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Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Thin-film structures and plasma surface engineering

Periods
Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
2.09.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Electronic components and technologies   
2.04.00  Engineering sciences and technologies  Materials science and technology   

Code Science Field
P240  Natural sciences and mathematics  Gases, fluid dynamics, plasmas 

Code Science Field
2.02  Engineering and Technology  Electrical engineering, Electronic engineering, Information engineering 
Keywords
gaseous plasma, electronic technologies, vacuum, thin films, surface characterization, surface engineering
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (45)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  34541  PhD Metka Benčina  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2017 - 2021  81 
2.  22289  PhD Uroš Cvelbar  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2021  730 
3.  18271  PhD Miha Čekada  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  443 
4.  26476  PhD Aleksander Drenik  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2016  700 
5.  35463  PhD Aljaž Drnovšek  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  98 
6.  53451  Matej Drobnič  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  50 
7.  53529  Jernej Ekar  Electronic components and technologies  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  42 
8.  33330  PhD Gregor Filipič  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2021  129 
9.  18635  Tatjana Filipič    Technical associate  2015 - 2021  24 
10.  15601  Jožko Fišer    Technical associate  2015 - 2021  12 
11.  55765  Žan Gostenčnik  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2021  13 
12.  37471  PhD Nataša Hojnik  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2021  62 
13.  38207  PhD Matej Holc  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2021  20 
14.  53768  PhD Petr Humpoliček  Animal production  Researcher  2019 
15.  34439  PhD Gregor Jakša  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2016  37 
16.  28480  PhD Ita Junkar  Medical sciences  Researcher  2015 - 2021  288 
17.  12616  PhD Darinka Kek Merl  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2015 - 2016  129 
18.  35588  Urška Kisovec    Technical associate  2017 - 2021 
19.  52048  PhD Martin Košiček  Electronic components and technologies  Junior researcher  2018 - 2021  28 
20.  15703  PhD Janez Kovač  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2021  680 
21.  53199  PhD Kinga Kutasi  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2019 
22.  53287  PhD Marian Lehocky  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2019 - 2021  41 
23.  52435  Eva Levičnik    Technical associate  2019 - 2020  10 
24.  52051  PhD Dane Lojen  Electronic components and technologies  Junior researcher  2018 - 2021  13 
25.  39474  PhD Nastja Mahne  Materials science and technology  Junior researcher  2017 - 2021  14 
26.  15602  Damjan Matelič    Technical associate  2015 - 2021 
27.  32159  PhD Martina Modic  Medical sciences  Researcher  2015 - 2021  165 
28.  10429  PhD Miran Mozetič  Electronic components and technologies  Head  2015 - 2021  1,356 
29.  54391  Jaka Olenik    Technical associate  2021 
30.  26463  PhD Matjaž Panjan  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2021  230 
31.  09090  PhD Peter Panjan  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  792 
32.  29536  PhD Srečko Paskvale  Materials science and technology  Researcher  2015 - 2016  47 
33.  52423  PhD Domen Paul  Electronic components and technologies  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  24 
34.  54940  PhD Dean Popović  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2020 - 2021 
35.  33326  PhD Gregor Primc  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2021  268 
36.  34451  PhD Nina Recek  Biotechnology  Researcher  2015 - 2021  85 
37.  37482  PhD Matic Resnik  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2021  52 
38.  53463  PhD Pia Starič  Medical sciences  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  53 
39.  39921  Uroš Stele    Technical associate  2018 - 2021 
40.  52409  Petra Stražar  Materials science and technology  Technical associate  2019 - 2020  21 
41.  52497  Maja Šukarov    Technical associate  2019 - 2021 
42.  17622  Janez Trtnik    Technical associate  2015 - 2021  18 
43.  20048  PhD Alenka Vesel  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2021  695 
44.  31618  PhD Rok Zaplotnik  Electronic components and technologies  Researcher  2015 - 2018  313 
45.  51793  Mark Zver  Biotechnology  Junior researcher  2020 - 2021  16 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  91,384 
Abstract
