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EMU: Inducing improved quality and dynamics of nanoscience-, condensed-matter- and materials science research through advanced Electron Microscopy methods

Abstract

This proposal aims the development of state-of-the-art research in material science and nanotechnology by funding the creation of an EM laboratory (LM2E - LAB) at UNICAMP, hosted by IFGW, to meet the crucial demand for a bulky amount of EM-based materials characterization by several research groups, required to achieve the intended high-quality competitive scientific and technological results expected from a high level Education and Research University as UNICAMP. We must keep in mind that competitive materials and device research requires the routine use of high spatial resolution advanced characterization techniques, to understand and exploit microstructure-function relationships in organic and inorganic systems. Among available microscopies and spectromicroscopies, those based on high energy electron beams (electron microscopy, EM) are certainly the most popular and broadly employed in materials science due to their performance and versatility. The IFGW - UNICAMP includes researchers with internationally recognized expertise in advanced EM methods and has officially made available a suitable building to house the EM laboratory; other ten Institutes/Schools/Centers of UNICAMP are formally supporting this proposal. The topics directly addressed by our proposal can be grouped in a) Nanosystems; b) Condensed matter physics; c) Devices: sensors, batteries, photovoltaics; d) Metals alloys, physical metallurgy, and advanced manufacturing approaches; e) Catalysis; f) Biomaterials and medical applications. The research team covers a multidisciplinary broad spectrum of expertise and research interests from institutes and faculties coming from the three Campi of our University (Campinas, Limeira and Piracicaba). A careful analysis of the current research activities at UNICAMP has detected a bottleneck in the increasing difficulty to develop projects/ideas due to the lack of frequent access to modern electron-based characterization techniques. This scarce availability is critical, considering the large needs for high spatial resolution covering from initial analysis of systems, materials or devices to the precise evaluation of chemical, physical and crystallographic properties. We are confident that FAPESP will recognize the critical situation of the UNICAMP research programs and the urgent need to significantly increase the quality and volume of materials characterization through EM methods, in particular concerning nanometric- and atomic resolution tools based on Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). UNICAMP is one of the pillars of the São Paulo State system of higher-level Education, Research, Technology, and Innovation. We must emphasize that the present situation is seriously jeopardizing the depth and scope of Science, Technology, and Innovation programs, with direct consequences on the formation of higher-level human resources at undergraduate and graduate levels, necessary for the constant technological development of São Paulo State. (AU)

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