Bio Nano Consulting Leads EC Funded Consortium

05 March 2012: BNC announces the start of the V-SMMART Nano Project to develop a novel scanning microscope.

Bio Nano Consulting (BNC), specialists in bio and nanotechnology partnerships between the academic and industrial sectors, announces the start of a multinational project funded by the European Commission under the FP7 NMP Programme: V-SMMART Nano (Volumetric Scanning Microwave Microscopy Analytical and Research Tool for Nanotechnology).

The V-SMMART Nano team will produce a new tool, the Volumetric Scanning Microwave Microscope (VSMM), for non-destructive 3D nanoscale structural characterisation of samples. 

The VSMM will probe the local reflection and transmission microwave spectroscopy of key materials properties, measuring complex permittivity, conductivity, resistivity, and magnetic response, and hence structural and chemical material constitution with 3D nanoscale resolution. The work will address the technical development of the tool and demonstrate its ability to characterise the 3D structure in situ at the nanoscale. The tool will be applied to relevant real-life systems including nanoparticle drug uptake in biological cells, domain structure in ferroelectric devices and trap mechanisms in solar cells. The system will be designed to allow ease of use through dedicated work-flows and will include intuitive real time visualisation for results optimisation and processing. Methods for calibration and provision of traceability are incorporated into the project from the start: this will ensure that VSMM measurements will be quantitatively meaningful and optimised for accuracy and will ensure the most efficient route to commercialisation and uptake of the VSMM. The fact that the VSMM will utilise SPM cantilever-probe technology will ensure that it is readily compatible with a full range of other SPM-based tools – opening up its future role in integrated multi-physical materials characterisation at the nanoscale.

The consortium that will develop and commercialise the VSMM comprises 7 partners: Bio Nano Consulting (London UK), MC2 (Lille France), Agilent (Linz Austria), National Physical Laboratory (Teddington UK), CNR-IMM (Rome, Italy), IBEC (Barcelona Spain) and Nanoworld Services (Erlangen, Germany).

BNC will not only act as co-ordinator for the consortium, but will also provide computer modelling, cleanroom synthesis and biological expertise to the project. 

Commenting on the new project, BNC’s CEO, Dr David Sarphie, said: “We are delighted to lead on the development of this innovative instrument that we believe will be extremely valuable for the non-destructive nanoscale imaging of subsurface structures in numerous materials, from life science to photovoltaics. We are looking forward to working with our partners across Europe in making the vision a reality and bringing the system to market.”   


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