Focus research areas and medium term plans of EK MFA and its research groups
The main tasks of the Centre for Energy Research Institute of Technical Physics and Materials Science (EK MFA) did not change in the last few years: research on nanometer scale functional materials exploring their physical, chemical and biological properties, as well as the exploitation of these properties in the development of integrated nano/microsystems, sensors, and non-destructive characterisation techniques.
Moreover the institute coordinates a large domestic grant on renewable energy on the basis of material research and characterisation knowledge. Important task of the institute is the technical support of the SMEs and the university education, the utilisation of the research infrastructure for serving the needs of graduate and postgraduate education (TDK, BSc, MSc, and PhD) in the scheme of an open access laboratory.
Director: Dr. Béla Pécz, pecz.bela @ ek-cer.hu
Nanostructures Department (Head: Dr. Levente Tapasztó, tapaszto.levente @ ek-cer.hu)
The main activity of the Nanostructures Department is the research of two-dimensional (2D) materials. Their research activity covers the synthesis of 2D materials with various techniques, their atomic-scale characterization and modification, as well as exploring their electronic and optical properties. Beyond the investigation of graphene on-going for more than ten years, the focus of attention shifted towards the research of 2D transition metal chalcogenides and topological insulators. The Department is also active in the investigations of biological and bioinspired photonic nanostructures.
Mid term strategy: Defect-engineering the properties of novel 2D materials through atomic scale modification of their structure and investigating the emerging novel properties. Precise fabrication of 2D hetero-structures (artificial crystals) built layer-by-layer from various 2D crystals with controlled rotational orientation, and investigating the atomic and electronic structure of the new materials. Realization of novel proof-of-concept electronic devices based on nanometer precision fabrication of various 2D materials by scanning probe techniques (STM AFM).
Thin Film Physics Department (Head: Dr. Katalin Balázsi, balazsi.katalin @ ek-cer.hu)
The research fields of the Thin Film Physics Department are: the development of various thin films and coatings, evaluation of modern 2D semiconductor layers and heterostructures; development of technical ceramics and bioceramics, evolution and study of a new layered Si3N4 / graphene composites and nanostructured calcium phosphates; furthermore implementation of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) sample preparation, methodological and assay methods.
Mid term strategy: Continue the research on the „Strategic workshop for the technological challenges in renewable energy systems” thanks to the VEKOP project” in which they develop and study new solar cell materials Fe2S2 and FeSiS4 layers. Two recent projects (FLAG.ERA, NKFI NNE) will support the research of ceramic composite and development of multilayered Si3N4 – Si3N4 / graphene – graphene coatings or nanostructured transparent AlON ceramics. They will prepare and study novel semiconducting 2D layers with new physical properties. Thanks to new generation THEMIS microscope, Thin Film Physisc Laboratory will improve the possibilities for national, international projects and industrial co-operations as well. The teaching of the modern transmission electron microscopy as a method for the structural characterization of novel materials will be an important task for the potential users.
Department of Microtechnology – Nanosensors and Microsystems Laboratory (Head of Nanosensors: Dr. János Volk, volk.janos @ ek-cer.hu, Head of Microsystems: Dr. Péter Fürjes, furjes.peter @ ek-cer.hu)
The mission of the Nanosensors Laboratory is to utilize the emerging results of nanotechnology and materials science for novel physical sensors, particularly for micro- and nanometer sized electromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS). The research activities includes the exploration of piezoelectric thin films, development of semiconductor based sensors and low-power consumption or even autonomous sensor networks.
The Microsystems Laboratory is intended to develop, fabrication and integration of micro and nanosystems, sensor structures whom application can open new perspectives in the field of medical diagnostics, Minimal Invasive Surgery techniques, energy efficient autonomous systems (sensor arrays, autonomous driving). Besides these topics the research activities extended to the directions of optical applications (spectroscopy), environment monitoring (water analysis) and security (gas sensing).
Mid term strategy: Research on MEMS / NEMS sensor principles, development of autonomous, flexible, wearable and integrated micro and nanosystems for environmental (gas/chemical sensors), physical (mechanical, optical, thermal), medical (microfluidic, biochemical sensors,) applications and their validation in real conditions. Development special microfluidic systems for sample transport, preparation and analysis in Lab-on-a-Chip devices. Research and development fabrication technology of solid state nanofluidic structures applicable for molecule detection.Development of various semiconductor micro and nanosystems, application of new materials, structures and functions, development of the suitable technologies, reachng from TRL 1-2 to TRL 6, transfer the results to SMEs and industrial partners.
Photonics Department (Head: Dr. Péter Petrik, petrik.peter @ ek-cer.hu)
The Photonics Department develops unique methods and tools for non-destructive optical and magnetic measurement of surface nanostructures and materials (spectroscopy; magnetic material testing; biosensors; surface curvature measurement; surface testing; water contamination).
Mid term strategy: Development and improvement of non-destructive material characterization methods in magnetic testing of industrial materials, single-particle spectroscopy and preparation of nanostructures, optical surface characterization and sensing. Targeted applications include the investigation of industrial metal constructions, sensors, nanostructures for optoelectonics and photovoltaics. Targeted partners (as a continuation of previous activities): Paks Nuclear Power Plant and other high-tech companies (Semilab, Bosch, Woollam, SGS Dental, …)
Nanobiosensorics Momentum Group (Head: Dr. Róbert Horváth, Horvath.robert @ ek-cer.hu)
The Nanobiosensorics Research Group focuses on the development and application of label-free optical biosensors and combines these technologies with single cell manipulation techniques. Their research topics are ranging from the kinetics of cellular adhesion, migration and signalling on novel biomimetic interfaces to the mathematical modelling of the measured biological signals
Mid term strategy: The main objectives are to develop highly sensitive and reliable label-free high-content optical methods, capable of monitoring single cells from a heterogeneous population of cells; the optical sensors will be combined with single cell manipulation techniques (micropipette, FluidFM) to pick up and position the individual cells to be studied. Another goal is to fabricate functional surfaces with well-controlled chemical, mechanical and topological properties. Various compounds (anticancer agents, exosomes, other cells) will be added to the cells and tissue models and their responses will be monitored. Optical and biophysical theoretical models for interpreting the measured signals and the kinetics of changes will be developed.
Complex Systems Department (Head: Dr. Géza Ódor), odor.geza @ ek-cer.hu)
The traditional research field of the small sized group is the statistical physical analysis of equilibrium and non-equilibrium systems which they have recently begun to extend to include research and development in learning algorithms.
Mid term strategy: Exploration of the mechanisms and phenomena supporting the maintenance of cooperation in biological or social systems, and systematic analytical investigation of the interplay between the four types of elementary interactions affecting the evolutionary processes. Applying the concepts and tools of statistical physics we analyse different dynamical processes (e.g., Griffiths phases and avalanches) on networks including spatial features. Developing different self-learning algorithms we wish to study relationships and historical connections between the characteristic features hidden in data of folk melody and genetics.