Multidisciplinary Research

CERIC operates in the wide research area of nanoscale analysis and synthesis of materials sciences, including connections to biomaterials and structural biology.

Analytical facilities for materials sciences operating at the nano (atomic) level are based on the use of probes capable of sensing single atoms/electrons/nuclei: these probes are electromagnetic waves from radio to ultra-short-wavelengths in the hard X-Rays region (with techniques ranging from NMR and photon spectroscopies to microscopies), electrons (in high definition transmission, diffraction or reflection microscopies), neutrons (in scattering and or transmission spectroscopies). Other more specialized probes (protons, muons, positrons etc.) are used in particular cases but are not planned at the moment in CERIC.

The equipment used in the analytical facilities consists typically of an advanced-quality source of the appropriate probe (from high frequency/high field NMR to high brilliance synchrotrons and free electron lasers, to high flux-slow neutrons) connected to “measuring equipment” which allows full exploitation of the quality of the source and collection of the relevant data.

Synthesis facilities for material preparation at the atomic level of control are a wide class, ranging from physico-chemical to chemical assembly (e.g. from vacuum deposition to sputtering, laser ablation, to molecular epitaxy and chemical structuring) to biological selection and assembly (e.g. PCR production of proteins). These are typically referred to as “sample preparation facilities” and are a very important asset when properly connected to the analytical facilities, e.g., bio-crystallography laboratories including the growth of protein crystals.

Modern materials and life sciences require the capability to analyze and characterize the same material with several complementary probes and techniques and also to manipulate different aspects in its synthesis and preparation.

The competitive advantage of CERIC is the ability to offer, in an integrated way and at international level, access to most high quality probes and to a large inventory of different characterization and preparation techniques.