NanoLabNL will invest firmly in its research facilities in the coming years. This week, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs confirmed a financial contribution to the activities of NanoLabNL, as part of the so-called Toekomstfonds (Future Fund). The Dutch national facility for nanotechnological research will use the acquired resources to stimulate the development of proof-of-concepts, demonstrators and small scale production.
The total investment sums up to 13.5 million euros, with 50 per cent covered by the NanoLabNL partners and the other half being invested from the Toekomstfonds. The investments appear crucial for future nanotechnological research activities, including new materials, photonics, quantum technology, nanoelectronics, and micro fluids.
From research to practice
With the additional funds, NanoLabNL will improve its research facilities, accelerating the application of research results in new products and services. “With NanoLabNL, we have a unique and complementary network of research facilities that gives the Netherlands a frontrunner position internationally”, states prof.dr. A.J.H.M. (Guus) Rijnders, president of the NanoLabNL foundation. “That position can only be retained with a combination of facilitating state-of-the-art research, stimulating commercialization and intensifying the collaboration with the industry, providing open access to our facilities to promising companies and ideas. This investment will mean a substantial step in accomplishing that.”
NanoLab will invest in three process lines:
Pilot line for complex materials (MESA+ Nanolab - University of Twente)
Applications in which complex (oxide) materials play a role, require specific equipment. The process line is centered around the in Twente developed Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) technique. Realization of a process line for integration of these materials on an industrial scale will offer opportunities to secure high quality outcome.
Integrated Photonics (NanoLab@TU/e - TU Eindhoven)
For the production of new generations Photonic Integrated Circuits), a facility with state-of-the-art equipment for the processing of Indium Phosphide and related III/V semiconductors is required. Establishing the Institute for Photonic Integration as part of the Photon Delta initative in Eindhoven will boost both internal and external use of NanoLab@TU/e. The investment in equipment will focus on Photonic Integration.
Next Generation Quantum Device Fabricage (Kavli Nanolab - TU Delft)
Next generation quantum devices and further technological development of QuTech and external usage require the availability of state-of-the-art nano production tools. It is increasingly important to meet more stringent demands on controlling conditions of nanoscale manufacturing processes, such as interfaces, layer thicknesses, compositions and contaminants. The proposed investment focuses on new quantum devices.
Nanotechnology operates at the scale of nanometres – that is, millionths of millimetres. Research in this field makes great demands on laboratories; they must be extremely clean and as vibration-free as possible. In the framework of NanoLabNL, TU Delft, Eindhoven University of Technology, University of Groningen and University of Twente, working with TNO and Philips Innovation Services, run the Netherlands' four laboratories equipped for nanotechnology research. NanoLabNL is included in the National Roadmap for large-scale research facilities.
About the Toekomstfonds
The Toekomstfonds (Future Fund), more specific the Toekomstfondskrediet OnderzoeksFaciliteiten (TOF; Future Fund Credit Scheme for Research Facilities) was founded in 2014, and is meant for research facilities of the national research institutes. With the credit scheme, the national government invests in high quality facilities for research, which are significantly contributing to new innovative products and services. The credit scheme offers interest-free loans that need to be refunded. Because the fund aims at research that is in a relatively early stage, long-term repayments are applied.