News: Materialvetenskaphttp://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterNews related to Chalmers University of TechnologyTue, 05 Dec 2017 15:42:19 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/sv/nyheterhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/ims/news/Pages/vincenzo-palermo-receives-funding-for-new-2D-super-materials.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/ims/news/Pages/vincenzo-palermo-receives-funding-for-new-2D-super-materials.aspxChalmers Foundation invests in new 2D super materials<p><b>​To ensure Chalmers as key player for graphene based two dimensional (2D) composite materials research, Chalmers Foundation invests SEK 15 million into a new research group. 2D materials are only one-atom-thick and have the potential to become super materials to be used for health sensors, water filters, new cool electronics or better batteries.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The discovery of graphene allowed researchers to produce and process a wide range of two dimensional (2D) materials. The next step is to combine these one-atom-thick, large and flexible nanosheets with polymers, metals or molecules in order to become new innovative nano-composites – super materials. </span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>In order to empower Chalmers</strong> as a key player for the research on graphene-based 2D composites, the <a href="/en/foundation/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">Chalmers University of Technology Foundation</a> will invest SEK 15 million in the next three years to finance laboratory equipment and to part-finance a research group under the supervision of Professor Vincenzo Palermo.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /> <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Vincenzo-Palermo.aspx" target="_blank">Vincenzo Palermo</a> has for the last four years been the leader of activities on nano-composites of the <a href="https://graphene-flagship.eu/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">Graphene Flagship</a>. Since 2017 he is also the vice-director of the Graphene Flagship and professor at the <a href="/en/departments/ims/Pages/default.aspx">Department of Industrial and Materials Science​</a>. In his research, Vincenzo Palermo uses nanotechnology and supramolecular chemistry to create new materials with applications in mechanics, electronics and energy. In particular, he works with the production of carbon-based composite materials as graphene. </span></div> <div><br /><div><span style="background-color:initial"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/IMS/Material%20och%20tillverkning/Graphene_270x200.png" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Graphene is a crystalline material consisting of one layer of carbon atoms, arranged in a hexagonal pattern. The material is <em>100 times thinner </em>than a human hair but <em>20 times stronger </em>than steel. At the same time, graphene is light and flexible, and also conducts both electricity and heat very well. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>As graphene has these properties</strong>, there are many potential uses. Improved batteries and touch screens for mobiles and tablets are some examples but if graphene is combined with layers of other materials, the possibilities are even bigger.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">– Yes, the potential is enormous and now our imagination is put to a test. Graphene could be used for sensors for measuring of e.g. cholesterol, glucose or haemoglobin levels in the body, new antibiotics or cure for cancer, or perhaps for curtains that capture sunlight and heat up the house. Another thing is that graphene-based materials shall allow water to pass through it while blocking other liquids or gases. It could therefore be utilized as a filter of, for instance, drinking water. Also, because the material is so strong and weighs so little it can be used to produce new composites in aircrafts or other vehicles, in order to save weight and reduce energy consumption.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>Thanks to the funding</strong> granted by Chalmers Foundation, Vincenzo Palermo will be able to expand his research team. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">– I am very happy for the opportunities this gives me. The funding will lead to the development of innovative composites of 2D materials with polymers and metals, the creation of new industrial collaboration with key partners and, last but not least, to the training of a new group of young researchers from Chalmers.</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>FACTS</strong></div> <div>Vincenzo Palermo obtained his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 2003 at the University of Bologna, after working at the University of Utrecht (the Netherlands) and at the Steacie Institute, National Research Council (Ottawa, Canada). Now Vincenzo Palermo holds a position as research professor at Chalmers <a href="/en/departments/ims/Pages/default.aspx">Department of Industrial and Materials Science​</a> in Gothenburg, Sweden, and is acting as vice-director of the <a href="https://graphene-flagship.eu/Pages/default.aspx">Graphene Flag​ship​</a>. </div> <div><ul><li><span style="background-color:initial">&gt; 130 scientific articles (&gt;4000 citations, h-index=35).</span><br /></li> <li><span style="background-color:initial">In 2012 he won the Lecturer Award for Excellence of the Federation of European Materials Societies (FEMS) </span><br /></li> <li><span style="background-color:initial">In 2013 he won the Research Award of the Italian Society of Chemistry (SCI). </span><br /></li> <li><span style="background-color:initial">He has published two books on the life and science of Albert Einstein (Hoepli, 2015) and of Isaac Newton (Hoepli, 2016). </span><br /></li> <li><span style="background-color:initial">In November 2017 he won a Research Project Grant for Engineering Sciences, assigned within the Research Grants Open call 2017 from Vetenskapsrådet.</span><br /></li></ul></div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The donation from the <a href="/en/foundation/Pages/default.aspx">Chalmers University of Technology Foundation</a> comprises SEK 15 million divided over three years by SEK 5 million per year during the period of 2018-2020. The money is intended to part-finance a research group to Professor Vincenzo Palermo and to finance laboratory equipment. The research group is supposed to consist of two research assistants and two post-docs.</span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Nina Silow</div> <div>Photo: Graphene Flagship</div> ​</div></div> ​Tue, 05 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/Top-scientists-in-sustainable-energy-gathers-at-Chalmers.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/news/Pages/Top-scientists-in-sustainable-energy-gathers-at-Chalmers.aspxTop scientists in sustainable energy gathers at Chalmers<p><b>​On 6-8 December, the Sustainable Energy Symposium is held at Chalmers, in collaboration with the Molecular Frontiers. The seminar brings together world-leading researchers from several science disciplines to present the latest advances within the field.</b></p>​ <br />The conference gathers distinguished researchers, industry representatives, decision makers and an engaged public for presentations and discussions on future energy solutions. Development of sustainable technologies for solar energy, batteries and energy storage is needed to make the necessary switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. During the conference, the latest advances in the field will be highlighted, and the content will be made available to the public. Through live broadcast at <a href="http://www.youtube.com/molecluestv" target="_blank">Molecular Frontiers YouTube Channel</a>  you will be able to follow the conference even if you are not in place. <br /><br /><br /><strong>150 high school students participate</strong><br />Sustainable Energy Symposium is a unique event in several ways – about half of the conference participants are high school students. This is possible thanks to the Molecular Frontiers Foundation which offers a scholarship for students from all over the country to come. The Molecular Frontiers emphasize in particular the importance of being curious and asking good questions. Approximately 150 students from all over the country are given the opportunity to listen to and ask questions to world-leading researchers.