Research themes

Nanostructures

Nanoparticles and nanotechnology

Nanostructured surfaces consist of objects with lateral size 10 – 100 nm. Nanostructured interfaces have gained enormous importance in view of the possibility to utilize deliberately modified physical, chemical or bio-responsive features without affecting the bulk material. We used to study and deposit surfaces of isolated nanopraticles, nanoislands formed by coalescent coagulation, and homogeneous surfaces with nanotexture. In our case the nanoparticles are prepared by gas-phase aggregation synthesis which enables precise size selection and defined manipulation resulting in homogeneous surface distribution. Beside investigation of elemental processes and nanostructure growth we namely prepare the films for (bio) sensors utilizing phenomena of LSPR (localized surface plasmon resonance) or SERS (surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy). Our current challenges are core-shell nanoparticles, nanocomposites and nanoparticle manipulation.

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Bio-surfaces

Bio-functional surfaces and films for (bio)sensors

We develop and study surfaces with vision to be used in a direct contact with living tissue. For example, modification of implant surfaces for enhance attachment of selected molecules, proteins or cells are studied. Beside of it we investigate and deposit the surfaces enriched by chemical grafts (to prepare chemically active interfaces for e.g. sensors) or surfaces doped by defined molecules (e.g. antibiotics). Bio‑functional thin films are prepared by plasma sputtering of both metallic as well as polymer materials. Than amine (‑NHx), carboxyl (‑COOH), carbonyl (‑C=O), fluorine‑containing (‑CFx), hydroxyl (‑OH) etc. groups rich surfaces are prepared directly during the deposition. We closely collaborate with Laboratory of Glycobiochemistry to study the response of bio‑molecules onto a tailored thin film.

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Industry

High-tech coatings with high added value

Our laboratory closely collaborates with industrial partners in frame of joint projects. Our typical role is to develop and optimize functional thin films, including the suitable methodology. Hard protective coatings, films to chemically aggressive environment, anti‑fouling, hydrophobic, temperature resistant, photocatalytic, anticorrosive films etc. are the examples. Plasma vapour deposition (PVD) and plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) are most often used methods with respect of high efficiency required by the technological process. Furthermore, application and optimisation of discharges together with surface plasma treatment is also included in our portfolio.

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Plasma

Low-temperature plasma sources development and diagnostics

We develop, optimize and modify the plasma sources for physical vapour deposition (PVD) and plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition (PECVD) processes. PVD processes typically employ planar magnetrons and hollow cathode sputtering running in dc, dc‑pulse‑modulated and rf modes. High power discharges are used for production of dense plasma with large fraction of ionized sputtered material. Optimised input parameters of the discharge allows tailoring of film properties and surface morphology. We pay attention to film crystallography, surface morphology, optical and electrochemical properties that can be tailored by precise monitoring of internal discharge parameters (power and species flux, chemical composition of working atmosphere, plasma density etc.).

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Competencies

Plasma sources

Development and optimization of low‑temperature plasma sources. Plasma sources and complex systems for deposition of thin films. Sources for generation of volume as well as surface plasma discharges. Different discharge modes: dc, dc‑pulse modulated, HiPIMS, rf (inductively and capacitively coupled), microwave, surface wave, ECWR etc. Gas‑phase aggregation sources for production of nanoparticles.

Plasma diagnostics

Optimisation of low‑temperature plasma discharges for technological applications. Investigation of internal plasma bulk properties and parameters in the substrate vicinity. Diagnostics of plasma beams and nanoparticle streams. Diagnostics of particle properties (energetic distribution, potentials, densities) by probe measurements, chemical composition by optical emission spectroscopy, ion flux and measurement of ionized flux fraction, calorimetric measurements, time resolved investigation etc.

Diagnostics of thin films

We are equipped for analyses of nanostructured thin films and nanoobjects deposited onto a solid surface. Electron (SEM) and atomic force miscroscopy (AFM) for surface morphology, spectroscopic ellipsometry and UV‑VIS spectrometry for investigation of optical parameters of deposited film, infra‑red spectroscopy (FTIR) for detection of chemical bonds, measurement of resistivity and electrochemical properties, laser ionization/desorption mass spectrometry for detection of bio‑molecules. Furthermore, in collaboration we are capable to reveal film crystallography (XRD, XR), film chemical composition (XPS, GDOS), tribological properties and others.

