WP1: Project management
The objectives of WP1 are: to fulfil the requirements of the Contract signed by the Coordinator with the Research Executive Agency; to guarantee the administrative and financial management of the project; to monitor the progress of the ETN in concordance with the deliverables and milestones; to manage knowledge generated under the frame of the Network (IPR in accordance with Horizon 2020).
WP2: On-demand sustainable materials design
The main objective of WP2 is the design of materials to meet specific needs, keeping in mind compositional restrictions, using several modelling strategies. A critical feature of successful product development is the thoughtful selection of the best materials among the available ones, coupled with a design that takes full advantage of SELECTA capabilities.
For each specific application (corrosion/wear-resistant or superhydrophobic coatings, magnetic MEMS/NEMS and micro/nano-nanorobots) screening of different materials will be done by searching in literature databases, running computer simulations and performing preliminary trials.
WP3: Electrochemical synthesis of dense films and metallic foams
The first objective of WP3 is the synthesis of ultra-smooth nanocrystalline and amorphous dense metallic films using electrodeposition methods (direct current and pulse plating; in 2 and 3 electrode configurations). Both the bath formulation (including aqueous and non-aqueous solutions like deep eutectic solvents and ionic liquids) and the applied deposition parameters will be optimized to obtain Fe-, Cu- and Al-based alloys, taking into consideration compositional restrictions. Deposition onto different substrates (e.g., brass, steel, metalized Si, In-Sn oxide) will be performed in view of the following applications: protective coatings with wear/corrosion resistance; hard magnetic, magnetostrictive, magnetic shape memory and soft magnetic alloys.
The second objective is the synthesis of porous metallic films using three different approaches: (i) from mild acid electrolytes using hydrogen bubbles as a dynamic template; (ii) deposition in rigid porous templates (e.g. polystyrene opal templates) followed by selective etching of the rigid mould and (iii) controlled de-alloying of a previously deposited film. Layers featuring variable nanopore sizes and pore interconnectivities will be produced. In this WP, the use of other synthetic strategies (e.g. physical deposition methods or loud-nozzle technology) to produce non-platable alloys will be also covered.
WP4: Bottom-up and top-down miniaturization for MEMS/NEMS devices and small-scale robotics
The main goal of WP4 is the miniaturization of materials using top-down and bottom-up approaches in order to produce small building blocks for miniaturized devices or small-scale robotic platforms. Small components in several architectures such as micro- and nanopillars, nanowires, and nanotubes or other more complex geometries (i.e.: helices) will be synthesized by template-assisted electrodeposition. Photolithographed patterns will be employed for microstructures, while arrays of anodized alumina oxide (AAO), polycarbonate nanoporous membranes, and e-beam lithographed nanopatterned substrates will be used to form nanostructures.
Templates to obtain complex geometries will be manufactured by means of three-dimensional photolithography. Top-down laser processing (machining) of previously electrodeposited continuous films will be realized to deliver pieces of predefined shapes. The miniaturization of targeted materials will enable the fabrication of sustainable MEMS/NEMS prototypes such as MFM tips, high-temperature magnetic actuators, watch components and magnetic microhelices. On the other hand, the combination of small structures made of magnetic alloys and porous photocatalytic compounds in a single platform will allow the production of small-scale robots for environmental applications such as water remediation or industrial wastes treatments.
WP5 encompasses all aspects of structural characterization and thermal stability of the materials produced in WP3 and WP4 including studies on chemical composition, morphology, porosity degree, crystallographic structure, crystallite size, thickness, surface roughness, etc. The changes in the structural properties of alloys upon miniaturization will be also investigated. For such purposes several techniques will be employed: scanning and transmission electron microscopy (SEM/TEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), profilometry, porosimetry, inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP), x-ray diffraction–small and wide angle, including glazing incidence–(XRD), electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD).
Rietveld refinement of XRD patters will be performed for microstructural analysis (phase percentages, texture, crystallite size, microstrains,...). Proposals for beam time in large-scale European facilities (available at the ESRF, Dessy, Diamond, Alba, etc.) will be submitted to complement the obtained results by means of additional techniques, such as small-angle and wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS), tomography, X-ray absorption and photoemission spectroscopy (XAS/XPS), Auger electron spectroscopy (AES).
WP6: Mechanical, magnetic, catalytic, corrosion and tribocorrosion properties
The main objectives of WP6 are the in-depth characterization of the physical (magnetic, mechanical) and physico-chemical (corrosion, wettability, catalytic and tribocorrosion) properties of the fabricated materials. Moreover, other properties (e.g. antibiocide and antibiofouling), relevant to the application fields of the materials, will be evaluated.
This WP is strongly linked to Work Packages WP3-WP5 and, in turn, to WP2. Whenever needed, material design will be revised and synthesis procedures will be modified in order to attain optimized material performance.
WP7: Towards sustainable market
This WP aims at paving the way for the implementation of the developed SELECTA materials in innovative technology and industrial products. Optimized protective coatings will be up-scaled. Nanoporous Cu- and Al-based alloys will be employed as water purification membranes.
Demonstrator magnetic MEMS/NEMS prototypes (e.g., sharp magnetic tips, watch components, micro/nano-helices, high-temperature magnetic actuators) will be validated and transferred to industry for in-series production. The miniaturized components developed in WP4 will be integrated into hybrid (magnetic + photocatalytic) robotic platforms for use in environmental remediation
WP8: Training, Communication, dissemination
This WP aims to provide, coordinate and monitor all the training activities (local & Network-wide) of the recruited ESRs. Training will be performed via secondments (in academic or industrial partners), as well as during the SELECTA meetings (summer and winter school, Workshops, etc.).
Besides training on research methodologies (metrology, different experimental techniques –synthesis and characterization–), this WP also aims at improving soft skills of the ESRs in aspects like writing of scientific papers, communication skills (in conferences), commercialization of products, career planning, management, negotiation skills, information retrieval and intellectual property right.