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Posted: March 11, 2009
Network of leading European ion-beam facilities founded
(Nanowerk News) Eleven leading European ion-beam facilities joined together in the SPIRIT ("Support of Public and Industrial Research using Ion Beam Technology") network. The network was officially launched at a kickoff-meeting on March 6, 2009, held at the research center Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (FZD) in Dresden/ Germany. The SPIRIT network is funded by the EU with about 7 million euros and is co-ordinated by the FZD.
The project aims at facilitating the access to ion-beam technologies for European scientists engaged in materials research. Ion-beam technologies are an important instrument, for example to produce surfaces with new or improved functions, and play an important role for the semiconductor industry. In addition to representatives of the facilities involved in the network from Germany, France, Belgium, Slovenia, Great Britain, Portugal, Croatia and Switzerland, the EU representative responsible for the project, Dr. Maria Douka, also attended the meeting.
The FZD with its Ion-Beam Center as well as six other network partners offer "Transnational Access", i.e. their research infrastructures are also available for external users. This is supported by the EU within the SPIRIT network in that EU funds cover the expenses of scientists for travelling and accommodation. Also, host laboratories are supported by a user allowance. An international committee examines the applications of interested scientists under a common directive.
Moreover, the facilities involved in SPIRIT plan to carry out joint research projects, for example to improve the possibilities and quality of targeted ion implantation of material surfaces, or to optimize methods for ion-beam analysis. What is more, the network partners intend to share the results of their research and to make them available for external users. Finally, the partners focus on networking through regular meetings, exchange of scientific and technical staff as well as training weeks for technical personnel.