TEMA - Center for Mechanical Technology and Automation
Since taking over as the president of TEMA in 1996, Prof. José Grácio has seen TEMA expanding to include researchers not only from mechanical engineering, but from materials science, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, electronics and civil engineering, as well. In addition, researchers from other Europen and non- European universities are working closely in this unit.
Later, in 2001, Surface Engineering Laboratory was opened as an integral part of TEMA. In 2003, the surface engineering laboratory was renamed as Surface Engineering and Nanotechnology (SENT) laboratory. Considering the significance of nanotechnology in new scientific world, and progress made by SENT researchers exclusively in the field of nanotechnology, SENT evolved to Nanotechnology Research Division (NRD).
During the year 2006, NRD researchers were actively involved in pursuing promising nanotechnology research to develop equipments and procedures to manipulate materials with the aim of establishing a new world class of man-made nanostructures. New systems were installed at NRD for the production of carbon nanotubes and polycrystalline diamond, complementing the already existing equipment. The applications of CNTs were explored and achieved several worth mentioning significant results, which are of immense value to the present nanotechnology research community. The results were acclaimed with several awards and are published and presented in top globally acclaimed international refereed journals and conferences.
Knowing the potential of nanotechnology research, several research institutions, both academic and industry, have come forward to work in cooperation with the NRD researchers. Martifer, Portugal, is one among them. Martifer has recently sugned the project "Development of a portable hydrogen storage system" for the generation of electricity. More recently, the scientific team of Henry Tudor, Luxembourg, visited the NRD and expressed their interest in establishing joint scientific activities. The researchers have also initiated collaborations in their respective fields with laboratories across the world.
Since its beginning, many national and international projects are being carried out in the NRD. Several research protocols were iniciated with different institutions. In addition to polycrystalline diamond and carbon nanotubes, the lattest research interests include transport and energy storage.
The scope of the Unit's research and development (R&D) activities includes multidisciplinary core competencies that are already being applied to the technological needs of the manufacturing and process sector.
R&DU's mission, due to its multidisciplinary nature and high-technology, may be envisaged that over the years, it will lead to an expansion of the Unit's R&D activities and it will enable to extend its contributions to nonmanufacturing and non/process applications.
Being a mission-oriented Unit, extensive collaborations with different industries have been established and others are being sought. These industries are indeed the users of the Unit's "products": highly trained personnel and new knowledge.