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Research and innovation in ceramics

Work at the Institute of Research for Ceramics – IRCER – is devoted to the transformations of matter involved in processing of bulk ceramics and processing used in surface treatment.

The laboratory activities are situating at the intersection of materials science – mostly ceramics – and process engineering. Implanted in the New Aquitaine region at Limoges, the birthplace of the ceramic industry in France, the IRCER makes the link between tradition and modernity with its pursuit of innovation in the development of highly technical ceramics which answer the new challenges of industry and society (energy, information and communication technologies, health, ecomaterials…).

The IRCER houses in a single building of 8500 m2, called the “Centre Européen de la Céramique”, all 200 members of the laboratory as well as the scientific equipment. Internationally recognized, the institute brings together teams of CNRS scientists, academics of the University of Limoges specialized in chemistry, physics and mechanics of ceramic based materials, physics of plasma processing as well as engineers, technicians and administrative staff. The latter provide essential support services to the laboratory activities and in particular running of the characterization center CARMALIM (CARactérisation des MAtériaux de LIMoges).

The quality, versatility and complementary nature of the state of the art equipment makes the center unique in Europe.

Innovative applications

The IRCER makes and tailors the properties of ceramic-based objects and coatings for innovative applications in many sectors where advanced technology is strategic.

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For information and communication technologies

➝ Component miniaturization: deposit of thin films by laser ablation, PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) or PECVD (Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition) for components and micro-electromechanical systems
➝ Design and development of processing methods for nanocomposite functional materials
➝ New component architectures: fabrication by additive manufacturing (stereography, ink jet printing, 3D microextrusion …) of microwave dielectric components, 3D electronic circuit chips and multifunctional sensors
➝ New telluride based glass materials presenting 2nd and 3rd order optical nonlinearity
➝ Fabrication of optical fibers and/or waveguides from these telluride based materials
➝ Transparent polycrystalline ceramic materials with large dimensions for light amplification in high power lasers
➝ New lead free piezoelectric / ferroelectric compositions

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For ecomaterials

➝ Conception of non-toxic ceramic materials (respecting the REACH standard)
➝ Substitution of petrochemical additives by bio-sourced additives
➝ Starting from ceramics, development of new sustainable materials which can be recycled including exploitation of waste materials.
➝ Development of water based fabrication processing without firing in order to minimize environmental impact

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For the environment and energy

➝ High temperature materials in aggressive environments (e.g. new generations of nuclear reactors, combustion chambers in aircraft engines or rockets, steam methane reforming)
➝ New generations of thermal barriers (e.g. turbine blades in aircraft engines)
➝ Multi-material coatings for wear applications
➝ Catalytic systems for the production of synthetic gas or hydrogen from natural gas (Air Liquide joint laboratory)
➝ New electrolyte materials for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC at 700°C). Fabrication of battery cores and EHT units (high temperature electrolysis)
➝ New materials for energy harvesting (e.g. photovoltaic effect) and storing energy (e.g. battery / supercapacitor hybrid systems)

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For health

➝ Synthesis of different calcium phosphates. Adapted surfaces for grafting
➝ Functionalization of bioceramics by active molecules to stimulate bone regeneration processes (peptide grafting) and / or therapeutic treatments (inclusion and liberation of antibiotics, antiviral drugs, anticancer drugs)
➝ Preparation of implants with specific microstructure and architecture for applications in bone tissue engineering v➝ Bio-sensors for diagnostics and treatment of early stage cancers