Area 6: Singular experimental technologies (TES)

Area description

INMA is extensively active in the development of singular experimental technologies. The activity in this field can be summarized in: a) developments of new techniques and / or data analysis in nanofabrication, advanced microscopy, neutron techniques and paramagnetic electron resonance; b) development of on-chip micro- and nano-sensors and chemical microsensors; c) development of new helium liquefaction and purification technologies.


Deputy - coordinator

DESCRIPTION: This line of research is strongly linked to the unique scientific-technological infrastructure Advanced Microscopy Laboratory (LMA), associated with INMA. The main lines of research developed are: a) Nanofabrication for the creation of unique nanodevices using FIB-SEM microscopes; b) Use of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) in materials sensitive to the electron beam, in new developments in in situ electron microscopy, for spectroscopy of high spatial and energy resolution, and for obtaining magnetic images based on microscopy of Lorentz and electronic holography; c) Scanning microscopies (tunnel effect, STM, and force, AFM) for imaging, atomic manipulation, spectroscopy and nanofabrication.
  • Manufacture of magnetic nanostructures using FEBID (Focused Electron Beam Induced Deposition).
  • Manufacture of superconducting nanostructures using FIBID (Focused Ion Beam Induced Deposition).
  • Manufacture of (nano) metallic structures using Cryo-FIBID (FIBID in cryogenic conditions.
  • Advanced spectroscopy in TEM (transmission electron microscopy) using EELS (electronic energy loss spectroscopy).
  • TEM studies of the response of materials to external stimuli (TEM in situ).
  • Determination of composition and crystal structures with atomic resolution using TEM.
  • Magnetic imaging by TEM using Lorentz microscopy and holography.
  • Low-voltage TEM studies of high-energy sensitive materials.
  • Spin-resolved scanning tunneling microscopy (STM).
  • Manufacture of artificial structures based on atomic manipulation using STM.
  • Atomic scale spectroscopy using STM.
  • Nanofabrication using dip-pen (DPN).
  • New techniques for manufacturing magnetic nanostructures (in 3D using FEBID and ultra-fast growth using Cryo-FIBID.
  • Manufacture of superconducting nanodevices using advanced techniques based on ion beams.
  • New strategies for ultra-fast manufacturing of metal contacts using electron and ion beams.
  • Advanced nanofabrication applied to new materials (topological insulators, two-dimensional materials).
  • Electron nanoscopy in low-dimensional carbonaceous materials, in near heteroatomic materials or in other laminar compounds and in hybrid / functionalized systems.
  • Study of the transformation or response of materials to stimuli (irradiation, temperature, electric currents) via TEM in situ.
  • Study of new magnetic textures in 3D nanomagnets through the development of magnetic TEM imaging techniques.
  • Advanced analysis of materials using quantitative STEM imaging techniques and EELS spectroscopy, with a focus on multifunctional oxide materials.
  • Atomic level studies of electron beam sensitive materials, with a focus on nanoporous solids including Zeolites and Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs).
  • Manufacture of artificial structures with atomic control using STM.
  • Spectroscopy at local and mesoscopic scale using STM.
  • Combination of STM with angle-resolved photoemission and photo-diffraction.
  • Preparation of magnetic STM tips and data acquisition protocols to investigate quantum bits, spin strings and edge states of topological origin.
  • Manufacture of quantum devices based on molecules using DPN.
  • Nanofabrication using DPN applied to graphene.
DESCRIPTION: Cross-cutting line of research that is articulated in the collaborative research groups of the Institute Lue Langevin (ILL), development of experimental facilities and the realization of proposals and experiments in international ICTS.
  • Collaborative Research Groups (CRG) at the ILL in charge of the D1B powder diffraction instrument.
  • Development of a new experimental facility at the ILL (XtremeD).
  • Experiments in ICTS (synchrotrons, neutron and muon sources) by competition and positive evaluation of international panels of experts.
  • Spain is a scientific member of the ILL (1987) and since 1998, members of INMA coordinate administratively and scientifically the Spanish CRGs in the ILL.
  • Spain is a founding partner (1988) of the ESRF and scientists from INMA participated in the instrumental development (XAS and XMCD) of the BM25 line (Spanish CRG).
  • INMA scientists repeatedly use ILL, ESRF and ALBA (with Spanish financial contribution). In addition, they participated in defining 4 of the 10 ALBA lines with their scientific case. INMA scientists are users of other world ICTS:
    a)  Neutrons: SNS, NIST, OPAL, ISIS, FMRII, SINQ or MLF.
    This access supposes the subsidy of the experiment (≈30 k € / day).
  • Extensive network of national and international scientific collaborations. The line guarantors participate in bodies, decision-making and advisory committees in ICTS.
  • Completion of numerous theses related to this topic.

