News: Fysik related to Chalmers University of TechnologyMon, 19 Oct 2020 13:52:02 +0200 to make perfect edges in 2D-materials<p><b>Ultrathin materials such as graphene promise a revolution in nanoscience and technology. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have now made an important advance within the field. In a recent paper in Nature Communications they present a method for controlling the edges of two-dimensional materials using a ‘magic’ chemical.</b></p><div><div>​</div> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/500_Battulga%20Munkhbat-200924.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;height:166px;width:130px" /><span style="background-color:initial">“</span><span style="background-color:initial">Our method makes it possible to control the edges – atom by atom – in a way that is both easy and scalable, using only mild heating together with abundant, environmentally friendly chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide,” says Battulga Munkhbat, a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology, and first author of the paper. </span><div><br /></div> <div>Materials as thin as just a single atomic layer are known as two-dimensional, or 2D, materials. The most well-known example is graphene, as well molybdenum disulphide, its semiconductor analogue. Future developments within the field could benefit from studying one particular characteristic inherent to such materials – their edges. </div> <div>Controlling the edges is a challenging scientific problem, because they are very different in comparison to the main body of a 2D material. For example, a specific type of edge found in transition metal dichalcogenides (known as TMD’s, such as the aforementioned molybdenum disulphide), can have magnetic and catalytic properties. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Typical TMD materials have edges which can exist in two distinct variants, known as zigzag or armchair. These alternatives are so different that their physical and chemical properties are not at all alike. For instance, calculations predict that zigzag edges are metallic and ferromagnetic, whereas armchair edges are semiconducting and non-magnetic. Similar to these remarkable variations in physical properties, one could expect that chemical properties of zigzag and armchair edges are also very different. If so, it could be possible that certain chemicals might ‘dissolve’ armchair edges, while leaving zigzag ones unaffected. </span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>Now, such a ‘magic’ chemical is exactly what the Chalmers researchers have found – in the form of ordinary hydrogen peroxide. At first, the researchers were completely surprised by the new results. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“It was not only that one type of edge was dominant over the others, but also that the resulting edges were extremely sharp – nearly atomically sharp. This indicates that the ‘magic’ chemical operates in a so-called self-limiting manner, removing unwanted material atom-by-atom, eventually resulting in edges at the atomically sharp limit. The resulting patterns followed the crystallographic orientation of the original TMD material, producing beautiful, atomically sharp hexagonal nanostructures,” says Battulga Munkhbat.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The new method, which includes a combination of standard top-down lithographic methods with a new anisotropic wet etching process, therefore makes it possible to create perfect edges in two-dimensional materials.</div> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/Timur%20Shegai-webb_NY.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;height:166px;width:130px" /></div> <div>​<br /><div>“This method opens up new and unprecedented possibilities for van der Waals materials (layered 2D materials). We can now combine edge physics with 2D physics in one single material. It is an extremely fascinating development,” says Timur Shegai, Associate Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers and leader of the research project. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>These and other related materials often attract significant research attention, as they enable crucial advances within in nanoscience and technology, with potential applications ranging from quantum electronics to new types of nano-devices. These hopes are manifested in the Graphene Flagship, Europe’s biggest ever research initiative, which is coordinated by Chalmers University of Technology. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>To make the new technology available to research laboratories and high-tech companies, the researchers have founded <a href="">a start-up company ​</a>that offers high quality atomically sharp TMD materials. The researchers also plan to further develop applications for these atomically sharp metamaterials.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Text:</strong> Mia Halleröd Palmgren and Joshua Worth</div> <div><strong>Portrait pictures: </strong>Anna-Lena Lundqvist</div> <a href=""><div><br /></div> <div><div><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read the press release and download high resolution images.​​​​</div></div></a></div> <div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More on the publication </h2> <div>The paper <a href="">Transition metal dichalcogenide metamaterials with atomic precision​</a> recently appeared in Nature Communications The article is written by Battulga Munkhbat, Andrew Yankovich, Denis Baranov, Ruggero Verre, Eva Olsson and Timur Shegai at the Department of Physics at Chalmers. </div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>For more information, please contact: </span></h2></div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/Battulga-Munkhbat.aspx">Battulga Munkhbat</a>, Post Doc, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, +46 73 995 34 79, <a href="">​</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/Timur-Shegai.aspx">Timur Shegai</a>, Associate Professor, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, +46 31 772 31 23, <a href=""></a></div> </div>Mon, 19 Oct 2020 06:00:00 +0200 award to Chalmers physicist<p><b>​Chalmers Professor Björn Jonson has been awarded the prestigious Lise Meitner Prize by the European Physical Society (EPS). It is awarded to one or more researchers who have made outstanding contributions to nuclear science. ​​​​​</b></p><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Bjorn-Jonson.aspx">​​<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/350x305/Bjorn_Jonson_180330_Portratt_webb_350x305.