Photo-electro-chemical (PEC) water splitting
Photo-electro-chemical (PEC) water splitting offers a promising route for hydrogen production as clean energy carrier for future. We study here, from a microtechnological perspective, hematite-based thin films as a photo-anode material. Hematite photo-anodes are fabricated in a controlled manner using simple thermal oxidation of Fe/steel in ambient air and characterized the photo-/electrochemical performance by methods such as cyclic voltammetry (CV), Mott-Schottky (MS), electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), and etc. Furthermore, Kelvin probe (KP) and Ambient photoelectron spectroscopy (APS) are used to study the surface band structure of hematite in ambient conditions which helps to understand and improve the its PEC performance. Surface band structure of semiconductors plays also a key role in the performance of semiconductors used for many other applications, for instance solar cells, and field-effect-transistor (FET)
Microfabricated electrostatic force compensation scales
According to macroscopic electromagnetic force compensation scales with all the advantages like precise measurement in relatively large measuring ranges and even the traceability of masses to SI- units, a microscopic version will be developed and researched on. Instead of electromagnetic forces for mass compensation an integrated electrostatic force actuator are used for this scale with a measuring range from nanonewton to high micronewton or rather microgram to milligram with a resolution of single digit nanonewton, which will be increased to the end of this project.
A non-mechanical micropump based on the electrowetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) effect
Microfluidics have been extensively in progress in recent years thanks to Micro Electromechanical Systems (MEMS) technology. Their application gained popularity in various fields such as the biomedical field where handling miniature and very precise amounts of fluid is a challenge. The aim of the project is aside from other microfluidic components to develop a non-mechanical, chip-integrated micropump based on the electrowetting effect. The micropump should enable to precisely dose a very small amount of fluid in the order of nanolitres. Such microfluidic systems are of outstanding importance for applications such as drug delivery or sample characterization. They are also considered as a fundamental building block of lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices or micro-total-analysis systems (µTAS).
This project is a cooperation between 5microns GmbH, Kompass GmbH and the Technische Universität Ilmenau, funded by the "Zentrale Innovationsprogram Mittelstand" (ZIM).
Development of plasmonic structures for surface-mounted Raman spectroscopy probes by high-precision nanoimprint lithography
Plasmonic structures for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) probes have high research potential as they promise highly localized label-free detection of biochemical markers, which would be of great benefit for example in biological analysis. Nanofabrication of such probes requires highly precise and reproducible technologies. In this respect, nanopositioning and nanomeasuring machine (NPMM) in combination with nanoimprint lithography (NIL) provides precise placement and assembly of SERS probes over an extended workspace.
Plasma structuring of complex materials
Dry chemical etching is the preferred technology for micro- and nanostructuring of a wide range of materials used in Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MOEMS). The most widely used and researched process is reactive ion etching (RIE) of silicon, which can produce both isotropic and anisotropic structures with high aspect ratios.
In addition to silicon, other and more complex materials with special material properties are playing an increasingly important role. These include, for example, glasses and glass ceramics, which have both complex compositions and complex material structure. This imposes high demands on structuring and requires processes tailored to the material and the application.
The interactions between material, process and suitable masking methods play a critical role and are currently the subject of our ongoing research. The aim is the investigation of tailored structuring processes for previously unconventional materials in microsystems technology. This should open the integration of novel materials into tailored microsystems.