Bio-chemical analyses

In close collaboration with Laboratory of Glycobiochemistry we can provide complete equipment for bio‑chemical analyses (not only) of thin films. Fully equipped laboratory for molecular biological, biochemical techniques include instrumentation such as qPCR, IEF etc., cell culture & BSL2 (biosafety level 2) facility, mass spectrometers and equipment for proteomic (UHPLC, nanoLC, MALDI) and analytical chemistry (GC‑QqQ, GC‑FID, LC‑ESI‑IT, LC‑FLD‑ECD), epifluorescence microscopy, laser confocal microscopy etc.

Deposition of thin films

Generally, our laboratory is fully equipped for deposition of nanostructured thin films and advanced material research. The deposition systems are based on ultra‑high vacuum systems (with base pressure down to 10‑7 Pa). Each chamber dispose the load‑lock system for fast and protected transfer of the specimens. The modular chamber design enables universal approach not only for the deposition of thin films but also for advanced plasma diagnostics.

Deposition of nanoparticles

We have several nanoparticle sources based on UHV technology capable to produce nanoparticles from metals, compounds or polymers in form of nanoparticle beam transported in ultra‑high vacuum. Practically any substrate can intarct with the beam flux in geometry arrangement that enables simultaneous co‑deposition. We deposit nanoparticles “in a dry way” avoiding of wet chemistry and any solvents which results in production of defined and pure clusters.

Laboratory intro

The following infrastructure is available for our research activities:

several UHV sputtering systems employing magnetron guns, hollow cathode and rf driven discharges and HiPIMS

PVD and PECVD deposition systems

independent nanoparticle sources of "Haberland type"

spectroscopic ellipsometer (SE), atomic force microscope (AFM), UV‑VIS spectroscope

infra-red spectrometer (FTIR) equipped by ATR, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM)

plasma diagnostics tools as time‑resolved spectrometer with iCCD camera, Langmuir probe, multiple quartz crystal microbalance (QCM), calorimetric probe and others

Projects

Currently running projects
Years Name Number Short description
2019 - 2021 Nanostructured coatings for LSPR biosensors based on optical fibre GACR 19-20168S The project is focused on the experimental investigation of nanocomposites, for tuneable OF‑LSPR effect, prepared by low‑temperature plasma and will be carried by Laboratory of Applied Plasma Physics and Laboratory of Glycobiochemistry.
2019 - 2020 Optical fibre based biosensor for Lyme borreliosis spirochetes detection MŠMT - Mobility, CZ ID: 8JPL19012 Bilateral project with Polish universities.
2017 - 2019 Development and research of electron tube microscope components, generation of vacuum and inert gas distribution delivery into the tube OP PIK, CZ.01.1.02/0.0/0.0/15_019/0004732 Project involves a development of plasma source for surface cleaning of vacuum parts
2017 - 2019 Ultra-Sensitive Opto‑Electrochemical Detection of Liquid Explosives NATO, SPS G5147 Project involes a development of sensor based on optical fibers for fast online detection of explosives. Our participation is preparation of thin coatings over optical fiber that will play role of a functional coating.
2017 - 2020 Development of new products - chemically resistant membrane vacuum pump, multi stage vacuum pump system and dynamic bellows CZ.01.1.02/0.0/0.0/16_084/0010251 Project deals with development of protective coatings on membrane pump parts.
Finished projects
Years Name Number Description
2016 - 2018 Research of the growth of thin nanostructured films prepared by plasma technologies GACR 16-14024S The project aims on preparation of nanostuctured surfaces with controlled lateral roughness due to nanoparticle graded deposition and or coating by thin film.
2016 - 2017 Contract investigation for company Robert Bosch No. 91-0055 Development of surfaces for hot element The details of the project is under a commercial matter.
2016 - 2017 Plasma-assisted deposition of thin antimicrobial films bilateralni projekt Mobility MSMT CR - DAAD SRN Mobility program between research group at University of Greifswald and our group.
2011 - 2013 Advanced experimental research of discharge plasma sources applied for deposition of nanostructured thin films GACR P205-11-0386 Research plasma sources for deposition of nanostructured thin films