Properties of surfaces and thin films will be tailored using non-equilibrium gaseous media, especially low-pressure gaseous plasma. Moderately and highly ionized gaseous plasma will be used for deposition of thin films with advanced properties. Powerful pulsed magnetron discharges will be used for optimization of mechanical properties of thin films by nanostructure design. Super-modulus effects will be used to enhance the nano-hardness of AlTiN/TiN nano-layered coatings, and composites of nano-crystalline TiN embedded in amorphous Si3N4 will be investigated in terms of composition and grain size. Small amounts of alloying elements will be added for specific purposes, e.g. chromium (to reduce sticking), vanadium (to reduce friction) and yttrium (to enhance oxidation resistance). Combinatorial processing will be applied whereby a batch is deposited using a composition gradient in one axis. In this way we will systematically evaluate selected ternary and quaternary coating systems, e.g. CrxAlyV1–yN. Highly ionized plasma will be used also to study behavior of fist wall materials in tokamaks under extreme conditions. Weakly ionized plasma, on the other hand, will be used for tailoring surface properties of advanced materials. Discharge coupling will be optimized in order to make the treatment procedures energetically favorable. Electrode-less discharges of efficiency well above 50% will be used as sources of neutral reactive particles suitable for functionalization of solid materials with required functional groups. Plasma will be created in oxygen, hydrogen, water vapor, nitrogen and ammonia. Functionalization of porous materials will be studied to details in order to optimize properties of materials such as monoliths for filtering biological liquids, scaffolds for growing biological tissues, knitted cardiovascular implants such as vascular grafts, materials used for wound dressings (especially for curing diabetes wounds) and other advanced functional textiles. Apart from low-pressure reactive gaseous plasma and its afterglow, biomedical materials will be also treated using atmospheric pressure non-equilibrium discharges such as plasma bullets to reveal interaction between low-energy, high-power and extremely high electric field discharges with biological cells and tissues. The surface effects caused by interaction of bullets with organic materials will be elaborated. Both low-pressure as well as atmospheric pressure plasma in pulsed mode will be used also for studying basic phenomena responsible for spontaneous growth of one-dimensional nanowires upon exposure of inorganic samples to non-equilibrium gaseous media. Surface properties as well as characteristics of plasma-deposited thin films will be studied using advanced microscopic and spectroscopic techniques for surface and thin film characterization available in our labs (SEM, TEM, AFM, EDX, XPS, ToF-SIMS, AES) as well as at synchrotrons Elettra, Triest, Italy, and Soleil, Orsay, France.
Significance for science
Breakthrough scientific results are foreseen in the following topics: Energy efficiency of discharges suitable for production of radicals. This topic has not been addressed systematically (or at least not published) so promising scientific results are foreseen. The combination of reliable methods for matching network design, measuring techniques for high-frequency discharges and probes for measuring radicals’ density will allow for determination of energy efficiency in terms of energy spent for formation of radicals versus forwarded and total discharge power. Behavior of plasma parameters at transitions between E and H modes. Although this phenomenon has been addressed over a decade ago for plasma created in noble gases at low pressures very little work has been published on behavior in plasma created in reactive (technological important) gases. In fact, the first paper on behavior of O atoms at transitions was published by members of our group in 2011. Systematic work will be performed for several gases (hydrogen, nitrogen, ammonia). Furthermore, our new probes that have been just developed will allow for precise determination of forbidden range of powers, and simultaneous measurements of several plasma parameters at this transition phenomenon. Many papers in prominent specialized journals will be prepared. Mechanisms of thin film growth. The main concept of today's thin film science is to understand the relationship between the deposition parameters and the film properties. With this knowledge one can design new thin film structures, and even predict their properties in advance. The main novelty is proper design of the microstructure/nanostructure while keeping the average chemical composition constant. Starting from a classical, well-established TiAlN single-layer coating, one can develop nanolayered or nanocomposite structures containing the same three elements, but with markedly different properties. The main impact is thus how to establish nanoscience »tools« where a minute change, say a few more atomic layers, profoundly changes the macroscopic properties. The scientific issue in this concept is not only how to deposit such designed coating systems, but also how to characterize them, and how to interpret these findings. Development of novel thin films thus contributes an important part in the fields of advanced materials and nano-science. One-dimensional growth of metal oxide nanowires. This is a hot topic of current plasma nano-science and our recent papers on this topic received by far largest number of citations among our publications. Interesting enough, a generally accepted theory on growing mechanism has not been adopted yet. Systematic research foreseen within the proposed activities will probably lead to confirmation of our hypothesis that electro-migration of metallic ions in extremely high