DESCRIPTION: INMA’s identification line that consists of the development of sensors for unconventional experiments and that provide a competitive advantage to INMA’s research in other areas.

  • MicroHall magnetic field sensors with very high resolution (10-12emu). They have made it possible to characterize materials developed in other areas of the institute, such as molecular magnets for quantum computing or new molecules for magnetic refrigeration.
  • Micro-SQUID susceptometers capable of measuring the magnetic response of nanomaterials (100 µB / Hz1 / 2) at low temperatures and exploring their dynamics between Hz and MHz. These microsusceptometers have made it possible to study molecular qubits under conditions inaccessible to other commercial techniques.
  • NanoSQUID sensors based on high critical temperature superconductors: achieve sensitivities of few Bohr magnets, operate in a wide range of temperatures (mK – 80 K) and magnetic fields (<1 T) and offer unmatched temporal resolution (from quasi-static processes down to microseconds). We have studied strategic nanomaterials for other areas of the institute such as magnetic nanowires, nanoparticles or 2D molecular materials.
  • Nanocalorimeters: Using micro- and nano-machining technology, we develop different types of nanocalorimeters with very high sensitivities (25 nJ / K to 200K, 2 pJ / K to 2K).
  • Superconductor-based radiation detectors (TES). This type of detectors allow to reach the maximum resolution in energy. So far we have been working on X-ray detectors for ESA’s ATHENA mission.

DESCRIPTION: This line is dedicated to the development and improvement of technology for the recycling and efficient use of a limited and strategic resource such as helium.

  • Development of ‘Advanced Technology Liquefiers’ (ATL) and ‘Advanced Technology Purifiers’ (ATP) technologies that have been patented and licensed to Quantum Design (San Diego, USA).
  • Developments that allow helium to be recycled in an efficient and simple way for its reuse. In addition, a recurring blocking problem has been resolved, which occurred in small impedances used to lower the temperature below 4.2 K, and, which caused serious operational and economic problems around the world.
  • Currently there are around 200 units installed in more than 15 countries. One of the biggest milestones has been the implementation of this technology at the University of Leiden (5 ATLs and 3 ATPs), which has always been a world reference in low-temperature physics, after liquid helium was obtained there for the first time in 1911.

DESCRIPTION: This line arises from the need to create multi-sensor platforms that are not only sensitive, robust, fast and low cost, but also highly selective, capable of discriminating the analyte of interest in complex mixtures. In the last 15 years our efforts have focused on the detection and identification in the gas phase of volatile organic compounds, industrial toxins, explosives and chemical warfare agents at concentration levels ranging from hundreds of ppmV to trace values (sub-ppbV).

  • Electronic nose approach where we combine the combinatorial selectivity of a set of microcantilever type mass sensors with integrated heating functionalized with different nanoporous solids.
  • Preconcentration of the target analyte, in a stage prior to detection, using a preconcentrator microdevice that incorporates adsorbent nanoporous solids, to achieve detection at a sub-ppbV level.
  • SERS spectroscopy for the unequivocal identification of the analyte thanks to the obtaining of its vibrational fingerprint
  • Micro-fabrication of new microfluidic devices that integrate dense and micro-nanostructured membranes. These devices aim to: i) improve contact between phases in biomedical applications (oxygenation of the blood, crystallization of proteins, recovery of anesthesia gases …); ii) increase the proton conduction and cross-over properties of reagents in electrochemical devices type HT-PEMFCs.

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