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;height:174px;font-weight:300;width:200px" /><span style="font-weight:300;background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial">​Björn Jonson</span>​</a><span style="background-color:initial"> has been engaged in research at Chalmers since 1967. His dynamic work is of fundamental </span><span style="background-color:initial">importance for the study of the nuclear structure and stability focused on exotic light halo nuclei at the </span><span style="background-color:initial">boundaries of nuclear stability. He is elected member of several academies of science and his work has been recognized internationally. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and was for seven years a member of the Nobel Committee for Physics. </span><a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Russian-Great-Gold-Medal-to-Chalmers-professor-.aspx">In 2018 he received the highest award of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) - the Great Gold Medal named after the Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov. ​</a><div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span><div>Over the years, Björn Jonson has conducted research at CERN in Switzerland. CERN is one of the world's most powerful particle accelerator facilities. For almost two decades Jonson contributed to the successful development of the scientific programme at the ISOLDE research facility, for which he was scientific group leader for seven years. <br /><br /></div> <div>“I’m very happy to see all the successful work performed at the facility today. It’s also nice to receive a prize in honor of the prominent nuclear physicist Lise Meitner. In recent years, I have been engaged in various activities to highlight her contributions to nuclear science,” says Björn Jonson, Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology. <br /><br /></div> <div>Björn Jonson has been one of the driving forces behind designating the “Lise Meitner House” in Kungälv (close to Gothenburg) a European Physical Historical site. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Björn Jonson receives the Lise Meitner award 2020 for his development and application of on-line instrumentation and techniques, his precise and systematic investigation of properties of nuclei far from stability, and for shaping the scientific program at the on-line isotope separator facility ISOLDE, CERN.</div> <div>Björn Jonson shares the award for 2020 with Klaus Blaum, Heidelberg, and Piet Van Duppen, Leuven. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong style="background-color:initial">Text: </strong><span style="background-color:initial">Mia Halleröd Palmgren, </span><a href=""></a><span style="background-color:initial"> and</span><br /></div> <div>Göran Nyman, <a href=""></a><br /><span style="font-weight:700">Image:</span> Elena Puzynina, JINR<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>About the Lise Metiner Prize:</strong></div> <div>The Lise Meitner Prize is given biennially by the Nuclear Physics Division of the European Physical Society. It is awarded to one or more researchers who have made outstanding contributions to nuclear science. Such contributions may comprise experimental nuclear physics, theoretical nuclear physics and all areas of application of nuclear science. The prize consists of a Medal and a Diploma, in addition to a cash award. </div> <div>The award ceremony of the Lise Meitner Prize 2020 will take place during the ISOLDE workshop on 26 November 2020 as an online event.  ​</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read more on the Lise Meitner Prize 2020 on EPS' web site.  </a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read more on Björn Jonson’s research</a></div> <div><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Learn more on ISOLDE, CERN</a></div> <div><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read a news article on the inauguration of the “Lise Meitner House” as an EPS historic site (2016)</a></div> </div> ​Thu, 08 Oct 2020 15:00:00 +0200 heavy element creation in neutron-star mergers<p><b>Violent collisions of neutron stars are believed to be the origin of, for example, gold and platinum. Now, subatomic physicists at Chalmers will explore how such heavy elements are formed. In a new project, granted SEK 29.6 million in funding from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, they will perform novel experiments to understand how the laws of subatomic physics influence the collision of neutron stars. ​​​​</b></p><div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/350x305/350x305Andreas%20Heinz-200924.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:250px;height:218px" /><div>“Recent breakthroughs in astronomical observations, especially the detection of gravitational waves, together with advances in instrumentation for subatomic physics experiments offer unique research opportunities.  We will be able to understand how nuclear fission impacts the creation of heavy elements in the collision of neutron stars. <br />I am thrilled to be a part of this endeavor and grateful to the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation for making this research possible,” says Andreas H​einz, Associate Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers. <br /><br /></div> <div>Together with Doctor Håkan T. Johansson and Professor Thomas Nilsson, he will investigate how the laws of the subatomic world, and in particular nuclear fission, influence the creation of heavy elements in the universe. For five years, the Chalmers researchers will carry out innovative experiments at the European research facility CERN in Switzerland.<br /><br /></div> <div>“To understand how heavy elements are formed, astronomical observations alone are not sufficient. It is also necessary to understand the underlying nuclear physics processes caused by a high flux of neutrons,” says Andreas Heinz, leader of the recently founded project. <br /><br /></div> <div><a href="">In total, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has granted SEK 541 million to 18 outstanding basic research projects in medicine, science and technology that are considered to have the possibility to lead to future scientific breakthroughs. ​</a><br /><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/news/Pages/Large-grants-enables-new-cutting-edge-research.aspx">Out of the 18 projects, three will be conducted at Chalmers​</a>. At the Department of Physics, <a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Bright-prospects-for-revolutionary-optics-research.aspx">Professor Mikael Käll will lead a project on light sources of the future</a>. At the Department of Space, Earth and Environment, <a href="/en/departments/see/news/Pages/KAW-grant-cosmic-dust.aspx">Professor Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen will lead a project on the origin and fate of dust in the universe.