KNMFi Insights


A Brief History Of KNMFi

Karlsruhe Nano Micro Facility (KNMFi) was founded in 2008 as an open access technology platform/research infrastructure for structuring and characterizing of functional materials at the micro- and nanoscale. In 2021, the scope of KNMFi was widened with the addition of digitalization and research data management. Operating with a collaborative approach to user access, KNMFi is currently organized in three laboratories hosting 23 technologies.

KNMFi is open to users from KIT, Helmholtz Centers as well as to worldwide users from industry and academia. Access is free of charge as long as results are intended to be published and are co-authored by KNMFi members or the resulting publication includes an acknowledgement to KNMFi. Registered users can apply to access KNMFi technologies via the KNMFi online proposal submission system.


KNMFi in NumbersKIT
KNMFi in Numbers

≈ 55000 h/a USER TIME
≈ 1400 USERS


Video: KNMFi Makes The Invisible Visible

KNMFi in Numbers
The properties of gralmonium qubits are dominated by a tiny constriction of only 20 nanometers, which acts like a magnifying glass for microscopic material defects. (Graphic: Dennis Rieger, KIT)Dennis Rieger, KIT
More Stable States For Quantum Computers

Quantum computers are considered to be the computers of the future. Quantum bits (qubits), the smallest computational unit of quantum computers, are the be-all and end-all. Because they have not only two states, but also states in between, qubits process more information in less time. However, maintaining such a state for a longer time is difficult and depends in particular on material properties. A KIT research team now generated qubits that are 100 times more sensitive to material defects – a crucial step toward eliminating them. Electron Beam Lithography (EBL), a KNMFi technology, was the key technology to fabricate 20 nm small nanojunctions. The team published the results in the journal Nature Materials (DOI: 10.1038/s41563-022-01417-9).

Read more: D. Rieger et al. Granular aluminium nanojunction fluxonium qubit. Nat. Mater. (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41563-022-01417-9
ChemASAP screenshot from video trailerNicole Jung, KIT
ChemASAP – the Automated Synthesis and Analysis Platform

ChemASAP is currently being built within KNMFi and will be completed by 2024. The platform is a collaborative effort of different institutes at KIT with the main responsibility at the Institute of Biological and Chemical Systems – Functional Molecular Systems (IBCS-FMS). The platform will allow the development of new materials for different purposes with modern equipment, automated workflows, higher quality and throughput and will bring chemistry development methods to the next technological level. A major aim of the platform is the synthesis of compounds with high purity as well as very good reproducibility and repeatability, gained by standardization and the use of advanced equipment for distinct parts of the process.

The platform will be accessible for non-chemists in order to synthesize chemical compounds needed for different applications in biology and materials sciences. The platform is built in a flexible manner that allows the adaptation of the chemical protocols without the need to change the platform itself.

Video: ChemASAP
Using the ELN Chemotion enables the sustainable availability of data in a repository - for the whole study described. Nicole Jung, KIT
Using ELNs and repositories to pave the way for reproducible and transparent science in chemistry

In a chemical study, derivatives of the novel compound class of triazoloimidazoquinoxalines (TIQ) and rhenium(I) triazoloquinoxaline complexes as well as a new TIQ rhenium complex were synthesized and fully characterized by different techniques in order to gain novel compounds for applications in materials sciences. The whole synthesis and characterization were documented with the ELN Chemotion, allowing the transfer of the process data as well as analysis data to an open access repository in the end. Due to a fully digitalized workflow, data that are usually only described in the supporting information can be directly accessed and downloaded in the repository, allowing to compare, check and reuse the assigned and annotated data in the long run.

L. Holzhauer et al. Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2022, 18, 1088–1099. DOI 10.3762/bjoc.18.111
Blood Sample Based Cancer DiagnosticsMichael Hirtz, KIT
Blood Sample Based Cancer Diagnostics

Invasice biopsies for cancer diagnostics and in order to obtain primary material from a tumor are often painful or even dangerous for the patient. Here, liquid biopsies, working on regular blood drawings can be a gentle alternative while still offering direct access to genetic material from a tumor even if the location is unknown. Here we present a novel, lipid microarray based capture strategy for a rapid and highly-specific detection and trapping of cancer-related extracellular vesicles, eliminating the need for time- and material-intensive preparation steps in present approaches. Scanning Probe Lithography (DPN), a KNMFi technology, is used to produce the lipid microarrays.