<br /><br /><br />Among the speakers are noted:<br /><br /><strong>Steven Chu, Nobel Prize winner in Physics 1997 and Obama's Energy Ministers 2009-2013.</strong><br />Steven Chu was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 for his work on laser cooling of atoms. Since then, his research has increasingly been about solving the challenges of climate change and sustainable energy supply. In 2009, Barack Obama appointed him the United States Secretary of Energy, and became the first scientist in an American government. After his time as Energy Secretary, he returned to research but remains a prominent debater focusing on renewable energy and nuclear power. He emphasizes the importance of reducing fossil fuel use to address global warming and climate change. He has put forward a number of innovative and sometimes controversial proposals for action.<br /><br /><strong>Paul Alivisatos, University of California at Berkeley</strong><br />Paul Alivisatos is a pioneer in nanotechnology, focusing on inorganic nanocrystals. By controlling the size and surface of the nanocrystals, his research team can tailor their properties and produce materials for a variety of applications, including solar cells and materials to reduce carbon dioxide into hydrocarbons. He has developed quantum dots, small semiconductors that are isolated from the environment and are extremely effective in absorbing and transmitting light. These are already used in the most energy efficient and high quality television screens in market today.<br /><br /><strong>Daniel Nocera, Harvard University</strong><br />Two inventions of Daniel Nocera may be of great importance in the future. The artificial leaf, mentioned in Time magazine’s list of Inventions of the Year 2011, mimics the photosynthesis, and splits water into hydrogen and oxygen by using sunlight. A further development of the concept is the bionic leaf, which takes carbon dioxide from the air and combines it with hydrogen from the artificial leaf to produce biomass and liquid fuel. In this way, a cycle is achieved that is much more efficient than photosynthesis in nature, which can contribute to a green and cheap production of fuel and food.<br /><br /><br /><strong>Program</strong><br /><a href="/en/conference/sustainableenergy/Documents/Program_Sustainable_Energy.pdf" target="_blank">Here you will find the entire program for the conference &gt;</a><br /><br /><br />Plenary lectures 7-8 December:<br />• <strong>Steven Chu</strong> – <em>Climate Change and innovative paths to a sustainable future</em><br />Nobel laureate in Physics 1997, former United States Secretary of Energy. Stanford University, United States<br />• <strong>Dame Julia King</strong> – <em>Electric vehicles in a sustainable energy system</em><br />The Baroness Brown of Cambridge DBE <br />• <strong>Sir Richard Friend</strong> – <em>How can molecules function as semiconductors?</em><br />University of Cambridge, United Kingdom<br />• <strong>Daniel G. Nocera</strong> – <em>Fuels and Food from Sunlight, Air and Water</em><br />Harvard University, United States<br />• <strong>Paul Alivisatos</strong> – <em>Quantum Dot Light Emitters: from displays to enabling a new generation of energy conversion systems</em><br />University of California, Berkeley, United States<br />• <strong>Josef Michl</strong> – <em>Singlet Fission for Solar Cells</em><br />University of Colorado Boulder, United States and Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Czech Republic <br />• <strong>Katherine Richardson</strong> – <em>How do we transition an entire country’s energy system to renewables?</em><br />University of Copenhagen, Denmark<br />• <strong>Harry Atwater</strong> – <em>Fuelling Human Progress with Sunlight</em><br />California Institute of Technology, United States<br />• <strong>Susanne Siebentritt</strong> – <em>Thin film solar cells – achievements and challenges</em><br />University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg<br />•<strong> Jean-Marie Tarascon</strong> – <em>Materials science for electrochemical storage: Achievements and new directions</em><br />Collège de France, FranceMon, 04 Dec 2017 11:00:00 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/corrosion-chemist.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/corrosion-chemist.aspxPrestigious awards to Chalmers corrosion chemist<p><b>​Mohsen Esmaily, researcher at the Inorganic Environmental Chemistry Division has recently received two prestigious awards from the Electrochemical Society and Acta Materialia Inc for cutting-edge research in the field of materials and corrosion science.</b></p><p><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/mohsen-esmaily.aspx">​​Mohsen Esmaily</a> is currently employed as postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical engineering, Division of Energy and Materials at Chalmers University of Technology. He completed his Ph.D. at the same university in Feb. 2016 “The role of Microstructure in the Atmospheric Corrosion of selected Light Alloys and Composites”. The thesis includes 16 peer reviewed journal papers. For the ground breaking results achieved in this thesis he is now given the two prestigious awards. </p> <p>​Mohsen Esmaily showed in his thesis and also later work ways to create much more corrosion resistant magnesium alloys than this far has been possible. This may open up the field for new lightweight magnesium constructions, and thus may in the long run lead to a reduction of harmful emissions.   </p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="font-size:14px;margin-right:0px"><p style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">“To make the world a better place is my biggest goal, but along the way I need some support and appreciation so it was really rewarding for me to see that my work was appreciated by the community. I am thinking about all the days, nights, weekends, summers and holidays when I was in the office and in the lab instead of being with my family, with my son. I was happy when I got the awards because I knew that I have made a great contribution. I now feel even more motivated than before to do high quality research, but I also need to have more balance in my life”, says Mohsen Esmaily.</span></p></blockquote> <p>Recently he also, together with leading corrosion scientists from Spain, Germany, Australia, and USA coauthored a 100 pages comprehensive review summarizing decades of Mg corrosion research as well as some new unpublished data. It was published August 2017 in the highly ranked journal <em>Progress in Materials Science</em> with reviewers comments such as “the best review I’ve ever seen in the field of corrosion”, “superior to the majority of previous Mg review articles”, and “a tremendous contribution to the field of Mg corrosion”. The paper is now listed as the second most downloaded review in the journal.</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right:0px"><p><span style="font-size:14px">“I was managing the team and we had a (very) tight deadline. That was also a lot of hard work, but I would really suggest such work to other people at my level because at the end of this review I saw the bigger picture of our research, I found many interesting unknowns, and could select much better questions in the field of materials science to answer in the future. Also, I had the chance to interact with many prominent scientist”, says Mohsen Esmaily. </span></p></blockquote> <p>Previously, Mohsen Esmaily’s achievements in the field of light alloys corrosion have been recognized and rewarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and the Wallenberg Foundation. </p> <p><br />Read more about Mohsen Esmaily’s awards and research on the links below.