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Centre of Excellence for Optical Spectroscopy Applications in Physics, Material Science and Environmental Protection

Final Report Summary - OPSA (Centre of Excellence for Optical Spectroscopy Applications in Physics, Material Science and Environmental Protection)

The aim of OPSA project was to improve the level of scientific and technological research in the Centre for Solid State Physics and New Materials (Institute of Physics) in order to become the Centre of Excellence for Optical Spectroscopy Applications (OPSA) in physics, material science and environmental protection.

The overall objectives of OPSA were:
- to promote long term research into understanding phenomena, mastering processes and developing research tools in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnologies through an upgrade and renew of the centre's experimental techniques (Raman and infrared systems);
- to develop human potential through educational and training activities;
- to promote cooperative research and technological and educational activities between research centres, universities and industry in the field of micro and nano-technologies and microsystems.

The project was structured into the following work packages (WPs):

WP1: Upgrade of the Raman system with a multichannel detector, confocal microscope with a motorised x, y, z stage and a microscope cryostat. The tasks of the WP1 were accomplished by the instalment of TriVista 557 Raman spectroscopy system equipped with CCD detector, confocal microscope and heating / freezing stage.
WP2: Fourier transform (FT) spectroscopy in the near - infrared and visible range at low temperatures. After upgrade of existing BOMEM DA8 Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy system with adequate light sources, beam-splitters and detectors for near IR and visible region the research team was able to measure the reflectance and transmittance of solid samples in a spectral range from 30 to 25 000 cm-1. In order to perform measurements at liquid helium temperature the research team obtained a low-vibration closed cycle cryostat (model CS204SE-X20(OM) from Advanced Research Systems Inc. In order to carry out measurements on the micro sized (about 10 microns) materials the team obtained IRPlan microscope.
WP3: Training in the m-Raman and m-PL spectroscopy at low temperatures and high magnetic fields. At the Institute of Materials Science, the University of Valencia and at Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, Laboratory for Solid State Physics and Magnetism the team performed Raman and magnetic measurements in high magnetic fields up to 14T of pure cerium dioxide nanopowders and doped with Fe2+(Fe3+) ions.
WP4: Training in high-pressure m-Raman and m -PL spectroscopy research. The training in high-pressure m-Raman spectroscopy took place within a team of researchers from Department of Physics National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece. The high pressure Raman scattering measurements were performed on undoped TiO2 nanopowders with an average particle size of 7 nm obtained from XRD results. Measuring of the m-Raman spectra of anatase TiO2 nanocrystalline sample at high pressures were performed at Jobin-Yvon T64000 triple spectrometer equipped with liquid nitrogen cooled CCD and a microscope (magnification 40x) was used for detection. High pressure measurements were achieved with a Merrill-Basset type diamond anvil cell (DAC) fitted under the microscope allowing micro-Raman study in a back scattering geometry.
WP5: Training courses in optical characterisation of nano-sized structures and materials. Collaboration for this purpose was built with several Italian universities such as the University of Bari, the University of L'Aquilla and ENEA, Centro Ricerche Cassacia (Roma) and training courses were also performed in the Institute of Physics, Belgrade.
WP6: Dissemination of results. The project's work was publicised with a number of actions, like the OPSA website (please see online), brochures, publications and seminars.
WP7: Networking. The networking of OPSA programmes with research institutions and universities run according to the expected plan in order to bring together researchers and research projects with a similar interest. This activity resulted in two additional European community scientific projects (the STREP COMEPHS project within the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) and the NANOCHARM project within the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)) and the presence in COST P16 Programme.