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NFFA-Europe Report Summary

Project ID: 654360
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NFFA-Europe (NANOSCIENCE FOUNDRIES AND FINE ANALYSIS - EUROPE)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The NFFA-Europe Consortium has created a research infrastructure (RI) by integrating nanoscience laboratories and large-scale facilities for fine analysis of matter ( The issue is to provide integrated access opportunities to diverse advanced tools and methods for nanoscience in order to enable research by users to be carried out in the best conditions. Simultaneous/coordinated access to foundry/clean room methods, fine analysis and numerical simulation are a privilege of very few scientific performing institutions, but NFFA-Europe makes it available to all European scientists on a purely scientific competition of proposals. The relevance for society extends, through the rich NFFA catalogue of technical offer ( , tutorial and dissemination actions, to users from the economy, academic and educational sectors. The overall objectives are to provide a unique service to support research in nanoscience, to integrate the research activity of major European participating institutions, to realize an advanced policy and technology for data management, including the first nanoscience data repository, and to identify the fundamentals for a stable distributed research infrastructure of pan-European interest.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The NFFA-Europe nanolabs co-located with analytical large scale facilities (ALSFs) provide over 80 techniques ( . The offer is distributed in four families of processes: Lithography and patterning; Growth and synthesis, Theory and Simulation, Characterization. The use of the Single Entry Point ( is supported by the user guide ( covering administrative, technical and scientific eligibility criteria for academic and industrial proposals, and professionals at each access-node are available for technical queries. The Technical Liaison Network assesses the feasibility of the proposals and assigns the most suitable access node or optimum combination of nodes. The independent Advisory Review Panel establishes the scientific merit of the feasible proposals. TA is granted free of charge, with consumables, travel and subsistence covered within limits. Users are asked sign a Declaration of Acceptance of the access rules ( , to fill-in a Satisfaction Questionnaire and a Report for each access. Three calls are reported, with an average of 30 proposals/call and 60% success rate. The TLNet is the backbone of NFFA-Europe, providing skills and technical information across the NFFA-Europe multidisciplinary and multi-site RI; its hub in Trieste coordinates the experts at each NFFA-Europe core sites. An ICT platform shares and updates information on all the technical aspects of user proposals, keeps updated the catalogue of the SEP, and monitors the effective availability and booking of each instrument. The five JRAs were chosen for the integration and for pushing ahead the capabilities of nanoscience. Most of the deliverables are scheduled at month 36, with the objective of bringing them to full operation in TAs during the fourth year. The first Information and Data Management Repository Platform (IDRP) for nanoscience comprises metadata standards developed in strong collaboration of NA and WP8-JRA3 and promoted within the Research Data Alliance. The NFFA-Europe website is the main interface with the public. It provides detailed information on the access installations: the techniques, the tools and the facilities and the SEP and established the NFFA-Europe’s brand and visual identity.
Dissemination explains how NFFA-Europe can contribute to users research. The first training school held during July 2016 at the UAB campus in Barcelona attracted almost 30 students from nine different countries who were introduced to the instruments and techniques available for TA: Theory and simulation techniques, Lithography, Growth and Characterisation techniques. A second school is planned in 2018. The terms of reference for the Mobility Action for young researchers consisting of one-week visits for young researchers to experience hands-on advanced services for nanoscience and nanotechnology has been defined.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The first proposals ranged from fundamental surface phenomena to energy related applications and advanced devices and processing in spintronics, optoelectronics and microelectronics. Materials systems incude nano-objects (nanowires, nanoparticles, quantum wells…), 2D materials and thin films. Within this diversity, chalcogenides and dichalcogenides (as novel 2D materials in the wake of graphene) and resist materials for advanced lithography of higher resolution are examples of frontier research. All providers participate simultaneously to the full technical evaluation. The Industrial Liaison Network (ILNet) addresses the industry with the added value of the multi-platform approach. Over 7% of applications came from industry, exceeding initial minimum target. Upon advice from the SIAP, renewed efforts with industry will be made to optimise the outreach, using webinars, consultancy companies for business-to-science and a tailored application mechanism.
The IDRP provides an innovative common infrastructure for the data and will allow users to store, access and process their data and make them available to a wider community. Scouting for beta-testers for the IDRP prototype is on-going. A graphic user interface will be a reference implementation of a generic local data archive. Data ingest to the IDRP will be implemented for NFFA users.
Technological progress has been reached in JRA1-D6.1.1 ‘Prototype of fast SPM module for STM experiments’ and D6.2.1 ‘Test of prototype of multifunctional environmental-cell’. Both instruments hold potentialities for industrialization. Nano-lithography and patterning (JRA2) developed protocols for sub-10 nm guiding patterns for directed-self-assembly (DSA) of block copolymers (BCP) and nanowires (D7.2). Substantial work has been carried under JRA4 to simulate and model the underlying mechanisms in solid state-light interaction in the fs regime. A complete theory of energy dissipation via electron-phonon scattering has been devised and coded in the Yambo code ( A theoretical framework has been developed to correlate laser pulse duration, fluence, polarisation, irradiation frequency, with excitation states and induced morphological structures or damage threshold determination. Advanced Nano-object Transfer and Positioning under JRA5 has led to reproducible and iterative identification of specific nano-areas on samples using specific markers. Characterization experiments have been carried out at large scale facilities and nano probe instruments (scanning X-ray probe, X-ray photoelectron microscope, SEM), together with scanning probe experiment to fabricate, and locate after production, the marker array. Testing and optimization of the software developed will be performed next, including automated read-in of position coordinates from the specific nanoscience instrument. Coordination of work with JRA2 (subtask 7.1.2) on the development of a 3D lithography nano-positioning technique and JRA3 for metadata treatment is foreseen.

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