Advanced Research Unit for Epitaxial Thin Films and Nanostructures of Functional Materials

Research at the Advanced Research Unit for Epitaxial Thin Films and Nanostructures of Functional Materials mainly focuses on epitaxial films and heterostructures of multifunctional materials, in particular ferroic and multiferroic materials and their areas of application.

Ferroic materials are a functional materials subset that includes piezoelectric, pyroelectric, and ferroelectric materials as well as magnetic materials. A material is said to be multiferroic when it possesses the properties of several of these families of functional materials simultaneously.

The Advanced Research Unit for Epitaxial Thin Films and Nanostructures of Functional Materials supports research to develop this fascinating and promising class of new multifunctional materials and contributes to the development of advanced synthesizing and characterization technologies.

Manufacturing thin and ultra-thin films of complex materials requires both extensive expertise and state-of-the-art coating equipment. Epitaxial thin films are the highest quality crystalline thin films. Their superior quality and atomic and molecular properties make them ideally suited for producing high-quality nanocomposites and metamaterials that can be used in innovative devices.

Characterizing synthesized epitaxial thin films at the nanoscale requires sophisticated tools. High-resolution X-ray diffractometry techniques and scanning probe microscopy may be used in advanced modes, along with a variety of electrical and optical measurement equipment.

The high-resolution X-ray diffractometer makes it possible to accurately analyze and evaluate the crystal structure and epitaxy quality of new advanced thin films.

The scanning probe microscope can be configured for atomic force microscopy, magnetic force microscopy, piezoelectric force microscopy, and conductive atomic force microscopy, and allows for nanoscale mapping and comprehensive characterization of the various functional properties of our new materials and devices.

The Advanced Research Unit for Epitaxial Thin Films and Nanostructures of Functional Materials is open to faculty members, students, and research staff of the Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre for their research projects.

Our resources may also be used for external collaborations and R&D contracts. Please contact us for more information on our services.

Ferroic materials are used in a wide range of applications including magnetic storage (e.g., hard disks), pyroelectric fire detectors, multiple applications of piezoelectric materials, thin-film ferroelectric tunable filters (found in all smart phones), and more.

Multiferroic materials, and in particular magnetoelectric multiferroic materials, are poised to extend this already broad range of applications even further. These materials appear well suited for developing faster data storage devices that use much less power and therefore generate much less heat. They could also potentially lead to a new generation of highly sensitive magnetic field detectors capable of operating at room temperature, unlike the SQUID detectors currently used in medical imaging devices, which must be cooled to very low temperatures.

The field of spintronics also shows many promising applications.

Equipment for the Advanced Research Unit for Epitaxial Thin Films and Nanostructures of Functional Materials was obtained through grants from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the NSERC Research Tools and Instruments Program.

Contacts

Alain Pignolet
Professor and Scientific leader
Phone: 514-228-6805
Email: pignolet@emt.inrs.ca

Advanced Research Unit for Epitaxial Thin Films and Nanostructures of Functional Materials

Institut national de la recherche scientifique

Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre

1650 blvd. Lionel-Boulet

Varennes, Quebec J3X 1S2

Canada