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Engineering of Nanostructures with Giant Magneto-Piezoelectric and Multicaloric Functionalities

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ENGIMA (Engineering of Nanostructures with Giant Magneto-Piezoelectric and Multicaloric Functionalities)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2019-11-30

Nowadays smart materials play a crucial role in the next generation of intelligent devices and sensors, smart homes, autonomous devices, and robotics. Nanostructuring materials open up new horizons bringing in their multifunctionality and reduce energy consumption. This reveals new scientific avenues and paves ways for breakthroughs in technology. The realization of structured materials with the strong coupling of electric and magnetic order and large multicaloric properties is a milestone for modern electronics and the gate for fascinating applications. In this context, we develop the partnership within the RISE consortium ENGIMA, involving the academic partners from two EU Member States, France, and Slovenia Third Countries Universities in Morocco and Russia the non-academic SME from Associated Country, Ukraine. The network combines the complementary interdisciplinary and intersectoral expertise with established collaboration between partners and clear potential for skills transfer and exchange of knowledge, extended from fundamental to applied physics and from material chemistry to industrial nanotechnologies. Consortium defined a research objective of exploring the nanostructures in a form of tethered magnetic 1-D/piezoelectric nanostructures and magnetic/piezoelectric superlattices to obtain new ferroic materials with giant magnetoelectric and multicaloric functionalities that have potential applications as magnetoelectric sensors and, telecommunication devices. This task will be achieved by joining the efforts through the staff exchange, sharing knowledge, innovation and by multidisciplinary training of the team of collaborating young researchers able to conduct the research and exploit its application to this new area.
- The single-component of piezoelectric BTO-based thin films were elaborated and the quality of the films was confirmed by means of x-ray diffraction, electron diffraction, and scanning electron microscopy.
- The promising multi-layered nanocomposites consisting of the piezoelectric (BTO) and magnetic (Ni-NiO) layers were fabricated and studied using contactless interference profilograph.
- The ferroelectric BTO-based nanorods, plates, cubes, balls, and different whiskers and multiferroic CoFe2O4 nanorods were obtained by the hydrothermal method and characterized.
- The giant electrocaloric response in liquid crystals was revealed.
- Epitaxial multiferroic BiFe0.95Mn0.05O3 film was grown by pulsed laser deposition and the photovoltaic effect, switching by applying positive voltage pulses higher than the coercive field was discovered.
. The static negative capacitance, important for the design of the low-dissipation computing circuits was discovered as a result of modeling the domain structure in ferroelectric nanoparticles.
- 3 International conferences, 2 training workshops, and coordination meetings were organized.
- 22 scientific peer-reviewed publications were published in international peer-reviewed journals. The majority (70%) of the publications present the joint results of several Partners and done in co-authorship; Two articles are published in the highest-rank journals of the Nature group. Approximately five publications are now “in print”. All these publications have open-access facilities, green or gold.
- 1 Joint Ph.D. thesis is delivered and 2 Joint Ph.D. theses are ongoing [UPJV+UCAM] and [UPJV+SFEDU].
- 5 outdoor outreach presentations in schools, universities and at public events, communicating information about the nanotechnologies and innovative engineering solutions were held. The information was also communicated through the project website ( the Success Story of ENGIMA at the EU Horizon Research & Innovation Portal and in the popular scientific Internet edition “Science Daily”, reposted by more than hundreds news-makers.
- The research activity of ENGIMA was presented at 32 research conferences, workshops, meetings, and trainings, involving a broad multisectoral audience. About eleven thousand persons viewed the project information.
For the European Union, a major goal is to counteract the growing innovation activity of Japan Asia and the USA by investing in a multidisciplinary research and technology development for the transformation of its major industries towards the fabrication of high added value technological products. Development of novel multifunctional nanocomposite materials and devices based on them providing new possibilities for the hi-tech industry could serve as a seed for the innovation in accordance with the so-called Lisbon strategy. The expected broad range of entirely new properties and applications related to the cross-coupling effects in multifunctional nanocomposite materials are very attractive for microelectronics, biotechnology, medicine, automobiles, avionics, defence, to name just a few. Examples with relevance to different areas include: direct energy conversion in different combinations magnetic/electric/elastic/thermal, detection devices with both magnetic and electric control, simultaneous tunability of the dielectric constant and magnetic permeability for electromagnetic applications, multiple state memories for data storage in which the information can be written/read/deleted electrically, magnetically, and mechanically, highly sensitive sensors of dc magnetic fields for using in medical imaging and detection devices with both magnetic and electric control, etc. Strong coupling between the magnetic and electric-dipolar subsystems can be useful in the development of microcooling devices that can be used for point cooling in microelectronic elements as well as improved thermal diodes/switchers allowing the flow of the heat only in the desired direction. With the development of integrated electronic elements sensitive to both electric and magnetic fields it will be possible to overcome the limits of nowadays microelectronics that is mainly based on silicon.
From this point of view, ENGIMA may improve the long-term quality of daily life and health of the EU citizens, e.g. by contributing to the development of different smart systems. It is thus envisaged that the proposed project will contribute to filling the gap between Europe and other countries, in which the research activity on multifunctional films is much more advanced. In particular, the fundamental study of the FE, FM, multiferroic and multicolored systems in composite nanomaterial form will significantly promote the development of a European know-how on these materials. Since the area of the project has just emerged, a part of the project (in addition to the technology and basic knowledge acquisition) will be devoted to the promotion of a wider knowledge on multifunctional structures and devices to a broad community, including companies or policymakers. The success of the project will depend on the ability to stimulate public interest to multifunctional thin-film structures with radically new properties. The planned dissemination activities (such as data bank, public website, issuing brochures, public lectures) are detailed in the following sections.
Multifunctional hysteresis loop of multiferroics nanomaterials of ENGIMA project