Nano Bugle

A window into applied science supported by INL

Follow the light in the discovery of the wonders of nano

Ellipsometry is a versatile, non-destructive technique that works in real time in any transparent medium, based on the fact that when light is reflected from a surface of a material its polarization state undergoes some change depending on its own characteristics.

The word ellipsometry was first introduced in a scientific publication by Alexander Rother in 1945, and is based on the fact that the polarization of the light is generally elliptical. In the last years of the XIX century, Paul Drude derived the mathematical equations that allowed the calculation of the optical constants. In the 60’s, due to the availability of computers for numeric processing, ellipsometry suffered a renaissance. Besides measuring the thickness of a film of few nanometers or its optical constants, today, ellipsometry finds applications in different areas like semiconductor and data storage solutions, biosensors, optical coatings, microelectronics, surface chemistry.

The one recently acquired by INL is a spectroscopic imaging ellipsometer. With spectroscopy it is possible to know the optical constants as a function of the wavelength of light, enlightening to greater detail the secrets of complex materials. The imaging feature enables, for example, analyzing biochips without any labeling of the probes, an advantage when compared with techniques based on fluorescence or radioactivity. It is thus possible to examine the surface structure of, for instance DNA, on substrates like glass, silicon or gold with high spatial resolution and also in real-time to measure adsorption reactions by using diverse solid-liquid cells for in vitro conditions.

Follow the light in the discovery of the wonders of nano and be amazed with the beauty!

The photos show INL Engineer, Adelaide Carvalho, the author of this post, monitoring ellipsometry tests. The spectroscopic imaging ellipsometer, recently acquired by INL. Testing the equipment has been her main concern for the last couple of months.

December 20, 2010 Posted by | INL Campus, INL Community, INL Project | 1 Comment

Workshop Nano09 closed today in Braga

Today the ‘Workshop Nano09-Shaping the Future’, a joint initiative of the Lisbon Academy of Sciences and the Portuguese Academy of Engineering, closed in Braga. Yesterday the Portuguese minister of Science and Technology, Mariano Gago, participated in a session attended by over a hundred nanotechnology researchers gathered in Braga, to discuss the main tendencies in Nanotechnology and Nanoscience. The participants, mainly Portuguese and Spanish members of research groups, had the opportunity to exchange experiences with other colleagues form leading international research institutions. The workshop was the first event ever hosted by INL.

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Braga, Events, INL Campus | 1 Comment

Over 100 researchers gathered in Braga

The International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) is hosting the «Workshop Nano09 – Shaping the future». The first scientific event ever to take place in the INL facilities in Braga (Portugal), started this morning (December 10th) and will continue until tomorrow afternoon.

For the more than hundred nano-scientist who are present in Braga these days, the workshop is an opportunity to discuss the future of Nanosciences and Nanotechnology as well as a chance to visit the INL facilities.

The workshop started with a presentation by Martin Steinhart (Institut für Chemie, Universität Osnabrück) «Beyond Evolution: Polymers in Holes and Holes in Polymers», in memoriam of Ulrich Gösele, from Max Planck-Institute of Microstructure Physics, who unexpectedly passed away last month.

The image shows the deputy director-general of INL, prof. Paulo Freitas (INESC Microsystems and Nanotechnology , and Physics Department, Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon) making his presentation «Lab on chip platforms for biological and biomedial applications.»

Here you can find out a little more about the event and the participants.

December 10, 2009 Posted by | Braga, Events, INL Campus, Nano Events | Leave a comment

Another look at INL construction site


Construction work at the INL is going on nonstop. Here is a look at the building where most of the Labs and offices will be. If you want to know more about the INL project, visit us at

February 23, 2009 Posted by | INL Campus, INL Project | Leave a comment

Another look at the INL construction site


Here is another look at the INL construction site. Things are coming into place step by step. The image shows the site where the clean room will be build.

December 15, 2008 Posted by | INL Campus | Leave a comment

Is Nanotechnology ethically acceptable?

nano-attitudesResearch and innovations generate always controversy and different opinions.  A recent report published by  the journal Nature Nanotechnology, shows that Nanotechnology is morally less  acceptable in the United States than in many European countries. For instance Dutch and  Swedish  respondents are more enthusiastic about this emerging technology than Americans .  Among other things, the survey concludes that religion plays an important role in technology acceptance. If you want to read more about this study, please click here.

December 12, 2008 Posted by | INL Campus, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Construction has began

It doesn’t look like much, that is true, but in 2009 the first phase of the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) Campus must and will be concluded. The Portuguese companies Mota-Engil and Empreiteiros Casais have won the international consult. The development of the construction work is followed closely by a control team considering the characteristics of INL’s research facilities, namely the laboratories and the clean room.

By the end of 2009, some of the laboratories are expected to be fully operational, so that research work can take place at INL. 

The official opening ceremony will take place on July 31st 2009. Among many other personalities the King of Spain, Juan Carlos, is expected  to be present at the ceremony.

The conclusion on the INL Campus represents an important milestone in its still very brief history, but nevertheless  very promising as well.

August 4, 2008 Posted by | INL Campus | Leave a comment

INL Campus construction will start soon

The construction of the INL campus will start very soon. During the last months, the terrain, right in the urban centre of Braga, was prepared to allow the construction work to start. The picture taken last week shows the area, that in the future will be occupied by campus. The first phase of the INL campus is expected to be entirely functional by the end of 2009.

June 30, 2008 Posted by | Braga, INL Campus | Leave a comment

The INL Campus

The future INL campus will be an exciting place to work. The construction work has already began, right in the centre of Braga. The first phase of the project includes the Main Science Building, with all the major laboratories, Social Support Building is also a part of the first phase. It includes a fitness center, a game room, reading and Internet lounges and a medical center.

The modern INL campus does not only provide an excellent working environment it is also a very family-friendly facility, with a Kindergarten, lodging facilities and a restaurant/cafeteria.

The official opening ceremony will occur on July 31st 2009. But the building will only be operational by the end of the year.

Initially the building will provide research facilities for at least 200 scientists.

The design of the INL building was assigned to the German company M+W Zander, an organization with large experience in the construction of nanotechnology facilities.

June 16, 2008 Posted by | INL Campus | Leave a comment