​</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Text: </strong>Mia Halleröd Palmgren</div> <div><strong>Portrait photo:</strong> Anna-Lena Lundqvist</div> <div><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More about the project and the financier</h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The research project &quot;Creation of heavy elements in neutron-star mergers&quot; has been granted SEK 29,600,000 for five years by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.</span><br /></div> <div>The project is led by<a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/Andreas-Heinz.aspx"> Andreas Heinz​,​</a> Associate Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers. Professor <a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/Thomas-Nilsson.aspx">Thomas Nilsson</a> and Doctor <a href="/en/staff/Pages/Håkan-T-Johansson.aspx">Håkan T. Johansson​</a>, both from the same department, are also participating in the project. <a href="" style="outline:0px">The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation</a> is Sweden's largest private research funder and one of the largest in Europe.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>What is a neutron star?</strong></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">A neutron star is the remaining core of a star, which had about 10-20 times the mass of the sun. The core of such a star collapses once it runs out of material for nuclear fusion. Infalling matter bounces back from the extremely dense core, leading to a supernova explosion. The remaining core forms a neutron star with a density as high, or higher, than that of an atomic nucleus – with masses similar to those of the sun within a sphere of a few kilometers in diameter. The exact composition of neutron stars is not known. They are, short of black holes, the densest known objects in the universe.</span></div></div> Wed, 30 Sep 2020 09:00:00 +0200 prospects for revolutionary optics research<p><b>The light sources of the future can be created with the help of lasers and artificial surfaces - meta surfaces - thinner than a wavelength of light. Optics research is facing a revolutionary development. Researchers at Chalmers are at the forefront in this field and have been granted more than SEK 38 million in funding from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. ​</b></p><div>Vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) are becoming the laser of choice for a rapidly increasing number of applications, including optical communication and 3D sensing for smart phones and autonomous vehicles. <br /><br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/350x305/350x305MikaelKall_200924.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;height:171px;width:200px" /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial">“By combining world-leading expertise on VCSEL and nanophotonics research, we take on the challenge of </span><span style="background-color:initial">merging the fields of semiconductor laser technology and flat optics based on 2D nanophotonic metasurfaces to realize monolithic metasurface emitting lasers (MELs). We believe that this new miniaturized light source will be so powerful, versatile, compact, cost- and energy-effcient that it will have disruptive and generic impact on photonics across a huge range of fields and applications,” says Professor Mikael Käll at the Department of Physics at Chalmers and Principal Investigator of the project “Metasurface-Emitting Lasers: Tomorrows Light Sources for Applied Photonics”. </span></div> <div><div><br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/METAYTA_WEBB.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:330px;height:246px" /><span style="background-color:initial">With the help of the new technology, the researchers can control light in sophisticated ways.  For example, metasurface emitting lasers could be used to create light fields for optical sensing in three dimensions, to generate extremely strong laser beams and for applications within biophotonics. </span><br /></div> <div>Mikael Käll and his research colleagues in the project have expertise in nanooptics, vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, optical calculation methods, and biophotonics. Furthermore, they have access to world-leading infrastructure at Chalmers.<br /><br /></div> <div><a href="">In total, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has granted SEK 541 million to 18 outstanding basic research projects in medicine, science and technology that are considered to have the opportunity to lead to future scientific breakthroughs. ​</a><br /><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/news/Pages/Large-grants-enables-new-cutting-edge-research.aspx">Out of the 18 projects, three will be conducted at Chalmers.​</a> At the Department of Physics, <a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Major-grant-to-explore-heavy-element-creation-in-neutron-star-mergers.aspx">Associate Professor Andreas Heinz will lead a project about the creation of heavy elements in neutron-star mergers</a>. At the Department of Space, Earth and Environment,<a href="/en/departments/see/news/Pages/KAW-grant-cosmic-dust.aspx"> Professor Kirsten Kraiberg Knudsen will lead a project on the origin and fate of dust in our universe​</a>. <br /><br /><div><span style="font-weight:700">Text: </span>Mia Halleröd Palmgren</div> <div><span style="font-weight:700">Portrait photo:</span> Anna-Lena Lundqvist​<br /><strong>Image:</strong> Daniel Andrén <span style="background-color:initial"> </span><span style="background-color:initial">-​ </span><span style="background-color:initial">Section of a metalens fabricated in the cleanroom at </span><span style="background-color:initial">Chalmers.</span></div> <span></span><div></div> <br /><span></span><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More on the project and the financier:</h2> <div>The research project &quot;Metasurface-Emitting Lasers: Tomorrows Light Sources for Applied Photonics” has been granted SEK 38,100,000 over five years by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.