The Foundation follows three macro research lines:
Additive Manufacturing, research on Graphene and the deposition of thin films.
These can also be defined as enabling technologies or KET (Key Enabling Technologies), considered fundamental for growth and employment, since they develop solutions or technological improvements through research experiences capable of revitalizing the production system.
Within a dedicated department, FEA is responsible for the study and optimization for innovative materials of Powder Bed Fusion (PBF) additive production technology, i.e. the selective melting of successive layers of metal powder. Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Selective Electron Beam Melting (SEBM) are part of PBF technology.
We take care of every step of production, from hardware system optimization (in collaboration with external companies) to dedicated re-design of new components.
We have also designed, together with other partners, a new printer with electronic source for which we have obtained an industrial patent (Brev: 102016000082446).
Research on Graphene and Graphene Flagship
Graphene, currently among the main nanomaterials of interest, consists of a single layer of carbon atoms bound together to form a hexagonal structure that can be easily modified and functionalized. Its exceptional properties make it particularly attractive in different application fields, such as sensors, photonics, biomedical technologies and electronics. In addition, the development of innovative composite materials is one of the fields of choice both in research and industry.
The space sector considers graphene a nanomaterial with great potential for specific applications. For example, the European Space Agency is involved in several projects aimed at evaluating an increase in thermal performance of certain functional components, improving energy storage systems and using graphene inks for printing in space.
As a partner of the Graphene Flagship, we are conducting research into the development of metal and polymeric composites for space applications.
Thin films deposition
The Foundation has been involved for years in the development of vacuum systems for thin film deposition and the development of complex materials with the help of PED (Pulsed Electron Deposition) and Sputtering technologies. For the evaluation of deposited materials with our systems we use single point spectrometers for thickness measurement and optical and electronic microscopy for surface quality.
Special attention is given to the production of energy from renewable sources. Thanks to the expertise gained in the field of conventional and thin film photovoltaics, we have also submitted a patent proposal for a pre-industrial line for the deposition of CIGS for photovoltaic applications.