Nanofabrication facility - Case studies


Share your expertise through the Open Knowledge Programme

The ICN2 Open Knowledge Programme is a forum for the exchange of knowledge, experiences and skills among ICN2 colleagues. At the moment, nearly 30 videos grouped in 8 different topics are available. The last one is an update on the tools and processes at the Nanofabrication Facility, by Dr Raúl Pérez.

New transistor concept, solar cell included

ICN2 researchers have developed a novel concept in transistor technology: a two-in-one power source plus transistor device that runs on solar energy. Published in Advanced Functional Materials and currently trending in the Wiley-VCH “Hot Topics” list, lead author Amador Pérez-Tomás is calling it the “solaristor”.

Micromotors made easy

Researchers of the ICN2 Nanobioelectronics and Biosensors Group led by Prof. Arben Merkoçi have devised a simple manufacturing method for versatile graphene oxide-based micromotors. Requiring no specialist equipment, it can be used to produce a range of micromotors that can be further tuned for different purposes. Luis Baptista-Pires explains the process in the paper published in Small.

A nanophenomenon that triggers the bone-repair process

Researchers of the ICN2 Oxide Nanophysics Group led by ICREA Prof. Gustau Catalan have resolved one of the great unknowns in bone remodelling: how the cells responsible for forming new bone tissue are called into action. Their work reveals the possible role of an electromechanical phenomenon at the nanoscale, flexoelectricity, not only in stimulating the cell response, but in precisely guiding it throughout the fracture repair process.

Graphene spin transport takes a step forward towards application

A recent article from the Graphene Flagship outlines how the strong collaborative ethos of this largescale European research initiative is accelerating developments in new graphene-based technologies. Among the featured papers are two by ICN2 group leaders ICREA Prof. Stephan Roche and ICREA Prof. Sergio O. Valenzuela.

Strongly anisotropic spin relaxation observed in graphene when interfaced with transition metal dichalcogenides

Experimentalists of the ICN2 Physics and Engineering of Nanodevices Group, led by ICREA Prof. Sergio O. Valenzuela, have found evidence that the spin-orbit coupling induced in graphene by proximity to transition metal dichalcogenides affects electron spins differently depending on their orientation. Published in Nature Physics, this work suggests new approaches to controlling the transport of spin and valley information in future spintronics devices.

Thermal gradients shown to enhance spin transport in graphene

ICN2 researchers have demonstrated that the application of a thermal gradient in spintronic devices can cause spin signal to increase as a result of a novel thermoelectric phenomenon predicted and subsequently observed in graphene. Specifically, the enhanced spin signal is two orders of magnitude larger than anything previously reported for thermal effects in metals. Published in Nature Nanotechnology, these findings push at the frontier of graphene spintronics technologies.

How graphene can transform brain-computer interfaces

ICN2 group leader ICREA Prof. Jose Antonio Garrido and fellow Graphene Flagship programme coordinator, Prof. Kostas Kostarelos of the University of Manchester, were invited by Advanced Materials to present their vision of the role of graphene in the design of advanced brain-computer interfaces. Published earlier this month, the work entitled “Graphene in the design and engineering of next-generation neural interfaces” outlines the current state-of-the-art in this field, along with the ways graphene is allowing us to overcome some of the obstacles to fully realising the next generation of neural interfaces. 

Graphene-based synthetic antiferromagnets and ferrimagnets

A team of researchers from ALBA and the ICN2 have developed novel graphene-based antiferromagnetic multilayer structures featuring robust magnetic properties. These results, published in Nature Communications, demonstrate that single-layer graphene spaced magnetic thin film structures present perpendicular antiferromagnetic coupling together with a number of properties that are well suited for applications.

Paper-based biosensor with smartphone readout

Researchers from the Nanobioelectronics and Biosensors Group at the ICN2 have published details of their new biosensor system in Scientific Reports by Nature. Paper embedded with a graphene structure is used together with a 3D-printable mini “darkroom” and smartphone technology to screen for different compounds found in food and environmental samples. The innovative system provides a low-cost portable alternative to lab testing for qualitative and quantitative pollutant detection and monitoring.

State of the art on graphene-based biosensors

Biosensing is growing on importance. Nanomaterials and, more specifically, graphene-based platforms have excellent properties for biosensing. In addition, flexible, abundant, low-cost and green materials, such as plastic and paper, can enhance this technology. Graphene-based biosensors will lead to breakthrough solutions for the real world, although their commercialization will imply diverse technical, production and market issues.

2D-nanocellulose: piezoelectric driven by a hydrogen bonds pattern

Researchers from ICN2 Phononic and Photonic Nanostructures Group publish in Scientific Reports findings providing the basis for new electromechanical designs using 2D-nanocellulose. In a longer-term perspective, the reinterpretation of electrical features for hydrogen bonds here introduced could pave the way in the understanding of life-essential molecules and events.

A nanoplasmonic biosensor for early detection of colorectal cancer

The ICN2 Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group, led by Prof Laura M. Lechuga, proposed a nanoplasmonic biosensor for colorectal cancer autoantibody detection in an article published in Analytica Chimica Acta. There is an evident need for novel screening tools for a less invasive and more specific screening and diagnosis to fight against this cancer.

