The development of new materials requires a deep understanding of the links between processing parameters, the resulting microstructures and, ultimately, the properties in applications. Modern materials are optimized at all the scales from macro- to nanoscale. Thus, nowadays, microstructural characterization needs to be performed at nanometric or even atomic scales. These scales go far beyond routine characterizations in manufacturing industries. The complete microstructural characterization of advanced materials requires the use of a pivotal tool: high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM).
Hosni Idrissi at the head of a consortium of researchers (also from ULB and UNamur) has obtained FNRS funding for the acquisition of a high-resolution transmission electron microscope (TEM), an advanced instrument, present in most universities in the United States or elsewhere in Europe but almost impossible to find in Wallonia and Brussels. This microscope is versatile, flexible, allowing atomic resolution as well as fine analytical and structural characterization commensurate with the scientific and technical skills at UCLouvain in partnership with ULB and UNamur. This will enable quantitative characterization of the wide range of cutting-edge materials studied within the consortium such as multifunctional (extra) thin films, new materials with high structural performances, organic (bio)materials and self-assembled hybrid materials, or nanostructured catalytic materials. This instrument will allow the development of basic research, of research and development as well as support for industrial production through more specific expertise in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.