This proposal by the JKU Physics Department applies to the extension of the established and successful “NanoScience and Technology Center Linz (NSTL)” program and requests not yet available infrastructure suitable for all physics (and chemistry institutes). The rector supports the NSTL program’s strategic direction in full and since 1990, the program has represented the university’s vision and mission in research and education in physics, the allocation and replacement of professors, and the renewal and extension of equipment provided during the last framework of activities and competitive project calls. Nanoscience and Technology is one of the university’s “fields of excellence” as well as a part of the “performance agreement in research and education” between the JKU and the Austrian Ministry of Science. Excellence at the university has been demonstrated by a large number of funded research projects awarded to the university, especially those developed and funded based on research in the field of Nanoscience. This includes one SFB, three Nanoinitiative Austria projects, two NFNs and one Ph.D. program, two START awards, four CDLs, and approximately 30 FWF and EC projects.
The diversity and interdisciplinary character of the NSTL program is also evident in current fields featured in the application: Semiconductor Nanostructures, Nanocomposites and Polymers, Nanoparticles and Clusters, Thin Films, Surfaces and Interfaces and Biofunctional Surfaces and Membranes. To enhance the level of interdisciplinary exchange, JKU plans to create a Centre for Surface and Nano-Analytics to serve as an intra-faculty research institute. The centre will be equipped with additional personnel and technical resources. In support of this activity, additional infrastructure will be a part of the application proposal. During a brainstorming and discussion phase, the following equipment was determined as key in promoting the university’s scientific excellence while also enhancing education: a laser scanning confocal microscope with a single-photon counting fluorescence-lifetime extension, an AES/UPS upgrade of the already existing PEEM, a laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer, an ESCA/XPS system, a spectroscopic ellipsometer with a spectral range of 17μm to 190 nm and a fast multi-mode atomic force microscope.