An ultrasensitive and specific diagnostic sensor based on interferometric bimodal nanowaveguides 

Researchers from the ICN2 Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group, led by Prof Laura Lechuga, have designed a nanophotonic biosensor for ultrasensitive detection of microRNAs in complex media. Results published in ACS Sensors demonstrate that such devices can be used as an ultrasensitive and specific diagnostic tool for the prediction of diseases (such as cancer) with well-defined microRNA signatures.

Visual detection of volatile compounds in a piece of plasmonic nanopaper

ICN2 researchers from Nanobioelectronics and Bisoensors Group, led by ICREA Professor Arben Merkoçi in collaboration with researchers in Canada and Iran, report a novel sensing technology for the visual detection of volatile compounds in a piece of plasmonic nanopaper. Their results have been just published in Nanoscale.

Non-Invasive Photocurrent Characterization of Nanoscale Morphologies in CVD Graphene

A recent paper in Nature Communications reports a simple and robust technology using non-invasive opto-electronic nanoscopy to probe locally both the optical and electronic properties of graphene devices. The work results from an international collaboration led by ICFO, with ICN2 participating to the theoretical interpretation of the experiments.

Flexoelectricity is more than Moore

“Moore’s law”, according to which chip performance would double approximately every two years, approaches its limit: soon it would be impossible to produce smaller transistors. A new quest, nick-named “more than Moore”, aims to add new functionalities within each chip by integrating smart materials on top of their silicon base. Researchers from the ICN2 Oxide Nanoelectronics Group led an international collaboration which has produced the world’s first integrated flexoelectric microelectromechanical system (MEMS) on silicon. Their results have been published this week in Nature Nanotechnology.

High Temperature Magnetic Stabilization of Cobalt Nanoparticles

A work published in Physical Review Letters, with ICREA Prof Josep Nogués, Group Leader at ICN2, as its last author, explains how an Antiferromagnetic Proximity Effect makes the Magnetic Stabilization possible above 400 K (126.85 degrees Celsius). This achievement might have crucial implications for ultrahigh density recording among other applications.

Graphene nanofluids for faster batteries

ICN2 researchers have developed a new type of fluids with graphene and other carbon nanoparticles for energy storage in flow-cells. The nanofluids can be used in applications that require high power and medium energy densities.

Nanopaper as an optical sensing platform

An international team led by the ICREA Prof Arben Merkoci has just developed new sensing platforms based on bacterial cellulose nanopaper. These novel platforms are simple, low cost and easy to produce and present outstanding properties that make them ideal for optical (bio)sensing applications. The results have been reported in ACS Nano.

The properties of graphene improve nanobiosensors for biomedical, environmental and security applications

Casa Convalescencia in Barcelona hosted the ICREA Workshop on Graphene Nanobiosensors on May 25th-26th, where international experts of the state-of-the-art in graphene nanobiosensors applications will meet. The integration of graphene in biosensor systems will lead to high sensitive, more selective and cost-effective devices. Prof Konstantin Novoselov, Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010, was among the participants of the meeting and will offer an ICN2 seminar in the UAB Campus on Wednesday May the 27th.

Surface matters: Huge reduction of heat conduction observed in flat silicon channels

Combining state-of-the-art realistic atomistic modelling and experiments, a paper in ACS Nano describes how thermal conductivity of ultrathin silicon membranes is controlled to large extent by the structure and the chemical composition of their surface. ICN2 participated in the research, mainly funded by the European project MERGING, through the Phononic and Photonic Nanostructures (P2N) Group, led by ICREA Research Prof. Clivia Sotomayor-Torres.

A new energy storage device based on hybrid electrodes

The ICN2 Novel Energy-Oriented Materials Group has developed a new model of hybrid energy storage device using a sponge based structure coated with Graphene and hybrid Graphene composite electrodes. The research has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

An optomechanical crystal to study interactions among colocalized photons and phonons

Electromagnetic radiation and mechanical vibrations of matter interact and exchange energy at the nanometric scale. The experimental basis to study such interactions with precision is still being established. Researchers from ICN2's Phononic and Photonic nanostructures (P2N) Group designed and published in Nature Communications a silicon 1D Optomechanical crystal built up so that it allows to localize in a stable way both phonons and photons.

Optical phonons limit electron transport in topological insulators

Physical Review Letters published the first study to show the impact of optical phonons on electron transport in topological insulators. This study, led by Dr. Marius V. Costache and ICREA Prof. Sergio O. Valenzuela of the ICN2 Physics and Engineering of Nanodevices Group, explores the limitations of transport in these unique materials.

First methodology to analyse nanometer line pattern images

To meet the increasing demand for smaller, faster, and more powerful devices, a continued decrease in the dimensions of active parts of devices is required. The new methodology is a unique tool developed to address the gap existent in the metrology of sub-10 nm line patterns.

APL cover image article: lasing of nanoimprinted photonic crystals

ICN researchers and colleagues report fabrication of laser photonic crystals by nanoimprint lithography in Applied Physics Letters. Article honoured with cover image (18 Feb issue).

Lasing from nanoimprinted dye-doped polymers highlight the use of this fabrication technique for visible, more-compact, potentially low-cost lasers with improved power. This work may enable medical and sensing applications.