Institut Franche-Comté Electronique Mécanique Thermique et Optique - Sciences et Technologies - COMUE Université Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Institut Franche-Comté Electronique Mécanique Thermique et Optique – Sciences et Technologies

The FEMTO-ST institute was created in 2004 as the merging on the Franche-Comté territory of academic labs developing research in the broad and diverse areas of engineering sciences and information and communication sciences. It is today structured in 7 scientific departments: AS2M (Micro-mechatronic systems & Control theory), DISC (Computer Science for complex systems), Energy (Thermic machine, Electric machines, and Fuel-Cell systems), Applied Mechanics (mechanics of materials and structures), MN2S (Micro-nano-sciences et systems), Optics (Nano-photonic, nonlinear optics and optoelectronics), and TF (Microwave and Optics time-frequency metrology, acoustic wave resonators for sensing).
Each department is cultivating a strong scientific expertise in niche domains, which are recognized at the international academic level. Each time it appears to be relevant, one tries to open new scientific breakthrough between two or more academic expertise, within the institute or even with other research laboratories. Cross-disciplinary research has thus been progressively built as one of the strong facets of the research institute, additionally to the necessary excellence in each scientific domain. Another important marker of the research institute in the academic landscape, is its strong dedication to societal impact (application-oriented research), would it concern more fundamental or more applied research activities.
Our scientific expertise in the broad field of engineering sciences and applied physics, develops mostly with experimental approaches closely connected to the theoretical ones, particularly through numerous technology platforms managed by the institute, and allowing for experimental investigation with technological means at the state of the art. Several important experimental know-hows are thus developed and mastered in the institute, building first important valuable assets at the academic level, and second also at the innovation and transfer level in the framework of an industrial and market oriented preoccupation. The latter is involving whether partnerships with companies, or internal technology maturation actions leading e.g. to spin-offs creation. This important high-tech research activity is supported by numerous technological plateforms. The biggest one is our micro-nano-fabrication center MIMENTO, which is belonging to the national CNRS network RENATECH gathering the expertise and facilities of 5 such platforms. The other platforms µRobotex and OSCILLATOR-IMP have obtain another national label known as “Equipment of Excellence”, thus benefiting from dedicated funding for their development, allowing for the reinforcement of their international recognition, keeping their facilities at the international state of the art.
Innovation and transfer of our research results corresponds to an important strategic involvement of the institute, as illustrated by spin-off creation over the laset years (ca. 1 spin-off / year), by the joint labs created with industrial partners, and also by the deployment of a dedicated Foundation, FC’INNOV through its business unit FEMTO-Engineering. This is a private law status, and non-profit Foundation, which is employing dedicated personals for Research & Development corresponding to the prolongation of our own research results toward the industry and the market. Its staff is mainly trained originally in the institute, as PhD students, and they have a close, efficient, and privileged access to the research staff of the institute, as well as to its technological facilities.
Last but not least, the Institute has recently welcome a group of ca. 10 Human Sciences researchers (the RECITS group formed by economists, historians, philosophers, sociologists), which peculiarity is to address societal research issues related to science and technology.
Let us give a few examples of research result highlights at FEMTO-ST: the first EU micro-atomic clock, stability world record for a cryogenic microwave sapphire oscillator, twice IEEE world champion at a micro-robotic race, discovery of the Peregrine soliton in Optics, demonstration of the first brain-inspired photonic computer, world record aspect ratio in femtosecond laser nano-machining, demonstration of the first high sensitivity and metal-free electric field sensor making use of LiNbO3 photonic crystal structure, demonstration of efficient mechanical, acoustic, and phononic metamaterials, advanced process for molecular self-assembly on a surface, design and characterization of AI-based lifetime improved fuel-cell systems, Stirling- Ericsson- and magneto-caloric-thermal engines for heat to electricity conversion or ecologic cooling systems, active skin for real time vibro-acoustic control of mechanical structures, advanced loaded synthesis, precision micro-machining, best performance AI-based cryptanalysis of steganography, online library of advanced modules for the future programmable matter system capable for self-reconfiguration, software testing and verification, AI-based algorithms for the prediction of the genetic evolution of bacteria, integrated portable OCT microscope for skin cancer non-invasive diagnostic, first dedicated and miniaturized robotic system for vocal cords surgery, on-chip bio-analytic platform for blood cell micro-particles multi-modal detection, etc.