Academia Senior visits INL

Academia Senior visits INL

Last week, on June 4th, INL had a special visit from the “Academia Sénior” of Braga*. A total of 26 students, the oldest one being 90 years old, walked through the corridors of INL to learn about our short institutional history and the meaning of the famous phrase “There’s plenty of room at the bottom” from Dr. Richard Feynman. During their visit to INL, as part of their course “Memoirs and Autobiographies”, the beloved visitors had the opportunity to learn about the nanoscience behind both, technologies under development as well as existing technologies that are already touching people’s day-to-day activities. As our society embraces technological advancements, it is essential to recognise that curiosity knows no age limits. Elderly individuals remain keenly interested in new technologies and equipment, appreciating their potential towards new discoveries, to enhance quality of life and foster connections. As taxpayers, they have a right to transparency—understanding how investments in these innovations are made. Aiming to extend inclusiveness beyond the workforce, this visit reinforces the responsibility to open science to everyone, including those who have retired but still seek engagement and learning opportunities. This ensures that technological progress benefits all, regardless of age, promoting lifelong learning and active […]

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Innovative graphene oxide sensor detects low concentrations of nitrate in water

Innovative graphene oxide sensor detects low concentrations of nitrate in water

A new study published in the Chemosensors journal introduces a novel approach to nitrate ion detection using all-solid-state ion-selective electrodes enabled by graphene oxide as an ion-to-electron transducer. Nitrate ions play a critical role in the nitrogen cycle in natural ecosystems, such as in soils and aquatic environments. However, their levels have dramatically increased due to modern agricultural practices. The excessive use of inorganic fertilizers has led to high concentrations of nitrate in surface and groundwater, posing significant environmental and health risks. Eutrophication, which is a phenomenon caused by nutrient overload in water bodies, results in uncontrolled algae growth, oxygen depletion, and poor water quality. This negatively impacts biodiversity, fisheries, and recreational activities. Moreover, if nitrate concentration exceeds a certain level (the value established by the European Union is 50mg/L), water may become unsuitable for consumption, potentially leading to severe health issues such as colorectal cancer and thyroid disease. INL researchers have developed an innovative sensor that can robustly detect low concentrations of nitrate in water. Despite being effective, traditional methods for nitrate detection are time-consuming and expensive. Electrochemical sensors offer a promising alternative due to their simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and rapid response time – particularly potentiometric ion-selective electrodes. However, early […]

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INL partners with the International Year of Quantum Science and Technology 2025 (IYQ), endorsed by the United Nations

INL partners with the International Year of Quantum Science and Technology 2025 (IYQ), endorsed by the United Nations

The United Nations has officially declared 2025 as the International Year of Quantum Science and Technology (IYQ). This year-long global initiative aims to raise public awareness about the significance of quantum science and its diverse applications. In support of this momentous initiative, the INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory is also partnering with the United Nations, committing to a leading role in promoting quantum science throughout 2025. The year 2025 marks the centennial anniversary of the development of quantum mechanics, a foundational milestone that has driven modern technological and scientific advancements. This celebration aims to engage a broad audience in appreciating the profound impact of quantum science on daily life and future innovations. The IYQ Steering Committee is organizing a series of global initiatives and events designed to educate the public, inspire young scientists, and highlight the contributions of quantum science to the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals include climate action, clean energy, food security, and clean water. INL’s Commitment to Quantum Science As a key partner in the IYQ, INL is dedicated to advancing quantum science and technology through research, innovation, and education. As we approach 2025, INL and its partners will emphasize the transformative potential of […]

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III Summer School Materials for Energy Transition taking place in Aveiro, 22-24 June

III Summer School Materials for Energy Transition taking place in Aveiro, 22-24 June

The much-anticipated 3rd Edition of the Summer School on Materials for Energy Transition is set to take place in Aveiro from June 22 to 24. This event promises to be a significant milestone in the advancement of research and collaboration in the field of energy materials. Pedro Salomé, a key organizer of the Summer School and Group Leader at the INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, underscored the event’s crucial role in promoting sustainable energy solutions. “The development of new materials is fundamental for the transition to sustainable energy systems,” Salomé stated. “By bringing together researchers, experts, and industry members, we are fostering an environment where innovative ideas can flourish and practical solutions can be developed.” Jennifer Teixeira, a staff researcher at INL and also a member of the organizing committee, highlighted the event’s significance within the European context. “Europe is at the forefront of the global energy transition, and events like this are essential for maintaining our leadership,” Teixeira explained. “By focusing on materials science, we address one of the key challenges in achieving more efficient and sustainable energy solutions. This Summer School is not only about sharing knowledge but also about inspiring the next generation of scientists to […]

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INL Highlights Role of Open Innovation Test Beds at INDTech 2024

INL Highlights Role of Open Innovation Test Beds at INDTech 2024

On June 5, 2024, INL joined the conference INDTech 2024 to participate in the session “Open Innovation Test Bed (OITB): A New Kid on the Block”, focused on the role of OITBs as part of the technology infrastructure ecosystem and their crucial contribution to industrial transformation in Europe. The session – chaired by Antonio Ferrandez from the European Commission – included a diverse group of speakers, among them Dominik Sobczak, Deputy Head of Unit for Industrial Research, Innovation, and Investment Agendas at DG-RTD, and Paula Galvão, Business and Strategic Relations Chief Officer at INL. The discussion covered topics such as the relevance of technology infrastructures, particularly OITBs, in providing industry with advanced materials technology services. Dominik Sobczak highlighted several challenges, including the limited understanding by companies of access conditions, main barriers, and challenges, added by the lack of standardised definitions and a common access framework, making it difficult to access OITBs and its Single Entry Points across regional and national borders.Dominik Sobczak also noted the limited collaboration among OITBs, leading to underexploited synergies, fragmentation of the landscape, and a high risk of duplication creating inefficiencies. Key outcomes from the session included a call for increased visibility and understanding of OITB […]

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INL advances nanotechnology for Smart City future

INL advances nanotechnology for Smart City future

This year at the Open Day, more than 1000 visitors had the chance to discover the new demonstrator ‘Smart City’, showcasing a fusion of advanced nanotechnologies developed at INL. ‘Smart City’ not only highlights INL’s research and development in nanotechnology but also exemplifies the potential of these technologies to foster smart, sustainable urban environments. At the heart of this demonstrator are MEMS, or Micro-Electromechanical Systems. These small, integrated devices combine electrical and mechanical components to perform functions such as sensing, controlling, and actuating on a micro-scale. They can produce or sense micro-motion or micro-forces, making them indispensable in sectors ranging from automotive and medical to telecommunications and electronics. The transformative potential of MEMS lies in their ability to significantly alter how humans interact with technology and their surroundings. At the core of this ‘Smart City’ is the Sensible Car project, which highlights the development of intelligent sensors essential for autonomous driving. These sensors enable comprehensive perception of surroundings, real-time precise location updates, and flawless action execution. INL’s contribution to this project includes the creation of two-dimensional MEMS mirrors, diffractive optical elements, tuneable filters, and lenses, all integrated into a LiDAR system. LiDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, measures distances by […]

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