Environmental and process monitoring with responsive devices integrating nanostructured thin films grown by innovative vacuum and plasma technologies

PI: Agustín R. González-Elipe (Jan-2014/Dec-2016)

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This project aims at the development of a new generation of low dimensional responsive systems and sensors that integrate nanostructured layers with well-controlled electrical and optical properties which, prepared by innovative vacuum and plasma methods, present a tunable and high porosity and are able to actively interact with the environment. The basic principles of the oblique angle approach (OAD) during the physical vapor deposition (PVD) of evaporated thin films will be extended to the fabrication of similar layers by plasma and magnetron sputtering techniques. Combination of these techniques along with other innovative plasma technologies, including atmospheric pressure plasma deposition or plasma-evaporation polymerization will be employed to achieve a strict control over the nanostructure and properties of final films and complex systems . Supported metal and oxide nanostructured thin films, stacked multilayers and hybrid and composite suported nanostructures will be prepared and thereafter characterized by advanced electron and proximity microscopies and other techniques. Process-control strategies will be implemented in order to understand the fundamental mechanisms governing the film structurations and to propose new synthetic routes scalable to industrial production so as to achieve tailored morphologies and properties for these porous thin film materials. Highly ordered and homogenous arrays of these nanostructures will be used as ambient temperature gas and liquid sensors, microfluidic responsive devices and intelligent labelling tags. For these applications the supported porous thin films will be suitably functionalized with metal nanoparticles, grafted molecular chains or layers of other polymeric materials. They will be also stacked in the form of vertically ordered photonic structures. Innovative device integration approaches including the water removal of evaporated sacrificial layers of NaCl and their integration in the form of microdevices will be carried out to fabricate advanced sensors, microreactors and responsive systems. Photonic, electrical and/or electrochemical principles of transduction will be implemented into the devices for detecting and/or fabricating i) oxygen and chlorine in solutions, ii) glucose and organic matter in water iii) gas and vapor sensors or iv) inteligent labels. Specific applications are foressen for the control of the outside environment (air and waters), industrial and greenhouse locations, agroindustrial processes such as fermentation and the tracking and trazability of different kinds of goods and foods.

Financial source:
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Code: MAT2013-40852-R
Research group:
José Cotrino Bautista, Ricardo Molina Mansilla, Victor Rico Gavira, Francisco Yubero Valencia, Juan Pedro Espinós Manzorro, Alberto Palmero Acebedo, Angel Barranco Quero, Fernando Lahoz Zamarro
Environmental and process monitoring with responsive devices integrating nanostructured thin films grown by innovative vacuum and plasma technologies
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