New Functional Materials

Attributing the key role of materials research in the technology advancement has been recognized as crucial for the economic development of modern societies. Materials research has generated countless advances in areas such as electronics, information technologies, automotive and aerospace transportation, biomedicine, energy storage as well as nanotechnologies. The Center’s research unit New Functional Materials (NFM) will be devoted to the synthesis, characterization, simulation and developing of new functional materials for support and implementation of high-tech industries in Croatia. One of the aims of the NFM is to assemble the efforts, integrate people and promote interdisciplinary research of the RBI laboratories in materials science, the sensor research group of the KONČAR – Institute for Electrotechnik, Institute of Physics and Department of Physics of Medical Faculty, University of Zagreb. It is based on the past successful materials research already presented at RBI and partner institutions. The NFM will bring together established leading researchers and prominent young scientists in developing cutting edge ideas in synthesis, characterization and application of new metal oxides, semiconductors, metallic, ceramic, and electronic materials into manufactured products. The tailored materials are intended to boost both basic and applied research. A combination of the chemical and physical approaches is aimed to accelerate the discoveries of new functional materials through innovations in synthesis, measurements, modeling and applications. The CEF is distinguished by the state-of-the-art materials preparation and characterization facilities, dedicated personnel, and a strong commitment to engaging industrial participants in collaborative research. The CEF will also provide enhanced educational initiatives towards the primary goal of fueling economic growth of the Zagreb’s region and collaborate with other materials NFMs of excellence throughout Croatia as it grows. The NFM will also cooperate with researchers outside the academia and establish ties with leading Croatian industries.

Ion Beam Physics and Technology

Ion beams of MeV energies are standard research tool in many areas of science, from basic nuclear physics to various topics in materials and medical studies. Besides the accelerators, experiments in these different physics fields share many other aspects, like many methods and techniques in both experimental work and data analysis. Here we start from these common features of experimental work and propose research plan for extensive studies in ion beam analysis, material physics, radiation detectors and low energy nuclear physics. Common instrumentation basis of the proposal is the accelerator complex of the Ruđer Bošković Institute which is the largest research facility in Croatia and the only one providing trans-national access to EU researchers within the FP7 program. State of the art techniques that already exist at the facility are excellent basis for the proposed research topics. . Another important ingredient for success of the proposed center is skilled, experienced and internationally recognized staff. Involved researchers have not only scientific expertise in these topics but also large experience in execution of internationally funded projects.
Interaction of ion beams with target matter is in the focus of all experimental approaches. Knowledge on the basic processes of ion interaction with matter will be used to characterize unknown target materials and in particular their composition. Novelty of this analytical approach is investigation of processes that are sensitive to chemical composition of the sample, such as desorption of surface molecules that could be analyzed by time-of-flight spectrometry. Considering controlled modification of the material, investigations of effects that ions have on the nanometer scale could be used to develop a novel nano-structuring tool. Recent discovery of quantum dots ordering using ion beams encourages this field of research. If an ion microbeam exposes radiation detectors, investigation of charge collection processes could be used to develop novel detector types. Here, investigations of diamond as a future sensor material offer numerous possibilities. Such developments will have, among others, strong impact to investigations of basic phenomena of nuclear physics, for which some particular accelerated ions collide with known target isotope with aim to investigate nuclear reactions. Using the RBI and other larger accelerator facilities, experiments will be proposed which target the key questions in understanding of nuclear collective phenomena (pairing, clustering), and nuclear astrophysics.
Finally, development of state of the art instrumentation, irradiation and analysis techniques, materials structuring tools and related technology, will ensure wider application of know-how in other research fields, in applications of public importance and in transfer of knowledge to industry, generating large impact on general society.