anisotropic electric filed established at plasma – oxidized nanodots interface and instant oxidation due to abundance of reactive radicals governs the one-dimensional growth. Plasma medicine. This is currently the hottest topic in plasma science as breakthrough results are foreseen which may lead to completely new methods of curing diseases such as cancer, diabetes, dementia and cardiovascular diseases. By far highest number of our patents have been filed or/and granted in this field. We foresee breakthrough results in the role electric field plays at treatment of cancer cells with plasma bullets. Systematic work foreseen within proposed activities should give the correlation between the localized electric field induced by ionization wave-front and selective apoptosis/necrosis of cancer cells. Preliminary results obtained in collaboration with plasma nanomedicine centres in Nagoya and Washington are encouraging. Plasma modification of porous materials for application in biology and medicine. This is another hot topic of current plasma science and our research group has just filed a patent application protecting an innov
Significance for the country
Almost all activities of our research group are oriented towards application of plasma technologies in industrial production. We believe the industrial development can be fruitful only after accomplishing extensive applied research and fruitful applied research is only possible providing good understanding of basic phenomena is achieved through basic research. Several technologies developed in the past by members of the program group are nowadays in massive production at Slovenian industrial partners and we foresee expansion of such activities.   Hard protective coatings are nowadays one of the pillars of modern tooling industry. The benefits of using coated tools are several: increased productivity, machining of difficult-to-cut materials, high-speed machining, increased tool lifetime and product quality, and decreased scrap, decreased consumption of cooling liquids and strategic materials; and last but not least – reduced cost. Modern tooling companies are therefore constantly looking for improved coatings for specific applications with a constant push towards lower costs, and higher demands (by the customer and by the regulations). Any advanced society therefore needs modern tooling companies, and they need a support for the specific tasks of surface protection. This extends from standard coating services up to advanced consulting on technological development, wear analysis and prevention, and resolving warranty claims. In Slovenia, there is a very strong automotive sector with numerous mid-size tooling companies. They are too small to afford an extensive R&D on their own and at the same time small enough to be easily adaptable to market requirements. Within this program group, the Department of Thin Films and Surfaces of the Jožef Stefan Institute, has an almost 30-year long experience in implementing hard protective coatings in Slovenian industry. The numerous projects with industrial partners (both applied scientific and purely industrial) are a proof that the industry needs such a support for their activities. One specialty of our group is development of custom-design industrial-size plasma reactors. One such reactor is shown at http://4d.rtvslo.si/arhiv/prispevki-in-izjave-dnevnik/174268434. Many are used nowadays for routine treatment of components in massive production. The Slovenian company Kolektor, for instance, uses large-scale reactors in production of commutators of fuel pumps for automotive industry. Currently over 70% of new cars produced worldwide are equipped with this product. The technology developed by our group is protected by EU, US, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Mexican and Brazilian patents and the project leader received the Puh award for this achievement in 2011 (see his CV). The original patent is available at http://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?FT=D&date=20080116&DB=EPODOC&locale=si_si&CC=EP&NR=1828434B1&KC=B1&ND=4. An important part of research activities proposed in this proposal is elaborating methods for optimization of energy efficiency of plasma reactors and the results of basic research will represent a solid background for development of new energetically beneficial reactors for our industrial partners.   Yet another importance of proposed research for Slovenia's socioeconomic and cultural development is attributed to activities foreseen in the field of plasma medicine. Products such as monoliths for filtering biological liquids, scaffolds for growing biological tissues, knitted cardiovascular implants such as vascular grafts, materials used for wound dressings (especially for curing diabetes wounds) and other advanced functional textiles including UV-protecting bacteriostatic and flame-retarding ones are characterized by extremely high value added and Slovenian companies such as Bia Separations, Bioiks, andTosama have already expressed interest of using our services. Basic research foreseen in this proposal will represent a solid background for development
Most important scientific results Annual report 2015, interim report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2015, interim report
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