At the end of 2019, the vision for Nanotechnology into the future was presented by the nanotechnology ecosystem consisting of NanoNextNl, MinacNed and NanoLabNl. During the COVID-19 pandemic, an English-language update was published containing the contribution that nanotechnology is making to the solutions to the Corona crisis. Enclosed you will find this update 2020. With this Nano4Society forms a solid basis. Now is the time to take the next step towards the future of collaboration and making this vision concrete. Download the NanoVision 2030 (in PDF)

The nanotechnology roadmap is now being updated with input from industrial and scientific partners. MinacNed, NanoNextNL and NanoLabNL are working together on this and will take your input with them to develop the nanotechnology roadmap in an update that will be presented at the end of October.

Key technology

Nanotechnology is not a stand alone technology, but contributes to solutions for technical and societal issues. This makes nanotechnology as a key technology very important for other technological developments within the societal themes. As a key technology, there is in many cases overlap in the technology domain with other roadmaps. We ask you to name the nanotechnology therein in order to be able to clarify the interaction between the various roadmaps. Nanotechnology is often an enabling part of the solution and will be more “inside” the solution.

The project team for the roadmap will meet this week to identify where nanotechnology can contribute. In October, the project team will present the roadmap update, and we need your input for that now. We now ask you:

Where does nanotechnology contribute as a key technology to the solutions in your sector or more specifically in your company?

We will send you a questionnaire that will ask for input from your company or institution. This information will be treated confidentially and processed in such a way that it cannot be traced back to your authority. The information is important in order to be able to clarify the impact of investments in key enabling technology nanotechnology on the quality of life (societal challenges) and the economy (earning capacity).

Send your own answer to this question to roadmapinput@minacned.nl and contribute directly to the future of nanotechnology. Your input is of great value to provide a clear picture of where the sector is now and where we can grow, collaborate and excel in the future.

The deadline for input is September 28, 2020. Send your input to Ronny van ‘t Oever, chair of the roadmap Nanotechnology at roadmapinput@minacned.nl.

Five innovative Overijssel projects will receive a subsidy from the European OP Oost program 2014-2020. All projects come from Twente and together receive an amount of 5.7 million to develop further. MinacNed members IamFluidics, Bronkhorst, MASER and Saxion Hogeschool and are participants in various projects that were awarded European funding.

Advanced Microcarrier for culture of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

IamFluidics will participate in the “Advanced Microcarrier for culture of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells” project. This is focused on developing a new type of microcarrier suitable for the cultivation of specialized stem cells. Stem cells offer a solution for many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Stem cells can multiply themselves and be converted into specialized cell types. These cell types can for example be used to screen new drugs for these diseases.
Project partners: IamFluidics (Enschede), Scinus Cell expansion (Utrecht), River Biomedics (Enschede) en Universiteit Twente (Enschede).

Test advanced chips early’ project

What is the project? Within the ‘METEORITE’ project, new techniques are being developed to test chips with MEMS (Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems) for their functioning at an early stage. Faulty MEMS lead to great waste of materials and time. As a result, they remain relatively expensive and applications are limited. With a MEMS “chip”, it is possible to make small electronic devices with special functionalities (sensors) to, for example, detect movements, generate light and measure or analyze liquid flows. A standard chip is measured for errors at an early stage in the production process. Existing testing technology for MEMS is currently underdeveloped, wasting material and time.

Project partners: Salland Engineering (Zwolle), Bronkhorst High Tech (Ruurlo), Stichting Saxion (Enschede), University of Twente (Enschede) and Maser Engineering (Enschede).

Read more about the OP Oost projects that were awarded European funding on the newspage of RTV Oost.

Source: IamFluidics

 

MinacNed has a new board overseeing all activities, with a new chair and vice chair who are both ambitious to see the MinacNed community grow and collaborate more. At the General Assembly meeting on May 26, the new MinacNed board was presented to the MinacNed members.

New chair and vice chair

Frank van de Scheur, Head of MEMS & Micro Devices at Philips has taken up the role of chairman of the board. Frank van de Scheur sees MinacNed becoming the recognized association in the Netherlands for all companies, institutes and universities that are active in the field of Microsystems and Nanotechnology.

The board members all work in close collaboration and the new vice chair Hans Dijk, CCO at Surfix emphasizes the need for companies working in the micro and nano industry to collaborate with each other and meet at MinacNed. Hans Dijk: “I hope to be able to play a role in getting more companies actively involved in our association.”

Knowledge platform on micro and nano technology

The members of the MinacNed board are from both industry and academia, and each brings a large network and vast experience with them. The new board continues the work of the MinacNed board up to now: to build new partnerships, to grow the number of members and to seek international collaborations to make groundbreaking projects possible.

The knowledge shared among the board members is an important asset that is available for members in the MinacNed community. Urs Staufer, board member and professor at TU Delft said: “MinacNed must be a forum to share the view on future developments and needs in Micro and Nano Technology, and a platform to find partners for implementing these visions.”

