Enterprises using and producing nanomaterials face a constant increase of requirements in regard to fast process and product quality control, regulatory compliance and quicker market introduction of high quality products.
This calls for real-time measurements, necessitating process-adapted nanoscale metrology for the manufacturing industry. Tools and devices for materials characterisation need increased speed and reliability, suitable for industrial demands, while at the same time retaining the same or better measurement accuracy and precision.
Proposals should advance and establish nano-scale, multimodal and multi-scale materials characterisation tools and methods, allowing rapid and reliable high-resolution analyses. These should be suitable for characterisation during processing and manufacturing of advanced materials, i.e. real-time and reliable. This includes the optimisation of existing or the development of new technologies, characterisation equipment, data processing routes and data analysis strategies, or a combination of these. In particular:
- Proposals should deal with one or more industrial applications;
- In addition to the characterisation speed (relative to the manufacturing process), proposals should cover the requirements for real-time nano-scale characterisation during manufacturing (e.g. in situ characterisation, multiple acquisition etc.);
- Proposals should demonstrate measurable improvement with respect to the state of the art of nano-scale characterisation technologies adequate for industrial use (adaptability to the industrial process, product quality, etc.);
- Developed characterisation protocols should consist of faster methods to be exploited in close connection with manufacturing enterprises, or be suitable online or inline use in the factory;
- Detailed training and dissemination activities should be planned to ensure appropriate transfer of knowledge and/or expertise to industry, and SMEs in particular.
Funded proposals will be invited to participate in clustering activities, to agree on metadata for the description of materials characterisation and databases.
Proposals submitted under this topic should include actions designed to facilitate cooperation with other projects; to enhance user involvement; and to ensure the accessibility and reusability of data produced in the course of the project.
Activities should start at TRL 4 and achieve TRL 6 at the end of the project.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 4 and 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
- Measurable improvement of speed by at least a factor 2 of nanoscale characterisation procedures, in comparison to already established performance and reliability for the application leading to a significant increase in industrial competitiveness;
- Significant reduction of the time and resources needed for nanomaterial development and upscaling, and for nanomaterials-based product development, which should be quantified with respect to established conditions for specific market sectors, with a return of investment in less than 5 years;
- Quantifiable enhancement of the ability to control the quality and reliability of products, with consequent improvement of product lifetime and associated environmental benefits.
Relevant indicators and metrics, with baseline values, should be clearly stated in the proposal.