Realize your nano vision

EuroNanoLab: an integration project at European scale for aca-demic nanofabrication centres

Last Updated Jun 2018
By: Thomas Swahn

Within Myfab in Sweden, researchers and entrepreneurs have been at the nanotechnology forefront since many years, and the activities, which involves 800 researchers and entrepreneurs from academy and 100 companies, range from basic science, materials research (Chalmers coordinates the Graphene Flagship), advanced electronics (microwave-, mm-wave and THz-electronics, wide-bandgap electronics), quantum technology, bionano to mention a few important areas. 


Whether in the field of science, artificial intelligence or big data, tomorrow’s intelligent systems will be based on breakthrough innovations such as quantum technologies, which will significantly increase the computing capacity of processors, generalize inviolable encrypted communications or create new high-performance sensors. Transistors at the atomic scale that will achieve ultimate degrees of miniaturization are also within reach, and in the field of medicine, development of nano-biosystems implanted on people and able to monitor in real time their health condition have been proposed.


To develop such applications, innovative components, that rely strongly on advanced nanofabrication technologies, must be designed, fabricated, and tested. Such nanotechnologies require high-level cleanrooms as well as costly equipment, to enable the fabrication with nanometre precision. Given these considerable challenges, the majority of developed countries, particularly the United States and South Korea, invest heavily in research on nanofabrication.




In Europe, the academic strengths in nanofabrication are still too fragmented: there are at least seventy European university nanofabrication centres of large or medium size, which develop their know-how without any real coordination. Conscious of this dispersion, several European countries (Sweden, France, Norway, The Netherlands) have already created national networks of academic cleanroom laboratories for nanofabrication to foster collaboration at the national level. Together with four other countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy and the Czech Republic), these countries have established the EuroNanoLab consortium, which currently includes 26 academic cleanrooms, representing a total value of 1.5 billion euros.


To make better use of the existing investment, EuroNanoLab wants to integrate this academic research infrastructure around a "central hub", which will be its orchestra leader. This new infrastructure will therefore be distributed on a European scale but, nevertheless, be able to develop a common strategy and support major European programs such as the Graphene, Quantum Technology and the Human Brain Flagships, as well as future strategic research programs.


Such an organization will enable distribution of the technological developments optimally between the most competent nanofabrication centres. Furthermore, by sharing the technologies EuroNanoLab will ensure that all centres benefit from the latest results obtained by the others. Coordinated by CNRS in France, and bringing together motivated partners, this initiative is intended to be extended to all European countries ready to contribute. Bringing together the community of academic nanofabrication centres, this new infrastructure will also become a preferred collaborator for technological research organizations (RTO) and their industrial partners. This enables to transfer new know-how, developed by the academic centres, more efficiently to industry.


Photo 1 - CNR-Italy.


Photo 2 - © CNRS Photo Gallery-PERRIN Emmanuel, France.