</div> <div>Professor <a href="/en/staff/Pages/Mikael-Käll.aspx">Mikael Käll</a> is the Principal Investigator of the project and the work will be carried out in collaboration with Professor <a href="/en/staff/Pages/Åsa-Haglund.aspx">Åsa Haglund​</a>, Professor <a href="/en/staff/Pages/Anders-Larsson.aspx">Anders Larsson</a>, Associate Professor <a href="/en/staff/Pages/Philippe-Tassin.aspx">Philippe Tassin</a> and Associate Professor <a href="/en/staff/Pages/Ruggero-Verre.aspx">Ruggero Verre</a>. </div> <div><a href="">The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation​</a> is Sweden's largest private research funder and one of the largest in Europe.</div></div></div> ​Wed, 30 Sep 2020 09:00:00 +0200 an ultrafast train of promising X-ray pulses<p><b>​High-intensity X-ray sources are essential diagnostic tools for science, technology and medicine. Such X-ray sources can be produced in laser-plasma accelerators, where electrons emit short-wavelength radiation due to their betatron oscillations in the plasma wake of a laser pulse.</b></p><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="">In a recent paper, published in Scientific reports,​</a> Vojtěch Horný and Tünde Fülöp at the Department of Physics at Chalmers, present a way to generate an ultrafast “attosecond betatron radiation pulse train”. </span><span style="background-color:initial">​</span><div><span style="background-color:initial"></span><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span><span></span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/170x170px/170x170_VojtechHorny.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><div><span style="background-color:initial">​“It improves the resolution of diagnostics techniques based on betatron radiation by an order of magnitude. The promising applications include the X-ray absorption spectroscopy of warm dense matter or the scanning of fundamental processes such as chemical reactions and phase transitions occurring at the timescale of femtoseconds,” says researcher Vojtěch Horný at the Department of Physics at Chalmers.<br /><br /><div>Betatron radiation is the hard X-rays which are emitted by electrons accelerated at the plasma wave after the intense laser interaction with a gaseous target. The researchers modified such a scheme by adding another delayed laser pulse, which separates the accelerated electron bunch into a series of equidistant micro-bunches.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>As a result, the emitted betatron radiation is modulated as well and can thus be interpreted as a train of the attosecond X-ray pulses - separated by the half of the modulator pulse wavelength</div> <div>The new results are published in collaboration with colleagues in the Czech Republic and China. </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial;font-weight:700"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial;font-weight:700">Text: </span><span style="background-color:initial">Mia Halleröd Palmgren​</span></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>For more information, please contact: </span></h2> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Vojtech-Horny.aspx">Vojtěch Horný</a> , Researcher, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technolgy, <a href=""> ​</a><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><div><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/Tünde-Fülöp.aspx"><span>Tünde Fülöp,​</span> </a>Professor, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, </span><a href=""></a></div></div></span></div></div>Thu, 24 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0200 ultrastrong coupling at room temperature<p><b>​Physicists at Chalmers, together with colleagues in Russia and Poland, have managed to achieve ultrastrong coupling between light and matter at room temperature. The discovery is of importance for fundamental research and might pave the way for advances within, for example, light sources, nanomachinery, and quantum technology.​​​​</b></p><div>A set of two coupled oscillators is one of the most fundamental and abundant systems in physics. It is a very general toy model that describes a plethora of systems ranging from guitar strings, acoustic resonators, and the physics of children’s swings, to molecules and chemical reactions, from gravitationally bound systems to quantum cavity electrodynamics. The degree of coupling between the two oscillators is an important parameter that mostly determines the behaviour of the coupled system. However, the question is rarely asked about the upper limit by which two pendula can couple to each other – and what consequences such coupling can have.<br /><br /></div> <div>The newly presented results, published in Nature Communications, offer a glimpse into the domain of the so called ultrastrong coupling, wherein the coupling strength becomes comparable to the resonant frequency of the oscillators. The coupling in this work is realised through interaction between light and electrons in a tiny system consisting of two gold mirrors separated by a small distance and plasmonic gold nanorods. On a surface that is a hundred times smaller than the end of a human hair, the researchers have shown that it is possible to create controllable ultrastrong interaction between light and matter at ambient conditions – that is, at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. <br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/DenisBaranov_port.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:135px;height:173px" /><br /></div> <div>” We are not the first ones to realise ultrastrong coupling. But generally, strong magnetic fields, high vacuum and extremely low temperatures are required to achieve such a degree of coupling. When you can perform it in an ordinary lab, it enables more researchers to work in this field and it provides valuable knowledge in the borderland between nanotechnology and quantum optics,” says Denis Baranov, a researcher at the Department of Physics at Chalmers and the first author of the scientific paper. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">A unique duet where light and matter intermix into a common object​</h2> <div> <span style="background-color:initial">To understand the system the authors have realised, one can imagine a resonator, in this case represented by two gold mirrors separated by a few hundred nanometers, as a single tone in music. The nanorods fabricated between the mirrors affect how light moves between the mirrors and change their resonance frequency. Instead of just sounding like a single tone, in the coupled system the tone splits into two: a lower pitch, and a higher pitch. The energy separation between the two new pitches represents the strength of interaction. Specifically, in the ultrastrong coupling case, the strength of interaction is so large that it becomes comparable to the frequency of the original resonator. This leads to a unique duet, where light and matter intermix into a common object, forming quasi-par</span><span style="background-color:initial">ticles called polaritons. The hybrid character of polaritons provides a set of intriguing optical and electronic properties.</span></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The number of gold nanorods sandwiched between the mirrors controls how strong the interaction is. But at the same time, it controls the so-called zero-point energy of the system. By increasing or decreasing the number of rods, it is possible to supply or remove energy from the ground state of the system and thereby increase or decrease the energy stored in the resonator box. </div> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">The discovery allows researchers to play with the laws of nature</h2></div> <div>What makes this work particularly interesting is that the authors managed to indirectly measure how the number of nanorods changes the vacuum energy by “listening” to the tones of the coupled system (that is, looking at the light transmission spectra through the mirrors with the nanorods) and performing simple mathematics. The resulting values turned out to be comparable to the thermal energy, which may lead to observable phenomena in the future.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“A concept for creating controllable ultrastrong coupling at room temperature in relatively simple systems can offer a testbed for fundamental physics. The fact that this ultrastrong coupling “costs” energy could lead to observable effects, for example it could modify the reactivity of chemicals or tailor van der Waals interactions. Ultrastrong coupling enables a variety of intriguing physical phenomena,” says Timur Shegai, Associate Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers and the last author of the scientific article. </div> <div>In other words, this discovery allows researchers to play with the laws of nature and to test the limits of coupling.<br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/TimurShegai_port.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:135px;height:173px" /><br /></div> <div>“As the topic is quite fundamental, potential applications may range. Our system allows for reaching even stronger levels of coupling, something known as deep strong coupling. We are still not entirely sure what is the limit of coupling in our system, but it is clearly much higher than we see now. Importantly, the platform that allows studying ultrastrong coupling is now accessible at room temperature,” says Timur Shegai.<br /><br /></div> <div><strong>Text: </strong>Mia Halleröd Palmgren</div> <div><strong>Portrait photos by:</strong> Johan Bodell (Timur Shegai) and Helén Rosenfeldt (Denis Baranov)</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read the press release and download high resolution images.​​</a><br /><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">For more information, contact: </h2> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/Denis-Baranov.aspx">Denis Baranov</a>, Post Doc, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 31 772 32 48, <a href=""></a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a>Timur Shegai,</a> Associate Professor, Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 31 772 31 23, <a href="">​</a></div> <div><div><br /></div></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More on the research and the scientific paper</h2> <div><ul><li>​The article <a href="">Ultrastrong coupling between nanoparticle plasmons and cavity photons at ambient conditions ​</a>has been published in Nature Communications. It is written by Denis Baranov, Battulga Munkhbat, Elena Zhukova, Ankit Bisht, Adriana Canales, Benjamin Rousseaux, Göran Johansson, Tomasz Antosiewicz and Timur Shegai. </li> <li><span style="background-color:initial">The researchers work at the Department of Physics and the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience at Chalmers, at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and at the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw.</span><br /></li> <li><span style="background-color:initial">The nanofabrication was performed at Chalmers. The interactions between light and matter were observed by using infrared microscopy. </span><br /></li> <li><span style="background-color:initial">The research at Chalmers was funded by the Swedish Research Council. </span><br /></li></ul></div> Wed, 23 Sep 2020 06:00:00 +0200 new way to search for dark matter reveals hidden materials properties<p><b>New research from Chalmers, together with ETH Zürich, Switzerland, suggests a promising way to detect elusive dark matter particles through previously unexplored atomic responses occurring in the detector material.  ​​</b></p><div><div><span style="display:none"></span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/170x170px/RiccardoCatena_190219_profilbildNY170x170.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><div></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">​The new calculations enable theorists to make detailed predictions about the nature and strength of interactions between dark matter and electrons, which were not previously possible.</span></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;Our new research into these atomic responses reveals material properties that have until now remained hidden. They could not be investigated using any of the particles available to us today – only dark matter could reveal them,&quot; says Riccardo Catena, Associate Professor at the Department at Physics at Chalmers. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>For every star, galaxy or dust cloud visible in space, there exists five times more material which is invisible – dark matter. Discovering ways to detect these unknown particles which form such a significant part of the Milky Way is therefore a top priority in astroparticle physics. In the global search for dark matter, large detectors have been built deep underground to try to catch the particles as they bounce off atomic nuclei. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>So far, these mysterious particles have escaped detection. According to the Chalmers researchers, a possible explanation could be that dark matter particles are lighter than protons, and thereby do not cause the nuclei to recoil – imagine a ping pong ball colliding into a bowling ball. A promising way to overcome this problem could therefore be to shift focus from nuclei to electrons, which are much lighter. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>In their recent paper, the researchers describe how dark matter particles can interact with the electrons in atoms. They suggest that the rate at which dark matter can kick electrons out of atoms depends on four independent atomic responses – three of which were previously unidentified. They have calculated the ways that electrons in argon and xenon atoms, used in today's largest detectors, should respond to dark matter. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The results were recently published in the journal Physical Review Research and performed within a new collaboration with condensed-matter physicist Nicola Spaldin and her group at ETH.  Their predictions can </div> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/170x170px/170x170_Timon_Emken.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;height:170px;width:170px" /><span></span><div>now be tested in dark matter observatories around the globe.</div> <br /></div> <div><div>“We tried to remove as many access barriers as possible. The paper is published in a fully open access journal and the scientific code to compute the new atomic response functions is open source, for anyone who wants to take a look ‘under the hood’ of our paper,” says Timon Emken, a postdoctoral researcher in the dark matter group at the Department of Physics at Chalmers. </div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Text: </strong>Mia Halleröd Palmgren</div> <div><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More on dark matter</h2> <div>What is the Universe made of? This question has fascinated humankind for </div> <div>millennia. Still, it remains largely unanswered, with more than three quarters of the matter in our Universe believed to be made of particles so elusive that we don't know what they are. These particles are called dark matter and do not emit or absorb radiation at any observable wavelengths. Detecting the unknown particles is a top priority for scientists worldwide. To detect dark matter, the researchers search for rare dark matter-electron interactions in low-background deep underground detectors.</div> <div>There is incontrovertible evidence for the presence of dark matter in our Universe. Evidence is based on the observation of unexpected gravitational effects in extremely different physical systems, including galaxies, galaxy clusters, the Cosmic Microwave Background and the large-scale structure of the Universe. While the European space satellite Planck has conclusively shown that dark matter constitutes about 85 per cent of all matter in the Universe, its nature remains a mystery.</div> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/darkmatter_riccardo_timon_paper.JPG" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;height:202px;background-color:initial;width:300px" /><a href=""></a><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More on the scientific paper</h2> <div>Read the article <a href="">Atomic responses to general dark matter-electron interactions</a> in Physical Review Research. It is written by Riccardo Catena and Timon Emken at the Department of Physics at Chalmers and Nicola Spaldin, and Walter Tarantino at the Department of Materials at ETH Zürich, Switzerland.</div> <div><br /></div>Wed, 16 Sep 2020 06:00:00 +0200 dives into complex materials – in a new way<p><b>​​Is it possible to study the structure of a complex material without looking at it directly? The coming five years, Marianne Liebi will tackle that challenge together with colleagues at Chalmers and Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. ​​​​​​</b></p><div>The basic idea is to study the material’s interactions with electromagnetic waves. The researchers will use both visible light and X-rays in their work.</div> <div>Marianne Liebi is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers and her new research programme “MUMOTT” recently received a prestigious starting grant of EUR 1,5 million from the European Research Council (ERC). </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“This will enable us to study and apprehend the structure of complex hierarchical materials, for example human bones and tissues, but also composite materials. With the new methodology we could, for example, solve critical problems in materials and bioscience and shed light on the disruptive collagen network in liver fibrosis, ”says Marianne Liebi.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In her research so far, she has studied how, for example, the smallest building blocks in bone tissue, collagen fibrils organize. <span style="background-color:initial">At Chalmers the doctoral student Leonard Nielsen will perform work within the MUMOTT project, in particular related to tensor tomography code development. At Empa the activities will be conducted at the Department of “Materials meet Life”, where Marianne Liebi is the Scientific Group leader of &quot;Hierarchical Systems&quot;, which is part of the Center for X-ray Analytics.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Text: Mia Halleröd Palmgren,<a href="">​</a></span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read the press release on the ERC Starting Grants 2020</a>  - for talented early-career scientists</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Read an earlier news article about Marianne Liebi and her research:</div> <div><a href="/en/departments/physics/news/Pages/Awarded-for-her-physics-research.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />“Awarded for her physics research”​</a></div> <div><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Abstract of Marianne Liebi’s project “MUMOTT”</h2> <div>&quot;Capture structures without looking at them directly, but rather by probing their interaction with electromagnetic waves - this is the basic principle for the new multi-modal tensor tomography developed in this research programme. It will enable to study the arrangement of nanostructures in macroscopic samples, six orders of magnitude larger than its building blocks, allowing to apprehend the structure of complex hierarchical materials. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">I will use visible light observing change in their polarization state as well as the scattering of hard X-rays to probe nanostructure. Both modes capture alignment of nanostructure, while complementary in other aspects e.g. high penetration depth of synchrotron radiation and easy accessibility of laboratory polarimetric setups.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><br /></div> <div>At the core of MUMOTT lays the development of the methodological framework implemented in an open-source software package allowing for the reconstruction of tensors in each sub-volume or voxel of the three-dimensional tomogram. Whereas in a first step I will work out a general approach, we will incorporate flexible modules to capture details of the different types of interaction. This approach includes method development pushing the boundaries of traditional synchrotron methods to make full use of the high brilliance and coherence of the new generation of synchrotrons coming online as well as the enabling of studies with lab-based equipment. It opens up for addressing new scientific problems by widening the range of materials as well as the user community. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Apart from the methodology framework we will implement the different modes to prove their capability to solve critical problems in materials and bio-science; to investigate the structure of light-weight composites based on cellulose nanofibrils, reveal how the arrangement of nanoparticles in a plasmonic composite is connected to its sensing capabilities, as well as shed light on the disruptive collagen network in liver fibrosis.&quot;</div>Thu, 03 Sep 2020 12:00:00 +0200 shed light on how magnetic fields evolved in the early universe<p><b>​​The evolution of the magnetic fields in the universe is a major open question, as they have a profound effect on the formation of stars and galaxies, and on cosmic particle acceleration. Recently published results shed new ligth on the time before the universe became significantly magnetized.</b></p><div><div><span style="background-color:initial">István Pusztai at the Department of Physics at </span><span style="background-color:initial">Ch</span><span style="background-color:initial">almers </span><span style="background-color:initial">is the first author of the  paper, recently published in Physical Review Letters. </span><span style="background-color:initial">Together with PhD student Andréas Sundström and colleagues in Stockholm and in the US, he </span><span style="background-color:initial">has shed new light on the evolution of magnetic fields in the early universe. </span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The researchers have studied the top candidate mechanism to generate magnetic fields permeating the universe – the dynamo <span style="background-color:initial">–</span><span style="background-color:initial"> applying a more accurate description of ionized matter than ever in this context. </span></div> <span></span><div></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Divisions/Subatomic%20and%20Plasma%20Physics/Personnel/istvan_cropped-1.png" alt="Researcher István Pusztai" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px;height:129px;width:100px" /></div> <div>​<br />&quot;Our new results suggest that the dynamo might have been less effective before the universe became significantly magnetized. This, in turn, can impact how galaxies are formed and galaxy clusters evolved.” says Senior Research Scientist István Pusztai.<br /></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Mia Halleröd Palmgren, <a href="">​</a></div> <div><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">More on the scientific paper.</h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The paper </span><a href="">Dynamo in Weakly Collisional Nonmagnetized Plasmas Impeded by Landau Damping of Magnetic Fields</a><span style="background-color:initial"> has been published in Physical Review Letters. </span><br /></div> <div> <div>The article is written by István Pusztai, James Juno, Axel Brandenburg, Jason M. TenBarge, Ammar Hakim, Manaure Francisquez, and Andréas Sundström. </div></div> <div><br /></div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">For more information, contact: </h2> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/Istvan-Pusztai.aspx">István Pusztai, </a></span><span style="background-color:initial">Senior Research Scientist</span><span style="background-color:initial">​, </span><span style="background-color:initial">Department of Physics, </span><span style="background-color:initial">Ch</span><span style="background-color:initial">almers University of Technology,</span><a href=""><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><span style="background-color:initial"></span>​</a><span style="background-color:initial">, +46 31 772 32 36 </span></div>Tue, 01 Sep 2020 00:00:00 +0200 Championship gold medal to Chalmers student<p><b>​Did you know that the winner of the Swedish Championships in 1500 meters 2020 is also a Chalmers student? Johan Rogestedt studies Physics at Chalmers, at the same time as he aims at reaching the world elite in running. Now he starts the countdown to graduation.​​</b></p><strong>​</strong><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>Hi Johan and congratulations on your tenth Swedish Championship gold medal! On August 15, you were the first to finish at an empty arena in Uppsala. Have you had time to digest your success yet?</strong></span><div>&quot;Thanks! Yes, I have, actually. Now I look forward to the next competition, because it has been a strange summer. I fell ill in Corona in April and was ill for five weeks, which made spring and the beginning of summer quite heavy. So, it's really nice to have made such a strong come back, and I have a lot to thank my team for, they have supported and lifted me back, just in time for the Swedish Championships. I'm grateful for that.&quot;</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>What is it like to compete with empty stands?</strong></div> <div>&quot;It is very different, but when you are in the middle of a race you do not think too much about it. You struggle with so many other things, pain and how to position yourself and so on. With that said, it is a lot more difficult to get hyped in a dead-quiet arena, because you do not get the feeling of a race. But I have competed in the Swedish Championships several times before, so maybe I have a little more routine and can get the right feeling before the start anyway.&quot;</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>What is it like to be an elite athlete during a pandemic?