NANOMAT technical platform

Managers: Louis Giraudet

Location: University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne - FARMAN REIMS Physics Cluster

URCA's NANOMAT platform has the following tools:

  • Ellipsometer - €100K excl. tax (CREA Building)
  • Rapid thermal processing furnace - €50K excl. tax (UFR SEN Clean Room)
  • Atomic force microscope for nanoelectric measurements - €130K excl. tax (UFR SEN Clean Room)
  • Electron-beam gun evaporator - €150K excl. tax (UFR SEN Clean Room)
  • NanoInfrared and nanothermic microscope - €250K excl. tax (Farman Cluster)
  • High-speed atomic force microscope - €250K excl. tax (Farman Cluster)
  • Atomic force microscope coupled with fluorescence for biology/Health - €250K excl. tax (Farman Cluster)
  • Controlled atmosphere scanning electron microscope and accessories - €700K excl. tax (Farman Cluster) currently being acquired

The particular expertise of the platform primarily focuses on the use and development of near-field microscopes (in particular atomic force microscopy) and electron microscopes.
The platform expertise not only focuses on the usual use of these microscopes but also on original instrumental and methodological developments that make it possible to have specific and unique nanocharacterisation tools.

In terms of the specifics of the experiments developed and available, even though all types of samples can be studied, we have nevertheless specifically developed the techniques for preparing samples and methodologies for studying polymers (organic, plant, etc.) and living organisms (cells, membranes, etc.) for applications in the field of Health/Biology and Agricultural resources/agromaterials. In addition to high-resolution imaging, our area of expertise is also in the local analysis and mapping of mechanical (adhesive force between biomolecules through the functionalisation of tips, mechanical properties of healthy or tumour cells, mechanical properties of agromaterials and biosourced materials, polymer materials for mechanical reinforcement, etc.), chemical (nanoInfrared, molecular recognition), optical (near-field cathodoluminescence, fluorescence techniques), electric (KPFM, nanoEBIC) and thermal (SThM) properties.

These different analyses can be done in any type of conditions (temperature control, variable pressure, vacuum, humid controlled atmosphere, very high-speed imaging), whether with electron microscopy or near-field microscopy.

Among all the techniques developed, we can point to some particularly original ones at international level which have benefited from specific developments.

  • In terms of nanoelectronic measurements: specific methodological development which led to the filing of a patent (SATT project) currently being developed with Brüker - KPFM measurements of polarised components (in particular of organic transistors), which are unique at international level
  • In terms of NanoInfrared AFM, there are only 2 of this type in France at the moment with in addition a thermal-specific aspect developed locally. Its development is linked to the expertise of CA laboratories in nanospectroscopy and thermal fields with particular applications for plant materials and polymers.
  • There are 3 high-speed AFM microscopes with an equivalent configuration (fluorescence coupling and TIRF) [A1] in the world. We carry out specific methodological development mainly for Health/biology studies on cells and membrane/peptide interactions.
  • For the controlled atmosphere scanning electron microscope currently being acquired, methodological development (cryomicroscopy, near-field cathodoluminescence, nanomechanics) based on the skills of the Nano'Mat and PICT platforms for the study of metallic materials, semi-conductors, agromaterials or materials derived from living organisms is planned.
  • We have also developed nanomechanical measurements for Health/biology applications on living cells and tissue and measurements of adhesion between biomolecules via AFM tip functionalisation.

The University of Technology in Troyes and the University of Reims Champagne Ardenne have pooled their equipment and skills on a twin-site (Troyes/UTT and Reims/URCA) Nanomanufacturing and Nanocharacterisation platform dedicated to materials for optics, mechanics, biology and agricultural resources. In Reims in particular the platform specialises in high-resolution imaging and nanocharacterisation of all types of materials, ranging from metallic materials to plants and living cells.

Thanks to the various microscopes present on Nano'Mat (optical, electron and near-field microscopes) and the associated original characterisation tools (chemical analysis, cathodoluminescence, near-field electron, nanomechanics, etc.), it is possible to do multiscale imaging (from nm to several hundred microns) in different work environments (vacuum, controlled atmosphere, controlled temperature). The traditional imaging functions are combined with chemical analysis experiments and analysis of optical, electrical, mechanical and thermal properties which make it possible to get a high resolution to map properties.

The services offered therefore mainly concern nanocharacterisation techniques which make it possible to do high-resolution imaging but also study the specific properties at a local level.

Service offer to companies: no service, but partner research and training activities through research in various forms (engineering internships in the 4th or 5th year of higher education, doctoral thesis, post-doctoral contract, etc.)
Equipment open to non-institutional researchers in the form of either a research partnership or through a contribution to training and operating costs.