“Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: Principles and Applications” is a work distributed in 3 volumes, with a total of 22 chapters written by distinguished experts and scientists from different regions of Brazil. Volume 1 presents topics related to nanostructures; Volume 2, nanocharacterization techniques, and volume 3, examples of applications.
The book was organized by PhDs Alessandra da Róz (IFSP), Fábio de Lima Leite (UFSCar/CCTS), Marystela Ferreira (UFSCar/CCTS) and Osvaldo Novais Oliveira Jr (USP/IFSC). “We noticed that there were few books in Portuguese on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology and we got together to organize the series,” says Marystela Ferreira.
The work was released in 2015 by Elsevier’s Campus publishing house. “The series launched in 2015 was so successful that Elsevier invited us to edit this series in English,” adds Ferreira. The new challenge was accepted and is being carried out by the organizers, with help from the authors and the publisher. The first two volumes in English were released in 2016, and Volume 3 is scheduled to be released in June 2017. In the English language edition, new chapters have been added in order to cover as much material and techniques as possible. “In volume 1 carbon structures was added, and volume 3 presents the SPR technique (surface plasmon resonance),” clarifies Ferreira.
According to Ferreira, the book addresses the basic concepts and fundamental principles of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, as well as topics such as nanosensors, nanostructured films and nanocharacterization techniques (this was included bearing in mind undergraduate and graduate students conducting experimental research). The series also includes topics on quantum mechanics and computer simulation – topics that have not yet been addressed in Brazilian Nanoscience books – written in simple and direct language, which include applications and illustrations, asserts Ferreira. New lines of research, such as Nanomedicine, Nanoelectronics and Nanoneurobiophysics were also covered in the series. “This work brings together topics in areas such as Biology, Biotechnology, Materials Physics, Medicine, Chemistry and related areas,” emphasizes Ferreira.
The volumes are available on Science Direct (Elsevier’s website for articles and books) and are sold in the form of e-book and printed book on Elsevier’s website.
Brazil’s first laboratory dedicated to the study of vitreous materials completes 40 years in December 2016. This laboratory, which began its activities with only a small muffle furnace with temperature up to 1100 °C, today has 18 ovens, 4 which reach 1750 °C, and also thirty instruments to manufacture and characterize glasses distributed over 500 m2. The anniversary in question is LaMaV´s (Vitreous Materials Laboratory), of the Department of Materials Engineering (DEMa) at the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar).
On the 40th anniversary of LaMaV, the team declares it is fully satisfied with its achievements [see box beside]. The pioneering work of the laboratory was essential in generating, disseminating and applying scientific knowledge on glass in the country, in academia and in industry. “We prepared about a hundred masters, doctors and post-docs, who now work as professors and researchers at major institutions such as USP, UFSCar, ITA, UEPG, UEMa, UFBa, PUC, IPT, CEFET, UFF, UNESP, UFLavras, UFABC, CTA, UNIOESTE and in other institutions in Brazil and abroad, and in numerous companies. This is a very important legacy! ” said Edgar Dutra Zanotto, one of the founders of SBPMat and the Materials Research journal, who founded LaMaV and heads it until today.
But the efforts and results of LaMaV go beyond national borders, since it always featured internationality. The laboratory has received students and visiting professors from dozens of countries. Its team has brought to Brazil the most important international conferences on glasses, it participates in the editorial boards of almost all major specialized journals on vitreous materials and has received seven of the most prestigious international awards and honors of the area – in addition to more than 20 national awards, including the Almirante Álvaro Alberto* award. The group research, especially that on nucleation and crystallization of glasses and glass ceramics, is recognized worldwide. “A significant part of active researchers in this area have heard, attended a lecture or read an article or patent resulting from our research. We have indeed put the city of São Carlos and Brazil on the world map of glass research!” adds Zanotto.
LaMaV is currently very active on glass crystallization issues, structural relaxation and residual stress processes, glass ceramics, biomaterials, and mechanical, rheological, electrical and biochemical properties of vitreous materials. “Today we have an impressive laboratory and excellent financing, mainly from FAPESP (the São Paulo State research foundation) but also from Capes, CNPq (federal funding agencies) and some companies. However, the endless bureaucracy of the funding agencies for purchasing materials and equipment, the accountability and also the uncertainties related to the future of universities (e.g., austerity measure PEC 55 and others), coupled with the shortage of secretaries, technicians and engineers (lab managers) to assist in the organization and maintenance of laboratories, have always been and continue to be formidable obstacles,” ponders Zanotto.
