Within the Nanotechnologies and Nanosensors Center of the Technical University of Moldova, new laboratory equipment for measuring and supplying electrical quantities, worth over 1 million lei, was purchased. The valuable acquisition is due to the selection of UTM as a partner in the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) project G5634 “Advanced Electro-Optical Chemical Sensors” AMOXES, https://amoxes.unibs.it by the University of Brescia – Università degli Studi di Brescia. 

Won through an international competition, the AMOXES project is a collaboration between the Università degli Studi di Brescia, Italy, the Australian National University, Canberra and the Technical University of Moldova, with a budget of over a quarter of a million euros. UTM was invited to this consortium and won the competition based on the results of systematic scientific research, as well as the over 177 scientific publications listed ISI, over 8400 citations in SCOPUS and the h index = 53 recorded by prof., Dr. Oleg LUPAN, included in the world’s TOP 1% Highly Cited Researchers of Web of Science, who is a representative of the Department of Microelectronics and Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Computers, Informatics and Microelectronics in the Technical University of Moldova, but also Honorary Member of the Academy of Technical Sciences from Romania.

It is a very important project for the Technical University of Moldova, which offers generous scholarships to students of cycles I, II and III of UTM, but also an opportunity to test their knowledge gained through scientific research. The AMOXES project (https://amoxes.unibs.it/) is planned for several years (multi-year project), being funded with the support of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Program, in which 3 universities participate: Technical University of Moldova, University of Brescia, Italy, and Australian National University, Australia.

The project team within the Nanotechnologies and Nanosensors Center of UTM, which includes lect. Nicolai ABABII, dr. Nicolae MAGARIU, dr. Alexandr SEREACOV and dr. Vasilii CREȚU, guided by the director of the Center, prof., dr. Oleg LUPAN, mentions that the purchased equipment will primarily help to fulfill the basic purpose of the project – to prepare an innovative electro-optical conductometric nano-sensor based on MOX (Metal Oxide) structures and heterostructures, but also the specific objectives – to develop sensors with low energy consumption and fast/ultra-fast response times, the combination of two transduction effects that will increase the selectivity of the sensors and the possibility to be distributed in the autonomous wireless network. Developed nanosensors with a diameter of 20-30 nm and a length of several micrometers require specific research equipment to avoid their destruction during the application of electricity by the source-measurement unit and the simultaneous registering of several parameters. The recently acquired high-performance equipment will allow the elaboration of the initial structures and nanostructures of oxide semiconductors in a shorter time, will allow the operative determination and presentation of the surface morphology, which will contribute to the rapid adjustment of technological operations, registering more data and parameters simultaneously, but also to facilitate their further processing. 

The new equipment purchased through the project will have positive effects at UTM, benefitting the training process of young scientists, students of cycles I, II and III in the field of microelectronics, biomedical engineering, applied information technologies, in combination with nanotechnologies, nanomaterials and nanosensors developed at UTM; they will also increase the quality of research regarding the electrical, structural, vibrational, optical and photoelectric properties of nanostructured materials and the heterostructures based on them, studied within the Center; it will benefit the internships of Bachelor students and Master’s students, but also the research of Doctoral students in UTM laboratories; also, it will offer substantial support at national and international high-level scientific projects. A large number of PhD students from other countries have already shown interest in continuing their studies at UTM, cycles II and III.

In the project, the involved participants are students and young employees with a scientific degree from UTM, selected through international competition based on scientific publications and patents.

Nicolai ABABII, PhD student, AMOXES scholarship holder:

– This project allows me to carry out scientific research to complete my doctoral thesis, which I have been working on for 4 years. We are very happy with the new equipment, which will help us in all 6 stages of the AMOXES project, over the next 3 years. At the moment, we have successfully finished the first stage, and in the second stage, which we have already started, we have an urgent need for this modern equipment, which does not exist in the Republic of Moldova. The value of nanosensor prototypes is quite high, and their development is possible only with ultra-high precision equipment. For example, with the source-measurement unit, which allows the registering of over 2500 values ​​with an accuracy of 10E-15 for 1 second, we will be able to measure and accumulate new data for the AMOXES project. The data will propel the research for my doctoral thesis, but also the studies within the theses of UTM students (cycles I, II, III), carried out in collaboration with the Universities involved in the AMOXES project during the next 3 years. I was very lucky to be selected in this international project, which we owe to the achievements of my doctoral supervisor, Dr. Oleg Lupan.

Nicolae MAGARIU, PhD student, AMOXES scholarship holder:

– Thanks to the new equipment obtained through the competition within the AMOXES Project, I will be able to measure several sensors and nanosensors, without damaging them, as it has happened before. Each nanosensor is precious, expensive and unique, so ultra-high and stable precision measurements will allow us to achieve the goal proposed in the AMOXES project, but also in my doctoral thesis. The new purchased devices are some of the most modern and accurate, which will allow us to register more data concurrently, and then their processing will be simpler and more useful for society.

Vasilii CREȚU, doctor in physics, AMOXES scholarship holder:

– The devices purchased within the AMOXES project allow the elaboration of the initial samples of nanostructures in a shorter time. Also, the devices will allow us to operatively determine and present the surface morphology with the new electron microscope connected to the computer, but also the rapid adjustment of technological operations for the production of new sensors and nanomaterials. For example, measuring tens of micrograms of reagents was not previously possible in our department. Likewise, deionized water with a resistivity of 18.2bMOhm × cm was brought only from microelectronic plants, and now we will have everything we need at the Center for Nanotechnologies and Nanosensors, DMIB. So we will save a lot of reagent consumption, and the electron microscope will allow us to manipulate with networks and sensors at the micro- and nanometric scale.

Alexandr SEREACOV, PhD student, scholarship holder AMOXES:

– The local server cluster is required for storing, analyzing and viewing the data collected from the wireless network with sensors and nanosensors. Also, the cluster is to be only a part of a distributed system, with the ability to scale horizontally. The Bluetooth platform will be used for prototyping and testing the network logic. Sets of electronic components, such as processors, operational amplifiers, batteries, etc., will be used to build a group of measurement platforms with a wireless communications subsystem for nanosensors. All these will allow the successful realization of the AMOXES project, but also of my doctoral thesis at UTM.

The team of the Nanotechnologies and Nanosensors Center expresses sincere thanks to the administration of the Technical University of Moldova for the support provided throughout the purchase of the equipment through public tender: Viorel BOSTAN – Prof., PhD, rector of UTM; Daniela Pojar – Head of Resource Management; Svetlana GÎRLEA – Head of Finance and Accounting; Corina MARDARI – Head of the Legal Office; Olga GHERMAN and Esenia TURCHIN – Public Procurement Service; Irina CUȘNIR – Finance and Accounting Department; associate professor, dr. Dumitru CIORBĂ – dean of the Faculty of Computers, Informatics and Microelectronics; prof., dr. Victor ȘONTEA – head of the Department of Microelectronics and Biomedical Engineering.

Sincere thanks to the companies that participated in the open tender, because the preparation of dozens of pages with technical data and documentation required a lot of effort, time and professionalism, subsequently to the delivery of equipment on time: „ASCENDA IT” SRL; ÎM „Dutchmed-M” SRL; „DataControl” SRL; „Lokmera” SRL; „NeoMatrix” SRL; „Labromed Laborator” SRL; ICS „NITECH” SRL; ICS „ACSEAL GAZ” SRL.

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