Changes in the board

Hans Dijk, CCO at Surfix and Thies Oosterwijk, Business manager at TMC Nanotechnology have joined the MinacNed board to bring their experience, network and ambition to the team. On the new webpage with the Board member profiles you will find a short resume and the board members ambition for the MinacNed community.

Two board members have resigned from their position. The board thanks Ronny van ‘t Oever CEO at Micronit and Han Gardeniers, professor at the University of Twente for their work and effort as board members. Former chairman Ronny van ‘t Oever has expressed his intention to stay involved in the MinacNed community.

Overview of the MinacNed board.

A blog by Gerhard Bauhuis, Technical Sales Advisor at Bronkhorst.

The ‘Graphene Flagship’ is a Future and Emerging Technology Flagship by the European Commission. On April 3rd, 2020 they announced to be in transition to the so-called ‘Core 3’ stage, the fourth funding cycle of the €1 Billion research initiative funded by the European Commission.

In this three-year phase of the project, the Graphene Flagship expects to advance much further towards the commercialization of graphene and layered materials. While keeping an eye on fundamental research, the Graphene Flagship Core 3 will have a special focus on innovative research to boost graphene-enabled technologies to higher technology readiness levels.

What is graphene?

Graphene can be subdivided in three different types: single-layered, double-layered and multi-layered graphene:

  • Single-layered graphene is the purest form available with with unique characteristics. These characteristics make (single-layered) graphene an attractive product for a large number of applications.
  • Double-layered as well as multi-layered graphene have other (less qualitative) characteristics.

As the number of layers increases, it also becomes increasingly cheaper to produce. In this blog I limit myself to only single-layered graphene, because as of today this type still gives the best result in various research.

Graphene is the world’s first 2D material that consists of only a single atomic layer of carbon; the same material that’s used in diamonds and penciltips. The carbon atoms in graphene are ranked in a hexagon structure. Single-layered graphene is characterized by the following properties

  • 200 times stronger than steel
  • 1.000.000 times thinner than a single human hair
  • The world’s lightest material (1 m² weighs about 0,77 milligram)
  • Flexible
  • Transparent
  • Impenetrable for molecules
  • Excellent electrical and heat conduction

Graphene can also be combined with other materials, such as gases and metals, to produce new materials with the abovementioned properties or to improve existing materials. At this point there isn’t a method available yet to produce graphene on a larger scale against acceptable costs. However, this is still being researched.

Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (PE-CVD)

Bronkhorst, 3D-model structure of graphene

Bronkhorst, 3D-model structure of graphene

There are a couple of different methods to produce graphene. One of the most common methods in single-layered graphene production is Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapour Deposition (PE-CVD). In this method, a mixture of gases – in which at least one gas contains carbon – is heated until a plasma has formed. Mass flow meters and controllers are used in CVD processes to dose gases and liquids accurately.

In PE-CVD the plasma forms a graphene layer on a nickel or copper substrate. Heating takes place in a vacuum, but a more ‘green’ CVD process can be used as well, in which heating takes place under atmospheric pressure. By using Chemical Vapour Deposition large sheets of graphene can be produced.

Some of the precursors are liquids that need to be evaporated first, to be used in the CVD process in its gaseous form. It’s very important that the plasma is created with the right proportions and precision. This can be achieved by using highly accurate flow instruments. A deviation in the plasma can cause defects in the graphene layer. Defects can be impurities in the 2D structure that can change the unique properties of the material.

Research for high quality graphene by using atmospheric pressure plasma-based techniques

Bronkhorst CEM system for research at the University of Cordoba

Bronkhorst CEM system for research at the University of Cordoba

 

Our Spanish distributor, Iberfluid Instruments S.A, recently cooperated with the University of Cordoba in a research to investigate the opportunities regarding graphene production on a large scale by using a plasma based technique under atmospheric pressure. In this research ethanol was evaporated with the use of Bronkhorst evaporation system, the so-called Controlled Evaporation and Mixing (CEM) system, to form a plasma. With the use of an evaporation system liquids are being evaporated directly to create the right gas for the plasma. A possible setup of such an evaporation system can consist of a CEM system with an additional liquid flow meter (i.e. a Coriolis mass flow meter, from the mini CORI-FLOW series) for ethanol, a gas flow controller (i.e. an EL-FLOW mass flow controller) for argon, which functions as a carrier gas and finally a temperature-controlled control valve or mixing valve.

An evaporation system like the Bronkhorst CEM system can deliver excellent performance in terms of stability and accuracy. These properties guarantee a reliable creation of plasma, which eventually leads to higher quality graphene.

In the research document ‘Scalable graphene production from ethanol decomposition by microwave argon plasma torch’ is described why the University of Cordoba (ES) uses the Bronkhorst Controlled Evaporation and Mixing system in the PE-CVD graphene production process.