<br /><a href="/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Breakthrough-for-magnesium-lightweight-materials.aspx">Breakthrough for magnesium lightweight materials </a><br /><a href="http://www.electrochem.org/redcat-blog/2017-corrosion-division-morris-cohen-graduate-student-award-goes-moshen-esmaily/">2017 Corrosion Division Morris Cohen Graduate Student Award Goes to Moshen Esmaily!</a><br /><a href="https://www.journals.elsevier.com/acta-materialia/news/recipients-of-the-2016-acta-student-awards">Recipients of the 2016 Acta Student Awards</a></p> <p> </p> <p><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/Mohsen%20Esmaily%20text.png" width="250" height="175" alt="" style="margin:5px" /></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>Image: ASM Award Ceremony- From left: Dr. William E. Frazier  (American Society of Metals (ASM) president), Mohsen Esmaily (Chalmers), and Prof. Christopher Schuh (The Head of Materials Science Department at MIT) <br /><br /></p> <p>  </p>Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/materials/news/Pages/Science-Festival-2017.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/materials/news/Pages/Science-Festival-2017.aspxMaterials Science at the Gothenburg Science Festival<p><b>​Chalmers Areas of Advance-Materials Science hosted two popular events during the 2017 International Science Festival in Gothenburg. The activities involved both 3D printing and a science quiz.</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P">​One activity was part of the program called DigiLab where students aged 10-12 years visited Chalmers to try out experiments using digital techniques to solve various problems. The materials science activity involved 3D-printing of Lego bricks, which were then subjected to several materials tests and compared with a commercial Lego brick, while discussing a future world of sustainable plastics.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Materials Science also hosted an exhibition for the general public in Nordstan. During four days visitors could pass by and learn about “Materials in our daily lives”, perform experiments and talk about materials science with the Masters Students from Chalmers. The exhibition featured highlights such as materials for energy applications, 3D-printing, materials from the forest, smart textiles and sports materials, where old and new sports equipment were compared. A video displaying the Chalmers/SSPA project “the Flying Optimist” caught a lot of attention. A science quiz was also organized at the exhibition and at the end of the festival 12 lucky winners received a movie ticket as a price.</p>Fri, 19 May 2017 15:00:00 +0200http://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/ims/news/Pages/Rikard-Söderberg-utnämnd-till-prefekt-för-IMS.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/ims/news/Pages/Rikard-S%C3%B6derberg-utn%C3%A4mnd-till-prefekt-f%C3%B6r-IMS.aspxRikard Söderberg appointed Head of Department of IMS<p><b></b></p><span>The process of recruiting heads of departments to three of Chalmers newly formed departments is now complete and Rikard Söderberg is the new head of the Department of Industrial and Materials Science. Rikard takes on the role as head of department immediately.<br />The decision has been preceded by consultation with and proposals from a recruitment group consisting of representatives from the two merging departments. Ordinary collaboration with employee organizations according to Chalmers routines has also been applied.<br /><br /><em>&quot;I am very pleased that we have been able to reach this very good solution so quickly. Now, I look forward to working with your entire department under the leadership of Rikard.&quot;</em><br />Rektor Stefan Bengtsson<span style="display:inline-block"></span></span><br />Fri, 19 May 2017 14:00:00 +0200http://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Volvo-scholarship.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Volvo-scholarship.aspxProfessor in chemistry gets awarded with Volvo scholarship<p><b>​Louise Olsson, professor in Chemical Reaction Engineering at Chalmers, is the recipient of The Håkan Frisinger Scholarship of SEK 250 000, for her research on emission cleaning from vehicles.</b></p><p>​Emissions from vehicles are not only harmful to our health but also to our environment. They contain toxic substances such as nitrogen oxides that can elevate the risk of asthma and cause acidification of the environment. There are also different hydrocarbons that can be cancerous and soot particles that are harmful. </p> <p><br />In the past 20 years, <a href="/en/staff/Pages/louise-olsson.aspx">Louise Olsson</a> has dedicated herself to research on emission cleaning from vehicles using catalysis. In addition to her role as a professor, she is also Head of Division Chemical Engineering, and together with her research group of twelve people she is associated with the <a href="/en/centres/KCK/Pages/default.aspx">Competence Center for Catalysis (KCK)</a>. At KCK, they work with catalysis for emission cleaning and alternative fuel production.</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="font-size:14px;margin-right:0px"><p style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">- I work highly interdisciplinary with vehicle catalysis, where I combine experiments with developing kinetic models. I also work with basic science projects and have many applied projects together with the industry, says Louise Olsson.</span></p></blockquote> <p>On May 11, she will be rewarded for her extensive work on vehicle catalysis. After receiving the scholarship, she will hold a lecture on the subject. It appears that she is very pleased to be the recipient of 2016.</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="font-size:14px;margin-right:0px"><p style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">- It has been great fun to have been awarded The Håkan Frisinger scholarship. It is a great honor to get this recognition and very motivating for my continued work, says Louise Olsson. </span></p></blockquote> <p>The scholarship is awarded by Håkan Frisinger's foundation at a seminar on May 11, 13-16 at Chalmerska Huset, Södra Hamngatan 11, Gothenburg. <a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSerI3IU26RJna9QpyvN3olHZAYiUq7OQoygmLej1f5SBKXGbg/viewform">Link to registration (in Swedish)</a></p> <p> </p> <p><br /><em>Håkan Frisinger was CEO of Volvo between 1983 and 1987 and Chairman of the Board between 1997 and 1999. Nomination of recipients of the Frisinger scholarship is conducted by the Chalmers University of Technology based on an agreement between Chalmers and </em><a href="http://www.vref.se/"><em>Volvo Research &amp; Educational Foundations (VREF)</em></a></p> <p><br /><a href="http://www.vref.se/hakanfrisingeraward.4.34d8785812fd178ec94800021666.html"><em>Read more about The Håkan Frisinger Scholarship here</em></a><br /></p> <p>Text: Mariam Nordström</p> <p> </p>Wed, 03 May 2017 00:00:00 +0200http://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/How-to-design-smart-materials-for-the-future.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/How-to-design-smart-materials-for-the-future.aspxHow to design smart materials for a sustainable future<p><b>​Functional food, smarter solar cells and eco-friendly fabrication processes for textiles and paper. The new soft matter electron microscopes at Chalmers can contribute to smarter materials in many ways. By using the world-unique instruments it’s now possible to examine and improve soft matter on an atomic level.</b></p><div>​<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/mjukmikroskopibild1270x270.