Read more: HY. Liu et al. Adv. Mater. 33 35 (2021) 2008493. DOI 10.1002/adma.202008493
Correlative CharacterizationMichael Hirtz, KIT
Liquid Metals in Printed Electronics

Metals that are liquid at or near room temperature offer unique opportunities in printed electronics, in particular high conductivity, flexibility and self-healing. However, they are also challenging to print and their interaction with classical materials is still rarely studied. In our KNMFi labs (Scanning Probe Lithography, DPN), we addressed these challenges by developing new capillary based printing processes (Adv. Mater. Technol. 6 11 (2021) 2100650) and leverage the wide range of available technologies for a correlated study of liquid metal / gold interactions.

Read more: N. Hussain et al. Small 2022, 18, 2202987. DOI 10.1002/smll.202202987
Eutectic colony structure of Ni-Al-CrKIT
A look inside the 3D microstructure of metals through high performance materials simulations

New materials are the focus for future research challenges, e.g. for medical technology, resource conservation, energy supply and storage. The modern software Pace3D performs material simulations on high-performance computers and enables a look inside the structure of materials. With the integration of the research data infrastructure Kadi4Mat, a data-driven design of tailor-made materials is achieved via sensitivity analyses. The eutectic colony structure of the high-performance material Ni-Al-Cr is given as an example: M. Kellner et al.: Influence of the melt composition on the formation of eutectic colonies: A large-scale phase-field study. (submitted) 

Read more: M. Kellner et al. Acta Mater. 182 (2020) 267–277. DOI 10.1016/j.actamat.2019.10.028
Scheme of FAIR Modelling of Scientific Research ProcessesKIT
FAIR Modelling of Scientific Research Processes

Kadi4Mat is the Karlsruhe Data Infrastructure for Materials Science. It provides a software to tackle challenges in handling large amounts of data from simulations and experiments. As an example, the entire silicon wafer manufacturing process is tracked in Kadi4Mat in a FAIR manner (FAIR data = data meeting principles of findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability). By registering the laboratory equipment in Kadi4Mat, a digital twin of the laboratory is created. All processing steps are modeled in the form of automatable workflows in KadiStudio, in which the registered devices are used with defined work instructions. The current production status of the wafers is documented in Kadi4Mat. The provenance of each wafer and its relationships to the devices used is documented using a uniform ontology. The results are published in the Data Science Journal, and the methods will be further developed in KNMFi.

L. Griem et al. Data Sci. J. (2022) 21(1) 16. DOI 10.5334/dsj-2022-016
Sketch of polarization measurement setupKIT
Proving Einstein?

Albert Einstein predicted the effect of vacuum birefringence, which has not yet been proven. X-rays polarization measurements combined with a high intensity 300 terawatt laser at the European XFEL (X-ray free electron laser) could prove the effect in the next years. University Jena found, that X-ray lenses made out of polymer by KIT/IMT via KNMFi are worldwide the only ones free of birefringence and dichroism and thus the only lenses suitable for these polarisation experiments. Deep X-Ray Lithography (XRL), a KNMFi technology, was used to produce the X-ray lenses.

B Marx-Glowna et al 2022 New J. Phys. 24 053051, DOI 10.1088/1367-2630/ac6e80
Photon-spin interface with the europium molecule crystal for entanglement of nuclear spin qubits (arrows) with the help of photons (yellow). (Graphics: Christian Grupe, KIT) Christian Grupe, KIT
Quantum Information: Light from Rare-earth Molecules

Light can be used to distribute quantum information rapidly, efficiently, and in a secure, tap-proof manner. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Strasbourg University, Chimie ParisTech and the French national research center CNRS have now achieved major progress in the development of materials for processing quantum information with light. In Nature (DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-04316-2), they present a europium molecule with nuclear spins, by means of which an effective photon-spin interface can be produced. Single Crystal X-ray Diffraction (SCXD), a KNMFi technology, was used to solve the X-ray structure of the Eu3+ complex.

KIT Press Release 019/2022, 10 March 2022

Video: ChemASAP – the Automated Synthesis and Analysis Platform

Video: KNMFi Makes The Invisible Visible

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