At the Nano-technology tribe we study materials chemistry, physical properties and the interplay in between. We aim to design materials at the nanoscale and simulate, thus, innovations in different fields from hard coatings, to electrical and tribological coatings for use in various advanced applications such as automotive and aeronautical industries, anti-corrosion and surface protection, smart coatings, optical or medical applications, as well as energy applications like solar cells, batteries or fuel cells.
Research in the Nano-technology tribe is particularly focused on the design and manufacture of corrosion inhibitors, as well as new anti-corrosion, anti-erosion and anti-wear coatings. High technologies are utilised for the purpose. These include, dc magnetron sputtering, Pulsed magnetron sputtering, Plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition, and high power pulsed magnetron sputtering.
Our research strategy combines the use of precise coating synthesis processes combined with in situ probes and modeling to better understand the mechanisms that determine nanoscale atomic arrangement of materials synthesized in thermodynamic equilibrium and far from the thermodynamic equilibrium. Characterization techniques such as atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and advanced ex situ characterization techniques are used to investigate coatings’ microstructure and properties.
Our research is designed to provide a solution to currently unmet needs, to create value for partners and stakeholders in the context of targeted applications. A key element in our strategy is to partner with best in class researchers and institutes in our field.
Our raison d’etre
- Conduct top-quality research of relevance to academia and society.
- Train the next generation researchers and Master of Science for industrial and academic careers.
- Contribute to the “Entrepreneuring MSN” movement by encouraging innovation, research excellence, independence and citizenship.
The Nanotechnology tribe benefits from a great laboratory infrastructure and a platform that hosts several equipment’s, including a high technology industrial coating system with the latest high power impulse magnetron sputtering (HiPIMS) technology (Cross – Field PVD 400 system). The system is capable of producing scalable pulsed power plasma for the development of highly dense, smooth and performant coatings. The unit is equipped with 3 x magnetron sputter sources with adjustable magnetic field, combined with Cross-Field Technology. This advanced HIPMS technology offers high plasma density, low deposition temperature and short process time for optimized coating results.
Cross – Field PVD 400 at MSN labs
In addition, the tribe of nanotechnology also operates a cleaning system, consisting of a single chamber in which all the cleaning phases required for metallic and ultra-clean polymer surfaces are performed.
Cleaning system 2CRD200 at MSN labs
The programmable cleaning process is composed of different phases which includes spray and ultrasonic cleaning with two different chemicals, intermediate spray rinsing, final D.I. water rinsing and drying with air blowing and water condensation. All these steps are performed under vacuum.
The platform also hosts state-of-the-art characterization equipment, including an optical microscope and a surface testing platform that is able to measure the following properties of materials:
Surface testing platform
- Stress-strain curves
- Hardness, Elastic modulus and Fatigue behaviour of materials
- Elastic and plastic energies of materials
- Adhesive strength, Friction force, Scratch and wear resistance of materials
- Roughness and topography of materials surface by AFM imaging solutions
- Morphology observations by optical microscopy (images and videos).
The Nanotechnology tribe provides coating and analytical services in connection with research activities for internal and external academic partners as well as for industrial partners.
Nano-tribe contributes strongly to the MSN department education programs. The following courses are given by the tribe:
- Vacuum technology
- Innovation, entrepreneurship and business intelligence (S2)
- We are a results-oriented tribe.
- We seek connectivity through a coherent, rigorous and transparent environment
- We are committed and motivated to reach our objectives through work, persistence, and risk taking
- We conduct research with uncompromising integrity and give credit to those who have earned it, in line with the Vancouver authorship rules.
- We endeavour to be identified as a tribe with character, seek strategic collaborations and take calculated risks.