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />“Soft microscopy gives us a deeper understanding of the structure of different materials. We can see how they store, produce and use energy. A fantastic thing is that we can even make experiments in the microscopes. That makes it possible to optimize materials and improve the effects on our health and environment. The new technique paves the way for sustainable and smart products”, says Eva Olsson, Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology, and a driving force within the Area of advance for material science. </div> <div> </div> <div>Chalmers has invested in three state of the art electron microscopes for soft matter. Two of them have arrived recently and the third one will be delivered at the end of the year. In total, the equipment costs about 6,9 million euros, of which half the amount was sponsored by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. </div> <div> </div> <div>Hopefully, the new technique will promote the field of material science and result in better products and fabrication processes in the industry. For example, it can be used to develop functional food and to improve pharmaceuticals, medical implants or solar cells. By designing the microstructure in a better way, it could also be possible to manufacture pulp and paper products in a more environmentally friendly way. </div> <div> </div> <div>To implement the new possibilities, Chalmers invites the industry to different collaborations. On the 5th of May, the first workshop with the new microscopes was arranged. Soft Microscopy Centre hosted the event. The centre is a cooperation between Chalmers’ area of advance Material Science and Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE). The aim is to create opportunities for smart materials for the future and to promote collaborations between academia and the industry. </div> <div> </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/340x296px/Eva_Olsson340x296_NY_IMG_0210.MiaHallerodPalmgrenJPG.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />“I’m proud that we can develop smart materials that contribute to a more sustainable society. For example, we can take out poisonous material or make a fabrication process more energy-efficient”, says Eva Olsson. </div> <div>She hopes that many scientists and specialists will take the opportunity to discover the new possibilities with soft microscopy. </div> <div> </div> <div>Text: Mia Halleröd Palmgren, <a href="mailto:%20mia.hallerodpalmgren@chalmers.se">mia.hallerodpalmgren@chalmers.se</a><br /><br /></div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Facts: Electron microscopy</h4> <div>An electron microscope is a microscope that uses a beam of accelerated electrons as a source of illumination. It can reveal the structure of smaller objects and makes it possible to study single atoms. A soft electron microscope is based on the same method, but the energy of the electrons is lower. That makes it possible to study soft organic materials, such as food, textiles or tissues, without destroying the structure of the material. There are different kinds of electron microscopes, for example transmission electron microscopes (TEM), scanning transmission electron microscopes (STEM), scanning electron microscope (SEM) and a combinations of focused ion beam microscope and SEM (FIB-SEM). </div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Soft microscopy workshop at Chalmers:</h4> <div>On the 5th of May,<a href="/en/areas-of-advance/materials/research/smc/Pages/default.aspx"> Soft Microscopy Centre</a> hosted an industrial workshop aimed for industrial scientists, specialists, and research managers, and academic scientists with an interest in applied science and soft microscopy. The purpose of the workshop was to establish new collaborations, strengthen the applied research in the field of soft materials structures and properties based on industrial needs and to start joint projects. </div> <div>The workshop was comprised of lectures by leading industrial and academic scientists, presentations of the different environments, guided tours to the microscopes and a good occasion for networking. </div> <div><a href="/en/conference/soft-microscopy/Pages/default.aspx">Read more about the workshop. </a> </div> <div> </div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">More information:</h5> <div><strong><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Eva-Olsson.aspx">Eva Olsson</a></strong>, Professor, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 31 772 32 47, eva.olsson@chalmers.se,</div> <div><strong><a href="/en/search/Pages/default.aspx?q=niklas+lor%c3%a9n">Niklas Lorén</a></strong>, Adjunct Professor, RISE Agrifood and Bioscience, +46 10 516 66 14, niklas.loren@ri.se</div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/750x340/IMG_0153_750x340px.png" alt="" style="margin:5px" /> </div> <div> </div> <div> </div>Thu, 27 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0200http://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Polymer-technologist-at-ERC-jubilee.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Polymer-technologist-at-ERC-jubilee.aspxChalmers polymer technologist gets to present his work at the ERC jubilee<p><b></b></p><p><a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/Christian-Müller.aspx">​Christian Müller, </a>Associate Professor at Chemsitry and Chemical Engieering, is one of three very successful researchers who had the opportunity to present their research under the headline “Beyond expectations” when the European Research Council, ERC, celebrated their 10 year anniversary in Brussels March 21. </p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right:0px"><p style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">- </span><i>The 10th ERC birthday celebration was a remarkable event, with many inspiring presentations. It was very insightful to witness how journalists, politicians and, of course, scientists can together shape research policy.</i></p> <p style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">With my presentation, I highlighted that research in one area can lead to unexpected insights in other fields. This process is often referred to as “cross-fertilization” says Christian Müller.</span></p></blockquote> <p>His ERC-projects involve using the energy from the heat from the human body using smart polymers. The aim is to create totally new textiles which makes the wearer an energy producer. </p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="font-size:14px;margin-right:0px"><p style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">- I am fascinated by the multitude of properties that plastic materials can display. With my research, I hope to contribute to the lasting appeal of this unique class of materials, through incorporation of new functionalities in a sustainable fashion, says Christian Müller.</span></p></blockquote> <p>Within his researcher he is leading three major projects with totally different applications. Besides conductive textiles he is also researching about isolation of high-voltage cables, which gives higher efficiency and lower costs, and also how conductive plastics can contribute to more efficient solar cells. </p> <p><br />In 2014 he became a Wallenberg Academy Fellow and 2016 he became a SSF Future Research Leader.<br />ERC was established by EU to finance distinguished researchers in Europe and their most creative ideas. They finance long-term, individual grants for curiosity-driven pioneering high-risk research and is of today financing around 7.000 researchers throughout Europe, of which most are younger than 40 years old.    <br /></p> <p><strong>Read more about Christian Müller</strong></p> <div><a href="/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/We-all-are-power-plants.aspx">We all are power plants </a></div> <div><a href="/en/news/Pages/Carbon-nanoballs-can-greatly-contribute-to-sustainable-energy-supply.aspx">Carbon nanoballs can greatly contribute to sustainable energy supply </a><a href="/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/28-million-SEK-for-solar-cell-research.aspx"></a></div> <div>28 million SEK for solar cell research </div> <div><a href="/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Martinelli-and-Muller-become-SSF-Future-Research-Leaders.aspx">Anna Martinelli and Christian Müller become SSF Future Research Leaders </a><br /></div> <p> </p> <p>Text: Mats Tiborn and Anita Fors</p>Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:00:00 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/3D-bioprinted-human-cartilage-cells-can-be-implanted.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/3D-bioprinted-human-cartilage-cells-can-be-implanted.aspx3D bioprinted human cartilage cells can be implanted<p><b>​Swedish researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy and Chalmers University of Technology have successfully induced human cartilage cells to live and grow in an animal model, using 3D bioprinting. The results will move development closer to a potential future in which it will be possible to help patients by giving them new body parts through 3D bioprinting.</b></p><p>​The results were recently presented in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open.</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="font-size:14px;margin-right:0px"><p style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">“This is the first time anyone has printed human-derived cartilage cells, implanted them in an animal model and induced them to grow,” says <a href="/en/staff/Pages/paul-gatenholm.aspx">Paul Gatenholm</a>, professor of biopolymer technology at Chalmers University of Technology.</span></p></blockquote> <div style="font-size:14px">Among else, Professor Gatenholm leads the research team working with the new biomaterial based on nanocellulose at the Wallenberg Wood Science Center. He has been working with Lars Kölby, senior lecturer at Sahlgrenska Academy and specialist consultant with the Department of Plastic Surgery at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.</div> <div style="font-size:14px"> </div> <div>The researchers printed a hydrogel of nanocellulose mixed with human-derived cartilage cells – a so called construct. They used a 3D bioprinter manufactured by Cellink, a Gothenburg-based startup firm whose bio-ink is a result of research by Paul Gatenholm. Immediately after printing, the construct was implanted in mice.</div> <div> </div> <div>The researchers can report three positive results of the animal study:<br />1. Human cartilage tissue has grown in an animal model.<br />2. Vascularisation, i.e., the formation of blood vessels, between the materials.<br />3. Strong stimulation of proliferation and neocartilage formation by human stem cells.</div> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="font-size:14px;margin-right:0px"><div style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">“What </span><span style="font-size:14px"></span><span style="font-size:14px">we see after 60 days is something that begins to resemble cartilage. It is white and the human cartilage cells are alive and producing what they are supposed to. We have also been able to stimulate the cartilage cells by adding stem cells, which clearly promoted further cell division,” says Lars Kölby.</span></div></blockquote> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="font-size:14px;margin-right:0px"><div style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">“We now have proof that the 3D printed hydrogel with cells can be implanted. It grows in mice and, in addition, blood vessels have formed in it,” says Paul Gatenholm.</span></div></blockquote> <div style="font-size:14px">Collaboration has been a key component and critical to the success of the project. Scientists in two different disciplines have successfully crossed academic lines to find a common goal where they could combine their skills in a fruitful way.</div> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right:0px"><div style="font-size:14px">“Often, it is like this: we clinicians work with problems and researchers work with solutions. If we can come together, there is a chance of actually solving some of the problems we are wrestling with – and in this way, patients benefit from the research,” says Lars Kölby. </div></blockquote> <div style="font-size:14px">Paul Gatenholm is careful to point out that the results he and Lars Kölby’s team are now able to report do not involve any short cut to bioprinted organs.</div> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="font-size:14px;margin-right:0px"><div style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">“With what we have done, the research has taken a step forward towards someday, we hope, being able to bioprint cells that become body parts for patients.  This is how you have to work when it comes to this kind of pioneering activity: one small step at a time. Our results are not a revolution – but they are a gratifying part of an evolution!”</span></div></blockquote> <div style="font-size:14px">Text: Carolina Svensson.</div> <div style="font-size:14px"><br /></div> <div style="font-size:14px">Link to <a href="http://journals.lww.com/prsgo/Fulltext/2017/02000/In_Vivo_Chondrogenesis_in_3D_Bioprinted_Human.13.aspx">scientific results text</a><br /></div> <div style="font-size:16px"> </div>Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:00:00 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Liquid-storage-of-solar-energy-–-more-effective-than-ever-before.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Liquid-storage-of-solar-energy-%E2%80%93-more-effective-than-ever-before.aspxLiquid storage of solar energy – more effective than ever before<p><b>​Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have demonstrated efficient solar energy storage in a chemical liquid. The stored energy can be transported and then released as heat whenever needed. The research is now presented on the cover of the scientific journal Energy &amp; Environmental Science.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Many consider the sun the energy source of the future. But one challenge is that it is difficult to store solar energy and deliver the energy ‘on demand’.</span><div><br /></div> <div>A research team from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, has shown that it is possible to convert the solar energy directly into energy stored in the bonds of a chemical fluid – a so-called molecular solar thermal system. The liquid chemical makes it possible to store and transport the stored solar energy and release it on demand, with full recovery of the storage medium. The process is based on the organic compound norbornadiene that upon exposure to light converts into quadricyclane.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>‘The technique means that that we can store the solar energy in chemical bonds and release the energy as heat whenever we need it.’ says <a href="/en/staff/Pages/kasper-moth-poulsen.aspx">Professor Kasper Moth-Poulsen</a>, who is leading the research team. ‘Combining the chemical energy storage with water heating solar panels enables a conversion of more than 80 percent of the incoming sunlight.’</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The research project was initiated at Chalmers more than six years ago and the research team contributed in 2013 to a first conceptual demonstration. At the time, the solar energy conversion efficiency was 0.01 percent and the expensive element ruthenium played a major role in the compound. Now, four years later, the system stores 1.1 percent of the incoming sunlight as latent chemical energy – an improvement of a factor of 100. Also, ruthenium has been replaced by much cheaper carbon-based elements.