The overall long-term research aim:
THE STUDY AND EVALUATE CORROSION ISSUES IN TECHNOLOGICALLY RELEVANT MICRO- AND NANOSTRUCTURED COMPONENTS AND TO PROVIDE EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS FOR THE PREVENTION OF CORROSION.
The mCBEEs consortium identified THREE MAIN STRATEGIC FIELDS where corrosion could heavily influence the performance of micro- or nanodevices:
Biotechnology: Human body fluids and tissues are highly corrosive environments because of their highly oxygenated saline electrolytes with a pH range of 6.5-7.4 and a temperature of 37°C. Corrosive species include inorganic ions, coordination compounds and biomolecules, which can accelerate corrosion due to their complexing and chelating effects, or trigger biofouling corrosion. Besides, human microbiota and localized pH gradients at inflamed or infected tissues can also impact negatively the corrosion resistance of inserts. Understanding corrosion mechanisms at micro- and nanoscales in bioenvironments is crucial in order to design multifunctional implants, and to develop protective films.
Electronics: Sensors, actuators, structural and packaging building blocks can be subject to various corrosive environments or conditions. For instance, electrical interconnections between different circuitry elements (transistors, capacitors and resistors) are made from a variety of dissimilar materials. Metals, alloys, semiconductors and some ceramics are the most common materials used on miniaturized electronic systems. Micro- and nanosized components and ultrafine layers could undergo fast degradation due to galvanic coupling, crevice corrosion or even uniform corrosion in highly moisturized environments, which could seriously compromise device performance.
Energy: During the last years, electric energy storage media and systems for electrochemical energy conversion (i.e.: batteries, supercapacitors, fuel cells) have been considerably improved in terms of their capacity and efficiency thanks to significant developments in electrode surfaces, including micro- and nanostructuring and material-doping methods. As electrodes must be catalytically very active, they are highly sensitive to pollution, and therefore prone to degradation. Even localized corrosion at small-scale sites within a system is sufficient to poison the electrodes and dramatically decrease their performance. Besides, the internal environment in such systems poses complex challenges in terms of durability. Other corrosion issues to be addressed in energy systems comprise the ageing effects (i.e. crack formation), which could easily induce crevice corrosion, or galvanic coupling due to physical contact between materials.
mCBEEs research activities will focus on THREE MAIN TASKS:
Study of corrosion phenomena and mechanisms at micro- and nanoscales in different corrosive environments and application fields.
Development of advanced electro-chemical models for corrosion at the microscale.
Design and integration of protective strategies and measures on small components.
So combining the three main strategic fields and the three main tasks, SIX WORKING PACKAGES, strongly interconnected have been created
Six specific research objectives: