macroscopic scale (amorphous, partially amorphous, hybrid/composite, multilayer). The same observation can be made for thin film materials. The chemical constituents of a layered material are usually known but the morphology, the thickness of the layers and the properties of the interfaces are crucial to determine the performance of the final product. Macroscopic characterizations are commonly used to verify properties on material surfaces. In this field of materials properties testing and characterization, there is a ‘gap’ between the nano- and macro-worlds regarding the types of instruments and testing methodologies and incidentally to the types of data measured. On the one hand, in a laboratory context, local probe microscopy or scanning electron microscopy techniques allow to reach resolutions of a few tens of nanometers but are destructive due to the preparation of the sample to be characterized. On the other hand, the resolution of the measuring equipment for the on-line test is low but the methods are fast and do not require particular expertise.
The MMAMA project is at the interface between laboratory characterizations at the nanoscale and on-line characterizations at the macroscopic scale. The aim is to explore the link between the macroscopic electrical behavior of thin film materials and composites and their microscopic/nanoscopic properties. This link between macroscopic and microscopic electrical properties has been explored by measuring the material considering a set of microwave characterization techniques at different dimensional scales.
The results obtained after three years are impressive. The MMAMA modeling and characterization platform integrates innovative scanning near-field microscopy, active radar imaging, dielectric resonator and impedance spectroscopy techniques.
Website : https://www.mmama.eu/
Linkedin : https://www.linkedin.com/in/mmama/