The making of…
It all began on December 15, 1976, when Zanotto was hired as assistant professor at DEMa-UFSCar. His main objective was to start glass research work in the department. In 1970, the first undergraduate course in Latin America in Materials Engineering was created, and two years later DEMa was created. By 1976 the department already had research groups in metals, polymers and ceramics, but no one worked with glasses, Zanotto remembers. “The creation of LaMaV was a natural outcome of setting up the undergraduate course in Materials Engineering at UFSCar,” declares Professor Zanotto.
At the end of 1976, Edgar Zanotto was a newly graduated materials engineer (at UFSCar) who had just completed scientific initiation research work under the guidance of visiting Professor Osgood James Whittemore, researcher in the area of ceramic materials of the University of Washington (USA). “My undergraduate research carried out that year, focused on the chemical durability (leach) of candidate glasses for the encapsulation of radioactive waste,” recalls Zanotto. “And, amazingly, this subject is still hot! ”, he adds.
Soon after being hired, Zanotto created LaMaV. The first experiments – carried out by Zanotto himself – consisted of melting glass at low melting point, using a muffle furnace and a platinum crucible (recipient that can be used at high temperatures), borrowed from the chemical analysis laboratory of the university.
In 1977, the founder of LaMaV started the Master’s program in Physics at the Institute of Physics and Chemistry at São Carlos (IFQSC) of USP, under the guidance of Professor Aldo Craievich, who was probably the only scientist active in the glass area in Brazil before 1976. In fact, he is the author of the first two papers on glasses signed by researchers from Brazilian institutions, both published in 1975. During the Master, Zanotto produced and thermally treated glasses (to generate crystallization) at LaMaV, carried out microscopic investigation at the DEMa metallurgy laboratory, and characterized glasses by XRD and SAXS at IFQSC-USP. Zanotto finished his Master’s research work and defended the dissertation a year and a half later. That same year he began his doctorate, also in the area of glasses, at the University of Sheffield (UK), under the supervision of the famous Professor Peter James. In 1982, having defended his doctorate, Zanotto returned to LaMaV.
“In the first 10 to 15 years, isolated work, inexperience and the uncertainties and difficulties associated with the mercurial research funding, in addition to the reduced physical space and little laboratory infrastructure disrupted our activities”, recalls Zanotto. Nearly a decade after the laboratory was created, the second Professor of the group was hired, Oscar Peitl Filho, Zanotto’s former master’s and doctoral student. A few years later, Ana Candida Martins Rodrigues became the third professor of the LaMaV team. Then in 2013, Marcello Andreeta was hired. “Today we are 4 teachers, 1 technician, 1 administrative assistant and about 30 research students and post-docs, 7 from other countries,” says Zanotto.
The year of 2013 was a milestone in the history of LaMaV due to the approval by FAPESP and the beginning of activities of CeRTEV (Center for Research, Technology and Education in Vitreous Materials). Directed by Zanotto, CeRTEV brings together LaMaV (headquarters of the center) and other laboratories from UFSCar, USP and UNESP, to conduct research, development and education activities in the field of vitreous materials, with funding from FAPESP until 2024. “With CeRTEV, we have established one of the largest academic research groups on glass on this planet, with world-class infrastructure, 14 professors and about 60 research students!”, acclaims Zanotto.
“Looking back, if I could return to December 1976, with the experience accumulated over these 40 years, I believe I’d do it all over again, but more efficiently!”, expresses the founder of LaMaV.
Scientists warn about the need to value investments in science, technology and innovation to resume economic growth.
The board and committee of the Brazilian Research Materials Society (SBPMat) hereby urges the Brazilian Congress to maintain, in the 2017 budget, the investments in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) at the levels of recent years, before the drastic cuts which took place in 2015 and 2016. We are aware of the joint effort of society to balance the public accounts, but it is unacceptable that the CTI cuts are far heftier than the drop in tax collection and the decline in domestic gross product.
Equally worrying are the cuts in higher education and in the National Post-Graduate System, evidenced by the interruption or reduction of CAPES programs. These are programs that ensure the continuous process of qualified training, leveraging the critical mass of human capital so that the scientific and technological development achieved can effectively influence industrial innovation, increase the added value of national production, and ensure the social and economic well-being of future generations.