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>‘We saw an opportunity to develop molecules that make the process much more efficient,’ says Moth-Poulsen. ‘At the same time, we are demonstrating a robust system that can sustain more than 140 energy storage and release cycles with negligible degradation.’</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The research is funded by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Read the <a href="http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2017/ee/c6ee01952h#%21divAbstract">scientific article​</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Videos about the research:</div> <div><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAGMcmouzeU&amp;amp%3bt=29s">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAGMcmouzeU&amp;t=29s</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD7D7GjGhQ0&amp;amp%3bt=57s">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD7D7GjGhQ0&amp;t=57s</a></div> Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/For-women-in-science-prize.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/For-women-in-science-prize.aspxFor women in science-prize to catalysis researcher<p><b></b></p><p>​<a href="/en/Staff/Pages/leistner.aspx">Kirsten Leistner, postdoc </a>at Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, is awarded the L’Oréal-Unesco For women in science-prize which aims to highlight female scientists in the beginning of their career. The ceremony took place in Stockholm, 6th of March. Leisner along with Julia U was given the awarded by Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Minister for Higher Education and Research.  </p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="font-size:14px;margin-right:0px"><div style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">- It means a lot to me personally, as a sign of recognition, that one is going in the right direction. For my research, it is also significant, because there is funding attached to this prize, which will allow me to develop new initiatives in my research, says Kirsten Leistner.</span></div></blockquote> <div>With the funding that comes with the award she also wants to invite a prominent female scientist within catalysis to hold a seminar at Chalmers. </div> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right:0px"><div><span style="font-size:14px">- I want to invite a role model and somebody who can speak about the difficulties that women face in research. There are certainly some unresolved issues. That is why there is a prize such as this. It is there to put a spot light on these unresolved issues. There have been many improvements over the years, but there are still quite a few things that could be improved, says Kirsten Leistner</span>.</div></blockquote> <div>In cars and trucks there are catalysts, which are made from solid materials with the capability to through catalytic reactions convert pollution particles and nitrogen oxides to harmless gases. As a postdoc in Professor Louise Olsson’s group Kirsten Leistner explores how to stop catalysts to deactivate from the gases they are exposed to. </div> <div><br />Unesco about Kirsten Leistner: Her research is distinguished by both geographical movability and innovative collaborations with great international experience. She has earlier been rewarded with a number of awards and hopes to establish herself as an independent researcher.</div> <div><br />Also Julia Uddén, Stockholm University, was awarded with the L’Oréal-Unesco For women in science-prize.</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <a href="http://www.unesco.se/de-vinner-for-women-in-science-priset-2017/"><div>Read more about the L’Oréal-Unesco For women in science-prize.</div></a><div><br />Text: Mats Tiborn</div>Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/en/centres/sumo/news/Pages/3D-imagning-gives-a-deeper-view-into-cavities.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/centres/sumo/news/Pages/3D-imagning-gives-a-deeper-view-into-cavities.aspx3D-imagning gives a deeper view into cavities<p><b>​Charlotte Hamngren Blomqvist, PhD at the department of Physics active within SuMo Biomaterials, recently defended her PhD- thesis on 3D-imaging of Silica Hydro gels.</b></p><strong>​</strong><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>Hello Charlotte! You have been studying methods for analysing porous materials. What did you find?</strong></span><div>In my thesis I mainly look at three things that electron tomography, 3D-imaging at a nano scale in transmission electron microscopy, can be used for.</div> <div>One area is imaging of irregular porous structures in 3D, which makes quantification of the structure possible. This isn’t possible in 2D. We can now describe the porous structure in quantitative terms instead of only using images. We have also characterised the material by showing the inter-connectivity of the pores and also the accessible fraction of the pore volume.</div> <div>My research is also contributing to the possibility to validate the different mathematical models that are used to understand exactly which mechanism that dominates the process of gelation. </div> <div>My thesis also shows how we can model fluids flowing through the gel locally on the nano scale in 3D. This enables us to draw conclusions about the permeability in different parts within the material. What’s new here is that the structure that is used for the modelling of the flow is the very same as the structure detected experimentally in 3D by electron tomography.<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>Why is it important to be able to determine the structure of porous materials?</strong></div> <div>Porous materials are used for many different purposes in our daily life. To be able to understand a material and its characteristics basically, for example ability to transport fluid or an active substance, we have to investigate its structure.<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>Is it a new thing to use electron microscopy for this purpose? And if that is the case, will the thesis have impact on how porous materials will be explored in the future?</strong></div> <div>What’s new is to use electron tomography for 3D-imaging of soft and porous materials with the two focus areas mass transport simulation directly in the structure and modelling studies of gelation mechanisms. 3D-imaging as a concept is usable and desirable when imaging porous materials, since a 2D-image often gives a misleading impression of the material.</div> <div>I certainly hope that my research will have impact! 3D-imaging of porous materials at the nano scale could potentially be of use in a number of fields of current interest such as medical technology and pharmaceutical technology, packaging materials, health care, food science, tissue engineering, catalysis, development of batteries, fuel cells and solar cells.<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>What will you do now when your PhD studies are over?</strong></div> <div>I want to continue to research, either in the industry or the academy. This far I have mainly been working with fundamental research. Now I want to move towards more applied research. It is appealing to explore and develop something that in the long run contributes to a more sustainable society or that increases the life quality for those in need.<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>How do you experience working with SuMo Biomaterials? </strong></div> <div>The SuMo-collaboration has given me much. The centre has provided an important network for our interdisciplinary collaborations, both within the academy and with the industry. AkzoNobel has been my main industrial partner and the collaboration has been very rewarding. It has also been interesting to take part of so many other researcher’s work and see their progress over many years.