Full name: Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science, Centre for Energy Research,  Hungarian Academy of Sciences, formerly known as Research Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Sciences
Short name: MFA
Full time employees: 123
Address: 1121 Budapest, Konkoly Thege Miklós út 29-33
Mailbox: 1525 Budapest, Pf. 49.Webpagewww.mfa.kfki.huwww.energia.mta.hu

About Centre for Energy Research (EK)

The mission of the Centre for Energy Research is to perform research and development in the field of nuclear science and technology for facilitating the adoption and the safe use of nuclear technology in Hungary, to participate in international research efforts aiming at the establishing a new generation of nuclear power plants and closing the fuel cycle, to study the interaction of radiation (including neutrons, gamma-rays and electrons) with matter, and to do isotope and nuclear chemistry, chemical analysis by nuclear methods, radiography, radiation chemistry, radiation protection and nuclear security, surface chemistry and renewable energy research. The Centre and its Institutes focus their research efforts on the following topics:

  • basic and applied research in the fields of reactor physics, fuel rods, thermohydraulics, nuclear fusion, nuclear reactions and nuclear data, health physics, real time expert systems, reactor core simulations, safety assessments of nuclear power plants, safety aspects of transportation and storage of nuclear materials, analysis of reactor failures, radiation damage, mechanics, reactor core diagnostics and leak detection, as defined in the Law on the application of nuclear energy;
  • nuclear safeguards, method development and application of destructive and non-destructive characterization techniques;
  • application and development of nuclear analytical techniques;
  • study the chemical effects of ionizing radiation, such as polimerization, degradation, waste removal, dosimetry;
  • basic research in the fields of surface chemistry and catalysis by applying Mössbauer and XPS spectroscopy, tracers and radiation-modified catalysts;
  • technical support activity for the Hungarian Authorities in the fields of nuclear safeguards, radiation safety, registration and transport of nuclear materials, characterization of confiscated or unknown nuclear materials;
  • technical and administrative operation of the Budapest Research Reactor and its cold source, promoting the utilization of the reactor and the related intruments in Hungary and abroad, also as a gestor of the Budapest Neutron Center consortium, basic and applied research in neutron radiography, neutron physics, prompt and instrumental activation analysis, and in the field of biology-related applications;
  • the arrangement of emergency response and environmental monitoring at the KFKI Campus, contribution to the domestic nuclear emergency relief service.

Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science  (MFA)

MFA is conducting multidisciplinary research on complex functional materials and nanometer-scale structures targeting the exploration of physical, chemical and biological principles, and their exploitation in integrated micro- and nanosystems as well as the development of characterization techniques. MFA operates six scientific departments: Nanostructures, Photonics, Microtechnology, Thin film physics, Ceramics and Nanocomposites, and Complex Systems. Based on the fundamental research results among others applications, services and prototypes for use in healthcare, car industry, energy production, safety and security and environmental solutions, etc. are developed.

MFA has about 105 full time employees, ca. 80 researchers of 68 with scientific qualification (Ph.D.) among them 16 professors (D.Sc.). The annual turnover in 2011 was close to 2,4Billion HUF (7,7M EUR). Ca. 35% of the budget comes from state subsidy and the rest from competitive international and domestic R&D funding and industrial contracts. MFA not only active in the R&D on integrated sensors, but is also engaged in technology transfer, too. MFA is part of a large network of international and domestic co-operation with academic, industrial and university partners, which supports the application of R&D results.

MFA operates National Strategic Research Facilities. One of them is the MEMS Laboratory of the Department of Microtechnology with a 300 m2 clean room (class 10 – 10000) housing a complete Si wafer processing line set for 3″ and 4″ Si wafers. Another 200 clean room facility contains the maskshop with a resolution of <1 μm and the microfluidic and nanostructuring lines. Besides the advanced PVD, CVD, ALD coating techniques, up-to date dry etching and back-end processing, assembly and encapsulation support the development of bulk micro machined and micro fluidic devices.

MFA has skills, expertise, know-how for developing a.o.:

  • Capacitive and piezoresistive type pressure and force sensors for different measurement ranges;
  • Integrated micro force sensor array for tactile and vibration sensing;
  • Suspended microheaters of a mass flow meter realized from silicon-nitride and multi-crystalline diamond (deposited by SAD technique).
  • Integrated pellistors and heat conductivity sensors for olfactory detection of flammable gases (methane, propane-butane and hexane) including electronic noses;
  • Integrated Taguchy-type gas sensors for hazardous gases;
  • Porous Silicon Based Humidity Sensor with interdigital electrodes and internal heaters;
  • Direction Dependent Flow Sensor;
  • μPirani vacuum sensor;
  • Integrated Photo-acoustic Gas Detector System for monitoring low concentration environmental gas emission (methane, ammonia) with micro scale Cantilever type optical microphone;
  • Chemically Modified Solid-State Nanopores for Sensing;
  • Controllable Moving Microstructures for Microfluidic Application;
  • Si Micro-turbine by Proton Beam Writing and Porous Silicon Micromachining;
  • ZnO nanorod based force sensing and energy harvesting,
  • Microfluidic applications and systems for corrosive environments:
  • Highly sensitive biosensors using optical readout schemes.
  • Nanopore

One of the success stories in MFA sensor technology is the development of a tactile sensor. MFA and the Chair of Information Technology of the Catholic University Péter Pazmany (PPKE ITK) have patented and developed a new type of 3D axial touch sensor, which measures not only the amplitude of force acting on a surface, but also the vectorial components of the force, such as the shear forces acting parallel to the surface. There are various exploitation options for this type of sensor, such as in medicine (quantitative detection of hardness of human tissue), in robotics (optimize the actions by using direct feedback based on share force measurements) and in detection of other surface irregularities. In 2007, MTA MFA and PPKE ITK funded a spin-off (Tactologic Ltd.), in 2008 the company was rated the best start-up the year by Ernst & Young. TactoLogic has received the Millenium Award 2010 from the Hungarian Patent Office.

Local chair

János Volk, PhD, Head of the NEMS research group (www.nems.hu) at MTA EK MFA , Budapest, Hungary. He received MSc and PhD degrees in Physics in 2001 and in 2005 at the Budapest University of Technology. 2005-2007 he participated in the International Center for Young Scientist program at NIMS in Japan where he gained experience in ZnO nanostructure fabrication and analysis. From 2013-2014 he worked on MgZnO/ZnO and AlGaN/GaN polar heterostructures at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in the US. He has experience in piezoelectric and semiconducting nanostructures, oxide thin films, electron beam lithography, and in scanning probe microscopy. He is/has been the PI of several national (e.g. www.kofah.hu) and bilateral (AUT-HUN, JAP-HUN)  projects; and local coordinator in an EU FP7 consortium (PiezoMat, www.piezomat.eu). Besides he is a delegate in the World Materials Institutes Forum (www.wmrif.org).