In a country like Brazil, which has not yet reached its scientific and technological maturity to be among the developed nations, the contribution of CTI is sometimes overlooked. The extensive production gains in areas such as agriculture and livestock, extraction and mineral processing, which guarantee balancing our trade surpluses, often go unnoticed. Also unnoticed is the excellence of medicine and digital technology, which directly benefits the daily life of society.
Our specific area, research and new materials solutions, is essential for the future of Brazil as a sovereign nation and less susceptible to the interest of other countries. We are the largest producer of quartz and niobium in the world and we are among the largest in rare earths and other strategic minerals of immense commercial value. Our biodiversity offers a countless number of new organic materials that can be applied in health and in industry segments such as energy and electronics.
We know that the consequences of CTI cuts will be devastating. Besides holding back the continuous advances of recent decades, which threaten to scrap laboratories and squander the value already invested, the cuts realized render infeasible the national technology and the formation of human resources, which is vital to promote sustainable development.
Those who believe that cuts in CTI and in higher education have little impact on the lives of ordinary citizens are mistaken. In the short term, these cuts initially have a more apparent effect on the academic communities in the large centers in Brazil. However, the most affected will be the lowest socioeconomic strata in the medium and long term. These strata have no access to imported material, medical treatment and education abroad, which is only available to the privileged class. The underprivileged are the ones who will suffer if Brazil continues with a tenuous and not uneven government policy, which can cripple the structure of science, technology and innovation, arduously built over recent decades.
Since 1997, at the Brazilian Synchrotron Light National Laboratory (LNLS), in the city of Campinas, in São Paulo state, electrons accelerated at a speed very close to the light speed and compressed in a beam of the thickness of a strand of hair travel a 93-meter-long polygon, called “storage ring”, generating a type of radiation of unique brightness with important applications in the study of organic and inorganic matter, the synchrotron light.
In several points around the ring, scientists, mainly from academia but also from industry simultaneously work in several small laboratories, known as “experimental stations” or “beamlines’, which scientific instruments use the beams generated by the synchrotron light source after having been filtered by monochromators. Thanks to such filters, each experiment receives the type of radiation of the electromagnetic spectrum it needs, from infrared up to X-rays.
Still today, the synchrotron light source of LNLS is the single one in Latin America. Since the opening of the laboratory, the use of the experimental stations is free and open to the international scientific community. The candidates submit their research projects to a committee composed by members of the scientific community, which sends them to peer review. The accepted proposals get a room in the busy agenda of LNLS, during the day or at night. In the last few years, the laboratory has benefited around 1,500 researchers a year, original from Brazil (the majority), from Argentina (approximately 17%) and, in smaller proportions, from other countries.
The LNLS research resources are used in works of the most varied knowledge areas, such as Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Environmental Sciences, Geo-sciences and, especially, Material Science and Engineering. “For an expressive number of researches of such area in Brazil, the LNLS beamlines are some of the main measurement instruments in their research programs”, says Harry Westfahl Jr., scientific director of LNLS from March, 2013.
According to Aldo Felix Craievich, a scientist that had an important participation throughout the creation process of LNLS and was its first scientific director, one of the purposes of the laboratory, since the beginning, was to offer to the researchers on Material Science and Engineering a unique and good quality experimental infrastructure. “The operation of LNLS during 17 years already allowed many Material scientists and engineers to perform research in the beamlines in very favorable conditions. And most of these studies would be impossible to perform in classic laboratories”, completes he. In fact, the high intensity and other unique characteristics of synchrotron light allow to study the materials in a more detailed manner that the radiation that may be produced by sources found in the laboratories of the universities. “Today, a large fraction of materials are in fact nanomaterials and, in such context, the best X-ray tubes can´t compete with synchrotron radiation”, affirms Yves Petroff, French physicist that directed centers of synchrotron light in Europe and was the scientific director of LNLS from November, 2009 to March, 2013.
Having experimental techniques such as X-ray diffraction (XRD), small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), X-ray absorption (EXAFS, XANES), photoelectron spectroscopy (PES), VUV spectroscopy and microtomography, the beamlines at LNLS allow a broad and deep study of the structure and properties of the materials. “The researchers bring to LNLS the materials created in their laboratories, such as, for example, more resistant plastics, more efficient catalysts, or metals with unusual electronic and magnetic properties, to understand at microscopic level the manifestation of such innovative properties, or even to guide new synthesis paths”, exemplifies Harry Westfahl Jr.
