CEMMPRE - Centre for Mechanical Engineering, Materials and Processes

Surface Engineering

(Principal Investigator)
Albano Augusto Cavaleiro Rodrigues Carvalho
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SEG-CEMUC is dedicated to the development and deployment of science-based competences in advance surface engineering within the priority research areas defined by CEMUC: Energy, Quallity of life and Improvement of the Efficiency and Lifetime of Engines and Mechanical Components. Most of the group R&D activities have been focused on the production of thin films and functional surfaces for industry. The core competencies of the group are related to but not limited to the production and deployment of thin films by deposited by Magnetron Sputtering mainly for the tooling, automotive, biomedical and energy sectors. Magnetron Sputtering has a wide variety of scientific and industrial uses, and is one of the fastest growing production processes used in modern manufacturing.

The specific research topics of the group in the last five years are listed in the following grouped according to the strategic lines:

  1. Efficiency and Lifetime of Engines and Mechanical Components – The research in this field is focused on the development of coatings aiming to achieve the best performances in one or all of the following requirements: hard / wear resistant, low friction / self-lubrication, low / high temperatures
  2. Quality of Life – The main fields of research in this area are: (i) Surface modification of biomedical devices, (ii) Development of novel bio-electrodes for non-invasive electrophysiological signal monitoring, (iii) Sensors for environment gases detections and (iv) Enhancing the performance of ceramic-based armour systems.
  3. Energy – Two main subjects are concerned in this field, one with alternatives sources of energy based on fuel cells and, the other, on solar energy collection based on surfaces nanostructuring.


Since its beginning, the primary research activity of the group has been the development of coatings for mechanical, tribological and oxidation resistance applications. In the last five years, the main objective in this research field has been to develop a new generation of coatings with significantly improved properties as compared to the classical hard and corrosion resistant nitrides and oxides materials. To achieve this objective, the mechanisms at the origin of the coatings response and performance have been studied down to the nanometre scale. The improved understanding of the relation between film properties and performance has led to the development of new products such as nanocomposite, nanostructured and self-lubricant coatings.

In the last years, one of the main concerns of the group has been to contribute to industrial development by fostering innovation and incorporating new technologies, as strategies for competitiveness. Besides the development of state of the art thin films for high temperature applications, the group has also expanded its area of expertise to coatings for biomedical and energy applications. Surface modification for biomedical devices, such as implants and bio-electrodes, has been a priority research area. The objective has been to improve the bio-compatibility, mechanical performance and lifetime of biomedical devices components by developing multi-functional coatings. In the energy field, the group research has been focused in two specific areas: the development of sputtered electrolyte thin films for SOFCs and the surface nano-structuring by femtosecond laser processing of oxide films to increase their catalytic and absorption properties.

Thematic Lines Associated

  • Mechanical Engineering & Mining/Raw Materials
  • Materials' Contacts, Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Advanced Materials, Technologies & Structures for Health
  • Green Vehicle

PhD Researchers

Albano Augusto Cavaleiro Rodrigues Carvalho
Cristina Maria Gonçalves Santos Louro
Filipe Daniel Fernandes 
Flávia Aparecida de Almeida
João Carlos Barbas de Oliveira
Joel Nuno Pinto Borges
José Filipe Vilela Vaz
Manuel António Peralta Evaristo
Milena Maria Nogueira Vieira
Pedro Manuel Gens Azevedo Matos Faia
Ricardo Gil Henriques Serra
Sandra Maria Fernandes Carvalho

non-PhD Researchers
Ana Teresa Gomes de Oliveira Manaia
Fábio Emanuel de Sousa Ferreira
João Paulo Ferreira Saraiva da Mouta Dias
Melkamu Awoke Mekicha
Noora Kristiina Alves de Sousa Manninen
Nuno Miguel Rodrigo Figueiredo
Sebastian Calderon Velasco
Simone Pereira Rodrigues