ECONAM - Electromagnetic Characterization of Nanostructured Materials
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Nanostructured electromagnetic materials are rapidly maturing and become increasingly employed for design of the electronic and optical components, integrated circuits and functional devices. They have ubiquitous applications ranging from the high speed computer chips to optical communications devices, high resolution imaging and biomedical sensors. A broad class of applications is based upon the specialised electromagnetic materials that provide the necessary functionality for electronic devices and constitute the physical layer of the technologies dealing with electromagnetic signals. For such applications, the electromagnetic parameters of materials are of the primary concern.

However, the measurements and extraction of the electromagnetic parameters (effective permittivity, permeability, chirality parameter) of nanostructured materials poses enormous challenges, especially at millimetre-wave, terahertz, and optical frequencies, where the samples are usually very thin and the structural period can be comparable with the wavelength. Furthermore, neither standard test procedures nor unified set of electromagnetic parameters have been defined for certification of nanostructured electromagnetic materials in different frequency ranges (microwave, THz, optical).

The main project objective is to consolidate efforts and bring coordination in the European work towards development, testing, and dissemination of methods and tools for electromagnetic characterisation and metrology of nanostructured composite materials. This should help researchers and engineers to characterize complex novel electromagnetic materials in a consistent and physically sound way and raise awareness of difficulties and related problems. The main novel characterisation approaches are focused on intrinsically interrelated developments and harmonisation of the material phenomenological models, standardisation of characteristic parameters and measurement techniques for evaluating the specified parameters.

The necessary characterization techniques should be a) developed; b) tested; c) compared; d) catalogued and e) disseminated to the research community, standardisation bodies, industries and SMEs. The project aims at initiating and coordinating the cohesive actions in all the aforementioned directions.

The project started on April 1, 2008, and its duration is 3 years.

One of the main project dissemination activities resulted in the brochure "Nanostructured Metamaterials". It is available for downloading from the EU EC website for free or you can order it from the EU bookshop website. Also other EU brochures related to nano-structured materials are available for download for free.

The overviews and sets of recommendations produced during the whole project duration are summarized in a tutorial overview of approaches to electromagnetic characterization of nanostructured materials (click on the title to download the pdf file).

The project finished its activities on March 31, 2011, and the content of this site is not anymore regularly updated. The final project report is available here (pdf).