Tekniker-IK4 is providing Basque small and medium-sized enterprises with access to the main European micro and nanotechnology research installations, thanks to its participation in EUMINAfab. Since the end of last year the Basque technological centre has been part of the first European platform of research into micro and nanotechnologies in which the principal centres in the continent share resources in this field. This enables providing open, cost-free access for users to state-of-the-art technologies and to the manufacture and characterisation of a multitude of functional materials.
This type of installation is normally out of the reach of small and medium sized businesses as well as of most academic institutions, due to its high cost and level of specialisation. Thus, being able to take part in a consortium such as EUMINAfab open to users is an innovative way for these micro and nanotechnology organisations to strengthen and complement their technological portfolio, given that access to its resources is open and free of charge.
Moreover, this innovative project will enable the exchange of the scientific and technological capacities of 10 European institutions specialised in the field of micro and nanotechnologies, from industry to the university, making it a reference for European researchers in this sphere.
Tekniker-IK4 is the only partner from Spain in EUMINAfab, a consortium made up of nine other partners: Cardiff University (the United Kingdom), the Centro Ricerche FIAT (Italy), Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (France), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany), Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (Germany), IMS Nanofabrication (Austria), Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (Sweden), MiPlaza Philips Research Europe (the Netherlands) and the National Physical Laboratory (the United Kingdom).
EUMINAfab’s technological provision incorporates 36 installations with state-of-the-art scientific equipment and the required human technical backup, making it a first class tool for drawing up projects in the field of micro and nanomanufacture, PVD (physical vapour deposition), replication and characterisation. These are the latest manufacturing technologies in this sphere, giving rise to applications in a multitude of different materials. In total, these installations represent capital investment of 200 million euros.
The three areas in which the project partners share knowledge have multiple applications, such as the manufacture of optical components, mechanical components on a microscale, submicromometric precision moulds, luminous emission devices, electrodes, temperature sensors and polymer, metal or glass microcomponents.
EUMINAfab and its partners have obtained funding from the European Union until 2013 through the VII Framework Programme, with the aim of facilitating the incorporation into industry of emerging technologies to develop new products and create competitive and financial advantages for researchers, engineers and developers of micro and nanotechnology products. Moreover, the European Commission aids international access to EUMINAfab installations on refunding the cost of access to installations and travel costs of its users.
Through the combination and exchange of emerging and converging micro and nanotechnologies, EUMINAfab has achieved the acceleration of the development processes of users by 30%. Moreover, EUMINAfab, together with its users, are enhancing these technologies in an ongoing manner, given that, at the same time, they are developing a system of knowledge management open to its users.
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