The Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (INN) of NCSR “Demokritos” was established from the merger of the Institutes of Materials Science, Microelectronics and Physical Chemistry, as a result of a national reorganization of research institutions in Greece. INN efficiently organizes and integrates most of the best research and human resources available in Greece to address the innovation challenge and to increase the European competitiveness of the Country in Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) such as nanotechnology, micro- and nanoelectronics, advanced materials, biotechnology and photonics. INN provides a unique environment to promote and support world-class multidisciplinary basic and applied research, while forging ties with industry and SMEs it promotes the transfer of innovation to the market.
The RTD activities of INN are structured in five concerned actions (programs):
- Chemical Sciences for Nanostructures and Biological Applications
- Cultural Heritage
- Magnetism and Superconductivity: Advanced Materials and Applications
- Nanochemistry and Nanomaterials
- Nanoelectronics, Photonics and Microsystems.
The Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (INN) was established in February 2012 through the merger of the Institutes of Materials Science (IMS), Physical Chemistry (IPC), and Microelectronics (IMEL). The above Institutes were created in years 1986-1987, as three of the eight independent NCSR Demokritos Institutes, after the restructuring of the earlier Departments of Physics and Chemistry. For 26 years these three Institutes produced ground-breaking research and applications in the fields of Materials Science, Physical Chemistry and Microelectronics with a strong focus on Nanomaterials, and Nanotechnology. The recent merger established the largest Research Institute in Greece, bigger in size and RTD activity than most Greek research centers.
The scope of the Institute of Materials Science (IMS) was:
– To conduct Basic and Applied Research on selected areas of Materials Science with emphasis on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, especially the synthesis, characterization and modeling of novel nanostructured and nanocomposite materials and the development of nanodevices comprised of magnetic, superconducting, semiconducting, and ceramic compounds.
– To develop and apply novel Physical Methods for the characterization of ancient materials, as well as Monuments and Artifacts of the Cultural Heritage, an activity which is unique in Greece and with distinct National importance.
– To provide high quality graduate studies and Post Graduate training in the thematic areas of its interest.
– To provide high level, specialized services to the Greek Society and Industry.
An important achievement of the last 10 years period was the impressive extension of laboratory space and equipment for materials preparation, characterization and modeling, which enabled cutting edge research activities. Specifically, state-of-the-art thin film deposition devices (new sputtering system, upgrading of oxide MBE), new wet and solid state chemistry laboratories, together with modern characterization techniques, such as new NMR spectrometers, single crystal XRD with nitrogen gas stream for low temperature studies, Raman Spectroscopy, XPS, OSL, Mass Spectrometry, and BET techniques, count among the important new equipment acquired by IMS. As acknowledgement to the ability of IMS to host excellent research in Nanomaterials, two of the staff members of IMS, have been awarded with an Advanced IDEAS grand.
The main axes of research policy aimed at establishing the IPC as a National as well as EU, Center of Excellence in the field of Physical Chemistry and comprised converging research activities on topical subjects of fundamental research and technological applications that include innovative processes and functional materials. The research activities focused on nanomaterials, functional molecular and supramolecular materials, biomolecules and natural products, theoretical modelling, transport phenomena and gas storage, catalytic and photoinduced processes, environmental technology and renewable energy issues. The Institute also provided specialized services to the private sector and public organizations, particularly in relation to environmental pollutants analysis, materials characterization, water quality, and glassblowing work. During the last 8 years the income from competitive projects had significantly increased permitting IPC to attract new capable research staff, improve the research infrastructure and implement high level competitive research. The IPC has effectively coordinated one FP6, Network of Excellence (NoE) and has participated in another one. A completely new research facility for the assessment of nanomaterials’ hydrogen storage capacity (unique in Greece) has been established and is active partner of the Integrating European Infrastructure to support science and development of Hydrogen- and Fuel Cell Technologies (H2FC-RI). Moreover the laboratory of Environmental Analyses had been accredited for “Determination of polyaromatic hydrocarbons in potable and surface waters” (the only accredited analytic unit in Greece).
IMEL started its activities in 1985 and in the year 2001 it has been designated by the General Secretariat for Reasearch and Technology after evaluation by an International Scientific committee as the National Center of Excellence in Micro- and Nanotechnologies, Nanoelectronics and Systems, with full capability in silicon processing and in micro and nanofabrication, characterization and testing, as well as in design, modeling and simulation of materials, structures devices circuits and systems. Its initial focus on Microelectronics has been expanded to the fields of new organic and inorganic materials for alternative electronics and optoelectronics, as well as innovative device design and realization, extending from sensors and portable microsystems to electronic memories and photonic devices. This research output has been exploited either in commercial products or in spin-off companies.
Its role for the country was unique in promoting high technology development in the field of Micro and Nanotechnologies, the transfer of technology and know-how to the industry and the development of human potential in the above fields.
In the year 2006 IMEL became a partner of the European Integrated Activity of Excellence and Networking for Nano and Micro-Electronics Analysis (AENEAS-technology platform ENIAC). Through this Network IMEL provided services in advanced electrical and optical characterization of Si devices, materials and structures. IMEL was also a founding member of SINANO, the European Institute of Nanoelectronics
The year 2007 the construction of a new building has been completed and important new equipment has been installed in it. Both the processing laboratory and the electrical characterization facilities were certified under ISO 9001. IMEL hosted an EU-SP2/Ideas project and in the context of the Micro and Nanosystems Center of Excellence REGPOT project, a new Electron Beam Lithography System EBPG5000 was installed in the clean room with a resolution capability down to 8 nm that created new research opportunities at national and international level.