Infrastructure for the entire value chain from minerals to materials.
The infrastructure is used in research on minerals, metals and advanced materials. This holistic approach opens great opportunities for interdisciplinary research and industry development.
Norway is rich on mineral resources and has a large and knowledgeable metal industry. A common national ambition is to utilize national mineral resources to a greater extent, and to follow these resources further down the value chain, including secondary use of resources. The potential for innovations in the mineral and metallurgy industry is high. The industry faces major challenges in the exploitation of minerals that require more complex methods to be recovered. To assess whether resources are profitable for industry, it is of great importance to have national expertise and be able to build on strong national research environments.
MiMaC has established an infrastructure for characterization of the structural and chemical composition of minerals, metals and advanced nanomaterials. The laboratory is capable of characterizing in 1-3 dimensions, from atomic to micrometer scale, and down to ppb-level chemical composition. The laboratory facilitates international leading research in material characterization and sustainable production of materials, including materials for battery technology, silicon and secondary resources (recycling and urban mining). MiMaC builds on existing laboratories at NTNU, SINTEF and The Geological Survey of Norway (NGU).
The laboratory strengthens basic and applied research in the field of minerals and materials through interdisciplinary research. This will be of great importance to innovation in the mineral and metal industry in Norway. MiMaC is also a central infrastructure regarding research on functional organic and inorganic materials in Norway. In 2022 MiMaC was granted status as a Gemini centre.
Partners: NTNU (PL), Geological Survey of Norway, SINTEF Industri
Funding: Research Council of Norway, NTNU, Geological Survey of Norway and SINTEF
The proposed infrastructure, MiMaC, is aimed at establishing a world-leading national laboratory for multi-scale (atomic to micron) and multi-dimensional (from 1D to 3D) structure characterisation and high-sensitivity (down to ppb level) chemical analysis of minerals, metals and advanced nano materials.
The national laboratory will be based on a further development, upgrading and coordination of the existing laboratories, located at each node of the three consortium members NTNU, NGU and SINTEF. A series of state-of-the-art instruments of national importance will be invested, which include
- 3D Atom Probe Tomography (APT) for 3D chemical and structural analysis at the nm scale.
-Field Emission Electron Probe Micro-Analyser (FE–EPMA), for µm-level chemical and structural analysis.
-Automated Mineralogy System (AMS) for efficient mineral characterisation.
-Two sets of complementary Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (LA–SS–ICP–MS and LA–QqQ–ICP–MS/MS) for chemical and isotopic mineral analysis and mapping, and inorganic and hybrid organic-inorganic materials analysis.
The total budget for the proposed infrastructure is 84.827 MNOK (with 54.942 MNOK in NFR support). Such a national infrastructure is highly complementary to the existing micro/nano structure characterisation infrastructures in Norway, e.g. NorTEM, NanoLab, NorFab and RECX. MiMaC will strengthen the fundamental and applied research environments of academic institutions and the innovation in mineral and metallurgical industries. It will also facilitate the research fields of nano and advanced materials in Norway. The value-chain approach from minerals to materials will open for new cross-disciplinary research opportunities.