Areas of application for graphene

Due to a large amount of unique properties research takes place in numerous areas of application. The main focus is on single-layered and double-layered graphene. For now it seems that single-layered graphene still gives the best results. At the same time the use of so-called flakes has been taken into account. These flakes are tiny pieces of graphene which can be mixed with another material, such as polymers. The properties of these materials can be improved by adding graphene flakes, which makes graphene widely applicable in different industries. A couple of examples based on single-layered graphene:

  • Water purification: Scientists are currently developing an advanced filtration system based one graphene oxide that is being used to make polluted water drinkable.
  • Medical industry: Since graphene isn’t poisonous for the human body, research is being done to the possibilities to use graphene in medicine transport in the body, by attaching the medicine to the graphene. Graphene also has the properties to prevent bacteria formation, which makes it ideal to use as a coating for implants.
  • Energy industry: Because of the large surface and excellent electrical conduction, graphene could be used in energy storage. The goal is to make graphene batteries more compact than they are now, while increasing the capacity to make it possible to charge batteries within seconds.
  • Textile industry: Graphene could be used to process electronics in textiles, such as effective, efficient and highly accurate sensors. Furthermore, graphene anti-corrosion coatings and conductive inks can be made.
  • Semiconductor industry: Thanks to good electrical and thermal conductivity, graphene offers possibilities to increase the speed and capacity of chips  (for computers and smartphones).

Would you like more information about graphene?

Read our application note about the setup used at the University of Cordoba or download the research of John Bulmer, scientist at the University of Cambridge, about ‘Forecasting continuous carbon nanotube production in the floating catalyst environment’.

Read application note (Bronkhorst website)
Download the research (Science Direct, Elsevier)

Source blog post: Bronkhorst

Surfix B.V., together with its shareholders Qurin Diagnostics B.V. and LioniX International B.V., already successfully developing bio-photonic nanochips for cancer detection and other applications, announced an accelerated development plan to allow mass-scale COVID-19 diagnosis and immunity detection with the financial support and in close collaboration with PhotonDelta.

The desktop testing device will yield reliable test results within 5 minutes and is scheduled to be available for commercial exploitation within 6-9 months. The device will be built around a photonic biochip using LioniX’ mature and proven silicon nitride based integrated optics technology (TriPleX™), a key technology within the PhotonDelta ecosystem. The surface functionalization and biochemical assay development are provided by Surfix and Qurin Diagnostics, respectively. The combination of these disciplines enables a successful, fast and accurate virus detection platform. The development will be supported by and in tight collaboration with Photon Delta (a Dutch public private partnership). The PhotonDelta support will be both in co-funding as in further future upscaling and exploitation.

Qurin Diagnostics, Surfix and LioniX International  are already working together closely on early cancer detection and have realized an ultra-sensitive biochip sensor array which will be applied for early cancer detection using urine as a liquid biopsy.

Qurin Diagnostics

Coenraad K. van Kalken, CEO of Qurin Diagnostics, said ”This collaboration confirms our strategic vision that the ultrasensitive biochip we’re jointly developing for mass scale, low-cost cancer screening is broadly applicable in  biological agri-food markets as well as in other biomedical fields. All these fields need highly accurate molecular diagnosis technology at lower cost than complex and labor intensive molecular technologies, currently used.”

Surfix

Luc Scheres CTO of Surfix said “We have developed specific nanocoatings which enhance the sensitivity, limit of detection and reliability of the photonic biochip. Of course every application comes with its own specific challenges and demands, so close collaboration with experts from other disciplines is essential to successfully develop a diagnostic test. Therefore, we are happy to strengthen our collaboration with LioniX International and Qurin Diagnostics for the accelerated development of a corona virus test.”

Lionix International

“The TriPleX™ platform has shown its capabilities and possibilities for high volume cost effective cancer diagnostics and investing in this new application is not merely a commercial driven choice, but also driven by societal importance. Since we have a solid technology base and reliable collaboration partners, who also enabled the cancer diagnostics measurements, we have large confidence in realizing a successful COVID-19 test.”, said Arne Leinse, CEO of LioniX International.

PhotonDelta

“‘This is a great example of a joint effort of partners in the PhotonDelta ecosystem to develop meaningful, low costs and effective solutions enabled with integrated photonics technology. The initiative builds upon our knowledge on ultra-sensitive biochips, which might be of utmost relevance in detecting the current COVID-19 crisis. Bio sensing is one of the long-term development programs (roadmap) within PhotonDelta where industry, universities and the entire PhotonDelta ecosystem work together on next generation solutions and testing devices on viruses and other diseases‘’, said Ewit Roos, CEO of PhotonDelta

Download the full press release (PDF)

Read more about MinacNed partners Lionix International BV and Surfix

Read more about PhotonDelta and Qurin Diagnostics