Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - NANOHEATERS (Nano-Heater Systems for Thermal NanoManufacturing)

Within this project, novel reactive nano-heater concepts were introduced, based on the exothermic material transformation of thin film pairs or powder compacts, for localised, controlled heating in nanodevices and microsystems. Nano-heaters offer an innovative and wide-ranging platform for creative basic and applied research in thermal nanotechnology. The nano-heater sources could revolutionise manufacturing and would be invaluable as on-board thermal actuation and autonomous power sources for the operation of numerous miniature devices, such as nano / microelectro mechanical systems (N/MEMS), nanomotors, biomed devices, etc.

Research objectives included to study novel nano-heater heterostructures and to control and analyse their process-material-structure-thermal performance relation and properties interactions during their fabrication, ignition and reaction. The requisite methodology included laboratory analysis, computational simulation and process control of materials fabrication for universal innovation and industry use.

The intellectual merit of this research lay in the understanding and describing the thermodynamics, kinetics and interfacial transport phenomena in reactive thin films, controlling their ignition and heat/mass transfer. Design, fabrication, integration, modelling and control of nano-heater systems, as well as their envisioned universal applications promise a novel, unprecedented in the literature platform for nanoscale thermal processing and on-board powering. This could open new and broad opportunities for original, interdisciplinary research avenues in experimental thermal nanotechnology, and scalable thermal nano-manufacturing in particular.

The broader impacts of nano-heater research emanated from its integration with education and training activities, to be pursued via curricular materials and functional rapid prototypes, illustrating the scaling laws of thermal processing. In addition, they stem from the technical benefits of the technology, including its manufacturing simplicity, affordability, scalability, flexibility, energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. Last, nano-heaters promise disruptive rapid thermal processing tools and enabling self-heating nano-materials for the semi-conductor and materials industries, with wide potential for technology transfer, entrepreneurship, value-added production and new employment opportunities in nano-manufacturing.

Qualitative indicators included the development of novel nano-heaters; multidisciplinary intersectorial collaborations in materials, manufacturing and controls engineering; discovering and understanding of the fundamental phenomena in nano-heater processing; testing and utilisation of new nano-heater materials with academic and industrial partners; academic research and professional training of students in thermal nano-manufacturing; international mobility and attraction of scientist to the ERA; educational opportunities for students in nanoscience and nanotechnology; and contribution to public understanding of nanotechnology.

The team consisted of European Commission funded researchers, plus additional BSc, MSc and PhD candidates from the University of Cyprus and from international collaborators. Although this project was based at the Nanotechnology Research Centre of the University of Cyprus, it has been broadly shared across Europe, in collaboration with universities and industry.

The output of this research has been documented and published in 25 peer-reviewed journal articles and 4 peer-reviewed conference proceedings so far. In addition, one United States patent application was published. The researchers participated in 25 conferences and gave 28 oral and 13 poster presentations. 16 oral presentations were given at workshops and 38 oral presentations at other scientific meetings. In total, 49 invited presentations / lectures were delivered.

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