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><em><a href="/en/centres/sumo/Pages/default.aspx">SuMo Biomaterials​</a> in short</em></div> <div><em>SuMo Biomaterials is a Vinnova (Swedish government agency) supported centre and research consortium between academia (Chalmers University of Technology and SP Food and Bioscience) and industry (AkzoNobel, AstraZeneca, Mölnlycke Health Care, SCA, Stora Enso and Tetra Pak). The focus of the centre is on understanding and developing properties of soft biomaterials.</em></div> <div><em> </em></div> <div><em>The concept of SuMo Biomaterials is to use industrial needs to create innovations and academic excellence in science with the long term goal to generate added value for industry, academia and society.</em></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/materials/news/Pages/New-External-Advisory-Board.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/materials/news/Pages/New-External-Advisory-Board.aspxNew External Advisory Board<p><b>The new External Advisory Board for the Materials Science Area of Advance recently visited Chalmers to meet with the steering group. The board will provide a view from the outside on the Area of Advance.</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P">​-    This is important so that we can calibrate what we do and our performance in an international perspective, says Aleksandar Matic, Director of the Area of Advance.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The board members have complementary competencies and a vast experience from different internationally leading environments in materials science. The board consists of:</p> <div><span><a href="http://www.rwth-aachen.de/cms/root/Die-RWTH/Kontakt-Anreise/Kontakt-RWTH-Aachen/~bdfr/Mitarbeiter-CAMPUS-/?gguid=0x85CBE8D9CE85D51196710000F4B4937D&amp;lidx=1">Joachim Mayer</a>, Aachen University</span></div> <div><a href="http://www-llb.cea.fr/en/Phocea/Membres/Annuaire/index.php?uid=calba">Christiane Alba-Simionesco</a>, Université Paris-Sud, Laboratoire Léon Brillouin</div> <div><span><a href="https://www.msm.cam.ac.uk/department/profiles/best.php">Serena Best</a>, University of Cambridge<span style="display:inline-block"></span></span></div> <div><a href="https://commons.lbl.gov/display/neatongroup/Home">Jeff Neaton</a>, Berkeley Lab</div> <div><span><a href="https://mc.univie.ac.at/pace/people/head-of-the-group/">Alexander Bismarck</a>, University of Vienna<br /><br />-    I expect the External Advisory Board to provide opinions and advice on how we can become even better in all aspects of Materials Science, says Aleksandar Matic.<br />-    I also expect them to be almost brutally honest in their feedback and lively dicussions! And that they next time let me win in boule.<br /><br /></span></div> <span><div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Areas%20of%20Advance/Materials%20Science/News/EAB_boule.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /> </div> <div> </div></span><div><span><span style="display:inline-block"></span></span> </div>Tue, 28 Feb 2017 16:00:00 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/New-life-for-old-clothes.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/New-life-for-old-clothes.aspxNew life for old clothes<p><b>​Since cotton naturally consists of cellulose, it should be possible to reuse cotton from clothes in the production of viscose. Based on this idea, Anna Palme, researcher at Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and active in Mistra Future Fashion, has, in her PhD thesis, mapped how recycled textile can be part of new clothes instead of being used as fill-material in sofas.</b></p><p><span style="font-size:16px">Viscose- a sustainable alternative</span><br />Today no new clothes are made from textiles that are left for recycling. Instead your recycled clothes become fill material in sofas, rags or isolating material in cars and such. At the same time cotton is resource demanding and is expected to become a luxury product in the future. One alternative is viscose which can be made from cellulose from resources from the forest. <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/anna-palme.aspx">Anna Palme,</a> researcher at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers and involved in Mistra Future Fashion, is now, in her PhD thesis, showing how a combination of cellulose from forest raw material and from recycled cotton may contribute to a more sustainable textile industry.</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="font-size:14px;margin-right:0px"><p style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">- Companies need scientific publications where they can compare how alike or unalike different raw materials are to start working with mixing cotton in viscose manufacturing. I have provided fundamental information about this. Some of the results are obvious for the textile industry but totally new for the forest industry, so some of the work is about bridging between the different industries, says Anna Palme. </span></p></blockquote> <p>Viscose is created from cellulose that is extracted from wood. Viscose fibres are then spun out of the cellulose. Anna Palme has investigated the possibilities for spinning new fibres through dissolving recycled cotton textile. She has conducted tests on worn-out textiles from hospitals and hotels. Today hospitals and hotels are paying to get rid of it so efficient recycling would be beneficial also for them. <br /> </p> <p><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/KB/Generell/Nyheter/återvinning%20bomullstextiler.jpg" alt="" style="height:346px;width:690px;margin:5px 0px" /><br /><br /><span style="font-size:16px">Results</span><br />Cellulose fibres are natural polymers, molecules shaped as chains, which consist of different layers. Anna Palme has studied all of these layers. </p> <p>One problem with dissolving cellulose is how parts of the fibre are sticking together when they dry, so called hornification, which make them harder to dissolve.  One apprehension was that cotton possibly would develop more hornification the more it gets washed and thus become harder to dissolve, but instead it was found that cotton is exposed to hornification already out on the cotton field and isn’t affected more than it already is from getting washed. The results also show that although the cellulose fibre is broken down and becomes shorter when it gets washed, the fibre still after 40 washes is long enough for viscose production.</p> <p>Also clothes that consist of cotton and polyester are possible to use. Anna Palme studied a method that is used today for separating polyester in ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid and discovered that also clothing consisting of both polyester and cotton can be separated with this method.</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="font-size:14px;margin-right:0px"><p style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">- The cotton passes through the process without getting damaged. It is possible to gain many useful materials from these clothes; cellulose for viscose production, ethylene glycol for defrosting of airplanes or polyester manufacturing and terephthalic acid for polyester production, says Anna Palme.</span></p></blockquote> <p>The forest industry is interested in Anna Palme’s results. They have moved from mostly thinking paper to also include clothing production as an important business, and since the stream of recycled textile not by far is large enough to dominate as a raw material for viscose production, the forest industry is needed. At the same time it is believed that cotton will only get more and more expensive due to the large areas cotton fields claim which, because of increasing populations, are needed for food production. Anna Palme believes that high-quality cotton will become a luxury product and that viscose will become more and more common.