According to Aldo Craievich, the contribution of LNLS to the development of Material Science is proven by the quantity and quantity of articles published in high-impact journals based on experimental studies performed in the laboratory. As an example, Craievich comments that, in the three-year period 2006-2008, out of a total of 547 papers generated from works developed at LNLS, which can be seen in the LNLS annual reports, 211 were published in journals of the area of Material Science, number that increases when adding the publications on Chemistry and Physics that deal with basic aspects of the properties of solid materials.
However, the contribution of LNLS to the scientific and technological development of Brazil has started before the laboratory got open to the scientific community. The process of creation and implementation of LNLS as a National Laboratory was a rich experience to its players, and an interesting history to know, especially because the greatest part of synchrotron light sources and of the light lines was designed and manufactured in the country.
LNLS Origin: the beginning
The wish to have in Brazil a great particle accelerator is as old as the community of physicists in the country. One of the first attempts of installing a machine of such type occurred early in the 1950’s and was characterized because it was a proposal of construction, instead of purchase. The military and scientist Admiral Álvaro Alberto de Motta e Silva, who had led the recent creation of the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and was at that time the president of the institution, saw in the University of Chicago a particle accelerator of synchrocyclotron type, and returned to Brazil with the proposal of manufacturing a small equipment of such type in Rio de Janeiro, at Brazilian Center for Research in Physics (CBPF), to train technicians and scientists of the country that subsequently would be able to manufacture a bigger machine. The project started in 1952. In 1960, the small synchrocyclotron worked for the first time, but, by several reasons, it has never been fully operational.
With the end of the hardest period of Brazilian Dictatorship, in which many scientists left the country, the issue of the big scientific machine was resumed and, in 1981, the president of CNPq, Lynaldo C. Albuquerque, called the scientific community to prepare proposals of big research machines to implement in Brazil. As a response, the first discussions on the construction of a synchrotron light source occurred in CBPF. At the end of the year, the proposal was presented by Roberto Lobo, director of CBPF, to the president of CNPq. In 1982, both scientists visited the French national laboratory of synchrotron light LURE, at Université Paris-Sud, where Aldo Craievich was taking a post-doctoral internship and acquiring valuable experience in applications of such radiation.
“Since the beginning, the small group of people that participated in such discussions noticed that, to move forward such great, high-complexity, and high-cost project, it was required to reach a consensus in the Brazilian scientific community, and attract a reasonable number of potential interested users”, comments Craievich. In the scientist’s memories, the first public presentation of the preliminary ideas occurred in the Brazilian National Meeting of Condensed Matter Physics held in the city of Cambuquira, in April, 1982. “In the occasion, it was observed a certain resistance of the scientific community upon being informed of the high cost of the project, due to the fear that this could affect the funding of other projects in progress”, tells Craievich.
Even though, Lobo, Craievich, and some more researchers of CBPF prepared a first formal document aiming at the implementation of a new synchrotron light source in Brazil (“Preliminary proposal of the feasibility study for the implementation of a national laboratory of synchrotron radiation“), which was approved in 1983 by CNPq. CNPq created, then, the Synchrotronic Radiation Project (PRS), coordinated by Roberto Lobo, and engaged in allocating money to form human resources to develop the project and train future users. Also in 1983, in October, CNPq established the PRS executive committee, which was coordinated by Aldo Craievich (CBPF) and counted on more seven participants linked to CBPF, UFRJ, UNICAMP, and USP. Among them was Ricardo Rodrigues, who, some years latter, would be appointed technical director of the construction of the laboratory. To promote a greater disclosure and discussion of the project and the formation of future users, it was held, in August, 1983, at CBPF, the Meeting on Techniques and Applications of Synchrotron Radiation, with the participation of 220 scientists. Also with the purpose of forming new human resources, in early 1984, PRS launched a call offering CNPq’s scholarships for researchers and undergraduate, master´s and PhD students, on themes related to the construction of the source and beamlines and their applications.
Two more newness marked the year of 1984 in the history of LNLS. PRS passed to count on a technical-scientific committee (CTC), chaired by Roberto Lobo (USP), and formed by a dozen of scientists linked to CBPF, IPT, PUCRio, UNICAMP, and USP, including Cylon Gonçalves da Silva, who would become the first director of the laboratory in 1986, and would lead its effective implementation. Additionally, in December, 1984, CNPq took one more step toward the construction of the synchrotron light source upon creating the figure of the National Laboratory of Synchrotron Radiation (LNRS), with Roberto Lobo as pro tempore director, and still without a place assigned to its headquarters.
