IPN - Instituto Pedro Nunes

IPN     IPN Incubadora

Smart Surfaces for Reliable Tooling Integration


Use of PVD sputtering thin-film technology for miniaturization of sensors, for direct application in mechanical components subjected to high external loadings, and evaluate the materials parameters exactly where they must be measured. Optimization of the process to improve the mechanical and electrical integrity of these devices, allowing their reliable and reproducible production and utilization.


The proposed solution is a software that can help to deposit the multilayer stacking with the appropriate conditions for achieving a reliable and reproducible product. The aim is the development of a software solution that can help deposit multilayer systems for a reliable and reproducible product by indicating the correct deposition conditions. This simple program, with the information about the required characteristics of the stacking layers (e.g. residual stress level, defects density, electrical characteristics, hardness, Young´s modulus), supplies the deposition conditions for the stacks fabrication.

Objectives, Activities and Results expected / achieved

The final objectives of this project will be:
• To make available a software able to supply the necessary information for depositing the thin film device without mechanical and electrical integrity problems. To achieve this goal, several partial activities must be developed where complex tasks regarding simulation and experimental work will be integrated into a closed-loop approach;

• To develop/adapt/optimize new materials under the form of thin layers that can be used either as a source of information, based on their properties, for the software application or as layers for the sensing stacks;

• To develop a model which allows predicting the thermomechanical reliability of the stack with a specific process and material parameters;

• To understand by modelling and experimental analysis the stress evolution in each layer of the stack with temperature variation during the manufacturing processes; the effect that stress can have on the electrical behaviour of the functional layer; the level of interface contamination and its effect on the stacking delamination;

• Tailor the individual layer (micro)structure to achieve a given level of residual stress and specific material properties after deposition;

•  To apply the developed software in a practical case where the multilayer sensing stack is built following the information supplied by the software;

• To test the deposited sensor in service conditions.

Project Reference



Intervention Region

North (32,08%) and Center (67,92%) of Portugal

Total Investment


IPN Investment


Total Eligible


IPN Eligible


EC Funding – Total


EC Funding – IPN


National public financial support – Total


National public financial support – IPN



39 Months

Start Date


End Date


Approval Date



TEandM – Tecnologia, Engenharia e Materiais S.A.
Instituto Pedro Nunes
International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory


University of Texas at Austin


Simulation software;
Multilayer thin-film;
Functional surfaces.