An important part of the materials-related research at IMAP involves the development, characterization and modeling of the processing and properties of thin films and coatings, including both metallic and ceramic (mainly metallic oxide) systems. As to the processing, specific lab-scale equipment for electrochemical, physical, thermal or chemical growth and deposition has been developed in-house, featuring in-situ monitoring of internal stress evolution for coupled processing – mechanical testing. Examples include the reactive sputtering of binary oxides, the anodization of metals or semiconductors, and the hydriding and thermal treatment of thin films. Currently envisioned applications include Al oxide for corrosion protection, Si oxide for microelectronics, Pd films for hydrogen technologies, TiO2 films for self-cleaning, Au films for flexible electronics and ZnO layers for solar cells. Besides the unique in-situ monitoring capability, advanced tools and know-how has been gathered over the years for a profound chemical, physico-chemical and structural characterization, including SEM, TEM and X-ray diffraction. Moreover, specific expertise is available for on-chip nanomechanical testing and nanoindentation – nanoscratch techniques. Combining the experimental insights gathered for the processing and characterization finally also allows to develop or improve models for thin film growth, reactivity and mechanical behavior, including stress affected ionic transport in metallic oxides, and the size dependent plasticity of thin metallic films.
- Materials and processes for energy conversion and storage
- (Photo-)electrochemical hydrogen production
- Electronic materials and processing
- Environmental electrochemistry, waste water treatment, porous electrodes, sonochemistry and cavitation
- Functional metallic oxide films, cellular materials selective oxidation
- Surface reactivity of metals and metallic oxides in gaseous and aqueous environments
- In-situ internal stress monitoring, on-line process diagnostics
J. Proost, R. Delmelle, S. Michotte, "Device, method and system for improved uptake, storage and release of hydrogen", International Publication
Number WO 2012/156332 A1.
J. Proost, R. Santoro, G. Deschuyteneer, P. Soumillion, D. Flandre, "Genetically modified bacteriophage, biosensor containing same, and method of use",
International Publication Number WO 2010/142532 A1.
G.P. Beyer, K. Maex and J. Proost, "Method for filling an opening in an insulating layer", European Patent Number 99870058.7-, International Patent
J.A. Helsen, J. Proost and E. Brauns, "Process for preparing glass and for conditioning the raw materials intended for this glass preparation",
International Patent Number WO 96/29292
N. Boucher, N. Clément, B. Cosijns, T. Lambricht, B. De Maeyer and J. Proost, "Mirror", International Publication Number WO 2013/057256 A1