Meeting report

International Congress on Nanotechnology and Research Infrastructures

Barcelona, Spain, May 2010.

[Speakers] 'Future Challenges in Nanomaterials Design'. From left to right: H. Hahn, N. Casañ, P. Ordejón, C. Miravitlles, W. Kaysser, L. Malier, J. Samitier.

The Congress was organized under the Spanish EC Presidency, by PRUAB (UAB Research Park, Barcelona, Spain,; DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, Hamburg, Germany,, ICMAB (Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC),; and INL (International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Braga, Portugal, Attendees included representatives from the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the US Dept of Energy (DOE), the European Commission, research directors from major European research centres, and representatives from the chemicals industry, car manufacturers and semiconductor developers.

The starting point of the congress was the White Paper1, which addresses the grand challenges of modern science and technology and emphasizes potential solutions based on the development of advanced nanomaterials with novel properties and the role of modern research infrastructures for the fine analysis of matter. The congress was officially opened by Spanish authorities, A. Mas-Colell (General Secretary of the European Research Council, ERC), who gave an overview of the ERC, and H. Dosch (Director General of DESY and GENNESYS Chair), who set the framework for the discussion of the grand challenges in the fields of energy and environment, health, sustainable transport, and information and communications technologies. Dosch stressed the important role that nanotechnology can play in facing these challenges and the need for coordinated efficient use of large research infrastructures such as neutron and synchrotron light sources.

At a session on 'Nanotechnology and Research Infrastructures - European and Global Challenges' chaired by R. Pascual, Chairman of the executive commission of the ALBA Synchrotron, keynote speaker C. Marrett, Deputy Director of the NSF, emphasized the resonance between the NNI (National Nanotechnology Initiative) in the US and the GENNESYS initiative in Europe. M. Takamura described research infrastructures and nanotechnology plans in Japan. I. Mattaj, Director General of EMBL, identified the challenges in nanosciences including securing financial support for infrastructures, and presented examples of relevant work at the EMBL. R. Batterham, Chair of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Expert Group on Science for Energy and President of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, concluded that 'much more science for energy is needed to face future challenges', and H. Pero, Director of directorate B of the European Commission, discussed how to integrate research in Europe in a consistent manner.

In a session on 'Future Challenges in Nanomaterials Design', M. Roco, NSF, described examples of nanotechnology. P. Fratzl (Max-Planck Inst. of Colloids and Interfaces), G. Brasseur (Climate Research Center, Germany), E. Issacs (Argonne National Lab.), W. Kaysser (GKSS-Forschungszentrum), L. Malier (LETI Inst., Grenoble), and J. Samitier (Inst. for Bioengineering of Catalonia IBEC) described applications of nanotechnologies. Finally, H. Hahn (Director of the Inst. of Nanotechnology, KIT), N. Casañ (Inst. of Materials Sciences, Barcelona), and P. Ordejón (Centre of Research in 'Nanociencia y Nanotecnología') presented new strategies for nanomaterials design.

In a session on 'Advanced Photon and Neutron sources and Laser Research Infrastructures', M. van der Rest, SOLEIL, delivered an overview of the last technical advances in analytical facilities. H. Ohno described both the newly constructed beam lines and the status of the new XFEL facility at Spring-8. M. Gibson, Director of the Advanced Photon Source, discussed the need to study materials under real conditions in real time. J. L. Martinez Peña, Director of Inst. Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, noted that the ILL and the ESRF share the vision of providing opportunities for cutting-edge research on the structure and dynamics of matter, either with neutrons or X-Rays. C. Vettier presented exciting experimental prospects for the future European Spallation Source in Sweden, and M. Altarelli, Managing Director of the European XFEL, emphasized that X-Ray Free-Electron Lasers have about 8 orders of magnitude more brilliant light than synchrotron sources with ultrashort pulses (<1 ps).

The next two sessions and the final session covered 'Industry Challenges in the World of Open Innovation' (chair, W. Riess, IBM, Zurich) and 'Nanotechnology: Societal Challenges' (chair, J. Chevrier, Grenoble Universities Consortium), and 'European and International Needs' and 'Towards a European Action Plan' were panel discussions directed by F. Fedi and J. M. Labastida, with panelists C. Rizzuto (ESFRI and ELETTRA), C. Tokamanis (EC), and M. Van Rossum (IMEC, Belgium).

The GENNESYS International Congress in Barcelona reemphasized key barriers to meeting future challenges in Europe.

C. Miravitlles, H. Dosch, J. Marquet and Jose Rivas

(1) GENNESYS White Book. Editors: H. Dosch, M. H. Van de Voorde. Max-Planck Institute for Metals Research. ISBN: 978-3-00-027338-4