Research directions

Interdisciplinary research on materials in technologically well-developed countries represents the basis for the development of new technologies and products. In the past period we have been facing an incredible progress in the development of numerous applications from electronics, energetics, medicine, and ecology. The development is based on better understanding of relationship between crystal structure, stoichiometry, materials microstructure, and their functional properties. By a proper selection of the structure it is thus possible to design materials with beforehand described properties, which can also be successfully tailored towards specific application. In the last decade nanostructuring represents a new breakthrough in materials development, led by advances in new technologies and materials processing and results in materials, designed with new properties, which cannot be observed in nature due to the thermodynamical reasons.
Nowadays an effective control of materials synthesis from 3D to 0D, which is required for engineering of desired structural properties on the atomic scale and micrometer-sized grains is not jet possible and represents a great challenge for the scientific community. Namely, detailed reaction mechanisms are often not known sufficiently, which represents the main obstacle in synthesis control. Numerous functional materials frequently contain volatile elements and as a result their stoichiometry and final properties are hard to control. Furthermore, designing the structures on the atomic scale is difficult since this demands precise understanding of nanotechnological procedures. Nanostructuring of bulk materials is, however, even less known despite its importance for implementation of new functional properties in practical applications.Therefore the main topic of the research programme relates to the investigation of the above mentioned issues and set out following two objectives: i) precise control of the synthesis at the atomic level and ii) control of microstructure development. Control of the synthesis on different levels of dimensionality enables contemporary development for materials with highest quality and increased functionality. In this scope we perform research in the following areas:

1. Analyses of reaction mechanisms
As an example, in the Ag(Nb1-xTax)O3 system a set of reactions between intermediate products, as well as decomposition of the matrix phase as a function of sintering temperature were determined.

analysis of reaction mechanisms 2

2. Chemical and structural analyses
The KxBa1-xGa2-xGe2+xO8 solid solutions with P21/a and C2/m crystal structures.

Chemical and structural analysis

3. Investigation of nanostructured materials synthesis
TEM images of copper/titanate nanobelt (Cu/TiNBs) formed using a two-step polyelectrolyte-assisted synthesis and assembly approach.


4. Synthesis from solutions

a) Biomimetic synthesis

Ageing of starting aqueous solution based on salt, urea and enzyme results to precipitation of nano- and micron sized carbonates with varies particle size, morphology and crystal structure.

biomimetic synthesis

b) Chemical solution deposition (CSD) of thin films
As an example the influence of thermal annealing on microstructural development and dielectric properties of sol-gel derived ferroelectric Na0.5Bi0.5TiO3–NaTaO3 thin films.

CVD thin films

5. Development of materials for biomedical applications