Right after the creation of LNRS, CNPq called the scientific community to propose places for the construction of the laboratory. From the four proposals – Rio de Janeiro, Niteroi, Campinas, and São Carlos – CNPq president, in one of the last resolutions of his tenure, a little before the end of military government, in February, 1985, chose Campinas as the future headquarters of LNRS.
In the next edition of SBPMat newsletter, don’t miss the article on the second part of this history – the phase of the construction of the laboratory.
The XIII SBPMat Meeting was the context chosen for the launch of a publication on the current overview of materials research in Brazil, prepared by the IOP (Institute of Physics) Publishing for SBPMat. The report was distributed to all participants who picked up their material at the meeting – over 1,600. Furthermore, the IOP stand at the exhibitors´ area distributed the document throughout the event. Also, SBPMat is working on sending the publication to university libraries, funding agencies and other entities in Brazil and overseas. The digital version of the document is available on the web.
UK physicists Susan Curtis and Michael Blanks, who work as reporters and editors in IOP magazines, visited about 20 Brazilian institutions to prepare the report. The duo interviewed more than 50 scientists, including researchers working in the field of materials, leaders of the Brazilian scientific policy and coordinators from laboratories, research centers, projects and institutes. A highlight was given to interviews with two important foreign scientists in the field, who spoke about the Brazilian overview and other topics: the 2013 presidents of the Materials Research Societies in Europe (E-MRS) and the United States (MRS), Portuguese Rodrigo Martins and Argentinian-born Orlando Auciello, respectively.
The result was a magazine format document, titled “Science impact. A special report on materials science in Brazil”, composed by 14 reports and interviews, along with the introduction signed by the SBPMat president, Professor Roberto Mendonça Faria.
Brazil shows that materials matter
The report shows a very positive evolution in materials research carried out in Brazil since the beginning of this century, resulting from increasing public investments and strategies from federal and state entities to support postgraduate education, research and innovation, among other reasons.
In its 42 pages, the report discusses recent results of research conducted in Brazil on topics such as carbon nanomaterials, materials with applications in health, research aimed at improving the performance of materials used in various industries, materials for more efficient and cheaper optoelectronic and photonic devices and systems, natural materials optimized by research, and materials to produce and store solar energy.
In addition, Curtis and Blank mapped the open laboratories in Brazil in the field of materials, which share their equipment to users in academia and industry from the country and abroad. They also reported, throughout the document, numerous cases of transfer of knowledge and technology from the university to the industry through the creation of spinoff companies and through projects with large companies such as Camargo Correa, Embraco, Petrobras and Vale. Interesting pieces of information on the history of Materials Science in Brazil complement the publication.
About the duo of physicist-journalists
Michael Blanks is news editor at IOP´s Physics World magazine. During his graduation in physics at Loughborough University he spent a year at Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart (Germany). He began working at IOP in 2007, after finishing his PhD in experimental condensed matter physics.
Susan Curtis has nearly two decades of experience in publishing and editing science magazines and websites at IOP. She graduated in physics from the University of Surrey and has been a researcher at the company BP.
Dentre as ligas metálicas, o aço, uma liga que tem no ferro seu principal constituinte, é a de maior importância tecnológica e por isso mesmo é a mais estudada em nível experimental e teórico. O níquel é um dos principais elementos de liga utilizados em ligas ferrosas voltadas para aplicações em condições extremas, tais como em reservatórios e tubos para o transporte de gás natural liquefeito (que requer temperaturas inferiores a 100 K). O carbono, por sua vez, é normalmente encontrado em solução sólida em sítios intersticiais na matriz de ferro, ou segrega para defeitos extensos, como discordâncias (formando as assim chamadas “atmosferas de Cottrell”) e contornos de grãos, tendo reconhecida influência nas propriedades mecânicas dos aços. O trabalho de doutorado aqui proposto consistirá na utilização de técnicas experimentais não-destrutivas (ruído de Barkhausen, dilatometria, potencial termoelétrico, microscopia) e métodos teórico-computacionais multi-escala (dinâmica molecular, Monte Carlo, “phase field”) no estudo das transformações de fases em ligas Fe-Ni-C, com foco inicial na transformação martensítica, de especial relevância tecnológica. A maior ênfase no trabalho experimental ou teórico-computacional dependerá das aptidões do candidato selecionado, mas a disposição para ambos é fundamental para o projeto.