Within GIANT, the bulk of activities are carried out by teams from CEA, CNRS, UJF and Grenoble-INP. These collaborative efforts go back many years and involve several regional, national and European projects.
At a fundamental level, this work takes place in close conjunction with
- quantum nanoelectronics
- mesoscopic physics
- molecular electronics/spintronics, with clear potential for technological applications.
For example, in 2003 the CEA launched a major in-house program on chemtronics to mobilize its fundamental research laboratories working on chemistry and physics as well as its microelectronics laboratories, structuring their work by focusing on common goals. This activity is further supported by the Nanosciences Foundation which has identified molecular electronics as a key field.
Fundamental aspects, in particular numerical simulation, spintronics and molecular transport, are being developed, with the participation of GIANT members’ large-scale European research facilities.
Semi-empirical quantum simulations are being developed by a number of teams and in various fields relating to chemtronics and molecular electronics: electron transport for the study of the structural and electronic properties of nanostructured systems such as nanotubes and, recently, graphene, with exceptional transport capabilities that should lead to new advances in nanoelectronics,the study of quantum-transport or Hall-effect properties,the study of the optical properties of doped or functionalized nanotubes and nanowires.
The objects studied are model systems (single atoms, molecules, nanoparticles, spin chains, 2D systems) that are sufficiently simple to enable the emergence of new phenomena resulting from fundamental interactions. Examples include the study and control of the coherent quantum dynamics of magnetization in molecular systems or the creation and study of graphene-based components.
In parallel with the research presented above, structuring and addressing mechanisms for nanomaterials are studied using both “bottom up” and “top down” approaches, including unorthodox lithography techniques and colloid localization.
Pioneering teams are working on the Chemtronics program. Conjugated macromolecules, model molecular semiconductors, form the basis of organic photovoltaics, or, at the scale of a macromolecular chain (oligomers), of organic and molecular electronics. The Chemtronics program focuses on the development of hybrid nanostructure materials combining mixtures of polymers and photoluminescent nanoparticles, nanowires or carbon nanotubes. Such hybrid structures require molecular engineering to make the different types of nano-objects compatible. The various components must also be correctly positioned and functionalized. Long-standing competence in the electrochemistry of rare-earth metal complexes, which are intrinsically electroactive, contributes to the development of innovative molecular photonics. This know-how has led to the design of redox-based memories, a step in hybrid electronics that includes molecules in CMOS systems. Molecular electrochemistry is also used in the design of bioelectrochemical sensors. The trend toward nanometric sizes in electromechanical systems on the micrometric (MEMS) and nanometric (NEMS) scales requires functionalization of nano-objects by biological components (DNA, antibodies, etc.). Again, the necessary a multi-disciplinary approach was possible because of collaboration between several teams. These efforts are now producing results in R&D and industrial transfers.