</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right:0px"><p><span style="font-size:14px"><span style="font-size:14px">- Absolutely. Cotton production has landed. We reached peak cotton in 1995 and it hasn’t increased since then. I have started visiting flea markets and often buy really old sheets since the quality was so much better in the past. And since we don’t want to wear only polyester clothes in the future viscose will become an important material, says Anna Palme. </span></span></p></blockquote> <p>​Link to <a href="http://publications.lib.chalmers.se/publication/246506-recycling-of-cotton-textiles-characterization-pretreatment-and-purification">Recycling of cotton textiles: Characterization, pretreatment, and purification </a>in CPL. <br />More about <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/anna-palme.aspx">Anna Palme's research</a><br />Read more about <a href="http://mistrafuturefashion.com/">Mistra Future Fashion</a></p> <p> </p> <p>Text: Mats Tiborn</p>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 +0100http://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Nanomaterial-fuel-cells-Wallenberg-Academy-Fellow.aspxhttp://www.chalmers.se/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Nanomaterial-fuel-cells-Wallenberg-Academy-Fellow.aspxIonic conduction in nanoporous materials: a new Wallenberg Academy Fellow project<p><b>Fuel cells have great potential to increase the energy efficiency in vehicles, but the technology is still not widely used. One obstacle is that the materials used today are expensive and not efficient at the desired temperatures. Anna Martinelli, Associate Professor at Chalmers, has now received funding as a Wallenberg Academy Fellow to develop new nanoporous materials that can enable high ionic conduction at high temperatures, as required by next-generation fuel cells.</b></p><p><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Anna-Martinelli.aspx">​Anna Martinelli</a>, <span>Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers, has been approved a Wallenberg Academy Fellowship, which means funding for her project for at least five years with a possible extension for another five years. </span></p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right:0px"><span style="font-size:14px"><i>- To be awarded with a Wallenberg Academy Fellowship is prestigious and I therefore feel enormously honoured. The prize itself is a recognition of the research that I have done so far as well as an expression of trust for future projects. This generous grant represents a unique opportunity to both widen and deepen my research, says Anna Martinelli.</i></span></blockquote> <p>In her project she will develop new materials for fuel cells. A fuel cell is built upon the principle that chemical energy is transformed into electricity, with hydrogen being the most common fuel. Although the fuel cell technology is expected to contribute to a sustainable society and transport system, it is still relatively expensive and has some limitations. </p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right:0px"><span style="font-size:14px"><i>- Sometimes the union of simple materials to an unprecedented composite can provide opportunities previously unknown. Surface modified nanoporous silica filled with an appropriate protic ionic liquid is such an example that may provide selective proton conduction in the solid state, says Anna Martinelli.</i></span></blockquote> <p>Because of its porous structure, nanoporous silica has a very large surface area, one gram providing an area equivalent to three tennis courts. The material has also a good ability to retain fluids and a high resistance to extreme pressures. These are good requisites for developing a new proton conducting material to be used in next-generation fuel cells.</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right:0px"><span style="font-size:14px"><i>- The fuel cell is already at focus in the public debate concerning future efficient and clean energy solutions. However, with cheaper and thermally more stable ion conducting materials, such as those I aim to develop, I believe that it is possible to break the cost barrier that today constrains a broader use of fuel cells, says Anna Martinelli.</i></span></blockquote> <p>The pores of the silica membrane must be of the right size and the pore walls of the right chemistry for the molecules in the fluid to move freely, and thus result in high ionic conductivity. To target a fuel cell operational temperature above 120 °C, as required by future fuel cell technologies, protic ionic liquids will be used as the charge carrier. These consist of ions only (like table salt) but are fluid at room temperature and thermally stable, as opposed to water that evaporates at 100 °C thus limiting the use of conventional aqueous based electrolytes. </p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right:0px"><span style="font-size:14px"><i>- I have been working with ionic liquids for a while now. Next I want to design their structure to maintain a high ionic mobility also in very small domains, only a few nanometers in size. Nevertheless, chemical surface modifications of the nanoporous silica, in which the ionic liquid will exist, is as significant in this project, says Anna Martinelli.</i></span></blockquote> <p>Efforts will be spent to find the protic ionic liquid and the silica nanostructure that can together provide the highest conductivity. To choose an appropriate ionic liquid, one has to understand the relation between structure and dynamics at a molecular level, a knowledge Anna Martinelli will gain through detailed spectroscopic studies. By using Raman and infrared spectroscopy that enable measuring molecular vibrations, she will study the strength of ionic interactions and identify the molecular groups contributing the most. This kind of studies will be complemented with computer simulations, which give precise information at a sub-molecular level, and diffusion NMR, which is most suitable for measuring the diffusion of molecules in the space between and within the nanoporous silica particles.</p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right:0px"><span style="font-size:14px"><i>- My greatest challenge is to develop a new type of nanoporous silica with pores that are small enough to avoid ionic liquid leakage, and at the same time have a weak interaction with the ions so that they can move freely, says Anna Martinelli.</i></span></blockquote> <p>Martinelli is a leading researcher when it comes to the combination of nanoporous silica, protic ionic liquids and fuel cells, and a successful project would, according to her, mean a revolutionised way of looking at silica as an energy relevant material as well as a breakthrough for the launch of the fuel cell into a larger market than today. ​ </p> <blockquote dir="ltr" style="margin-right:0px"><p><span style="font-size:14px">- I have a parallel interest in fuel cells and proton conducting ionic liquids. What I really want to stress is that even if achieving an increased mobility of ions within nanoporous materials (along with a better understanding of the mechanisms that control this phenomena) is of direct relevance for the fuel cell, this may also be of interest for other technology-related areas where mass transport and controlled emissions constitute a critical aspect, says Anna Martinelli.</span><span></span><br /></p></blockquote> <p><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Anna-Martinelli.aspx">Anna Martinelli </a>has recently also received a research grant from Formas devoted to Future Research Leaders. <a href="/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Future-Research-leaders.aspx">Read more about Formas research leaders of the future.</a></p> <div> </div> <div><span></span> Also Christoph Langhammer, Associate Professor at the Department of Physics of Chalmers, has received funding as a Wallenberg Academy Fellow. He studies nanoplasmonics to produce new catalysts and sensors. Read more about <a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Christoph-Langhammer-a-new-Wallenberg-Academy-Fellow.aspx">Christoph Langhammer's project. </a></div> <div> </div> ​Thu, 08 Dec 2016 00:00:00 +0100