</strong></div> <div>&quot;Normally, I travel a lot this time of year and compete around the world. Now I have been more at home. Otherwise, I do not have a hard time keeping my spirits up, because I am not only driven by competing. I am also very passionate about training – to plan, puzzle and optimize my training for goals in the short and long term. And in practical terms, it is no problem for runners to train during a pandemic, because we do not depend on any special facilities. On the other hand, the uncertainty surrounding the competitions makes it a bit difficult to set up my training, because I do not know which races will be cancelled. But overall, things are going well.&quot;</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>You are studying Physics at Chalmers and as a national sports student you can study part-time. How are your studies going?</strong></div> <div>&quot;I started in 2012 and aim to finish in November, so it has taken eight years. I think I could actually have finished my education in the normal five years, but I have chosen to invest in reaching the world elite. The Swedish Sports University has created the conditions and space for me to invest in both. I can prioritize running, but still get an education in a good way, without losing any knowledge. My plan has been to take more courses in the autumn when the running training is a bit lower in intensity, and fewer courses in the spring when I normally have a greater focus on training, travel and competition. Routine, planning and discipline are a must to make it work, but also something that we as elite athletes already live by.&quot;</div> <div> </div> <div><strong>This autumn, you will be doing a dissertation in a district close to you as an athlete – what can you tell us about it?</strong></div> <div>&quot;Yes, me and Johan Högstrand (orienteer in the Swedish national team) will look at non-invasive lactate measurement. It is becoming more and more common and in sports contexts to look at the lactic acid levels in the blood, as a measurement of how tired you are.</div> <div>Today you need to stop in the middle of training and take a blood sample in your finger and read the results in a machine. I use it myself in my training, but it is a bit cumbersome and the test strips are quite expensive. We will look at methods that can be analysed in real time, without having to stop and without having to stick a needle in your finger.</div> <div>Everyone who trains cardio can benefit from such a method, and lactic acid is also measured within healthcare, so there is potential for a broad interest, perhaps even for larger international companies. So, this is exciting – we'll see what will happen later on this autumn!&quot;</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Helena Österling af Wåhlberg</div> <div>Photo: Private</div>Mon, 24 Aug 2020 09:00:00 +0200 exclusive student conference in quantum technology<p><b>​Participants from some 30 countries are expected to attend Berlin when the Quantum Future Academy 2020 (QFA2020) is organized on 1-7 November. The event is coordinated from Chalmers with Professor Göran Wendin at the forefront. Now he is chasing top Swedish students for the conference.</b></p><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MC2/News/GoranWendin_171101_01_350x305.jpg" alt="Picture of Göran Wendin" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" />Göran Wendin, to the right, is one of the driving forces within the Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology (WACQT), which is led by Chalmers and aims to build a Swedish quantum computer within twelve years. At the moment, however, he is fully busy with the QFA2020 management.<br />&quot;It is an extensive job with a lot of work, but also a lot of fun,&quot; he says in a pause.<br /><br />The assignment comes directly from the German research institute VDI Technologiezentrum [VDITZ] in Düsseldorf, which is the headquarters of the EU's research flagship on quantum technology, worth one billion euros, launched in autumn 2018.<br /><br />The idea of ​​QFA2020 is to offer European top students in the field of quantum technology an opportunity to gain new knowledge and new contacts in order to develop future commercial applications of the technology.<br />Similar events have been held four times before, then at the national level in Germany and France. Now, QFA is opening up and turning it into a major European education conference with participants from 30 countries.<br />&quot;One of the aims is to raise the understanding of quantum technology as a matter for Europe as a whole. We want to help create a sustainable network of young researchers,&quot; says Göran Wendin.<br /><br />Each participating country selects two students during the late summer who can travel to Germany completely free of charge in November. Travel, accommodation and living are fully reimbursed.<br /><br />QFA2020 will take place in Berlin. However, Göran Wendin points out that the organizers are closely following the development of the corona pandemic, and that all safety procedures will be followed.<br />&quot;All participants will receive detailed information in good time about any changes,&quot; he says.<br /><br />The application is open until 24 July for all interested students at the bachelor's or master's level with basic knowledge in quantum mechanics. In Sweden, the winners will be presented at a digital workshop at Chalmers in mid-September, where all applicants will present their ideas.<br /><br />The conference week in Berlin in November has a packed content. It will include study visits to companies and research laboratories, lectures, meetings with researchers, politicians and entrepreneurs, workshops and even cultural activities.<br />&quot;We can promise an exciting and exclusive week in Berlin,&quot; concludes Göran Wendin.<br /><br />Text: Michael Nystås<br />Photo: Johan Bodell<br /><br /><strong>Contact:</strong><br />Göran Wendin, Professor, Quantum Technology Laboratory, Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology (WACQT), Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience <span>–<span style="display:inline-block"></span></span> MC2, Chalmers,<br /><br /><div><span><strong>Read more about Quantum Future Academy 2020 (QFA2020) &gt;&gt;&gt;</strong><br /><a href="/en/centres/wacqt/qfa2020"></a> and also<br /><a href=""></a> <br /><br /><strong><a href="/en/centres/wacqt">Read more about Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology (WACQT)</a> &gt;&gt;&gt;</strong><br /><br /><a href="">Läs mer om Read more about the EU flagship in quantum technology </a>&gt;&gt;&gt;<span style="display:inline-block"></span></span><br /></div>Fri, 03 Jul 2020 09:00:00 +0200's-disease-protein-damages-cell-membranes-.aspx's-disease-protein-damages-cell-membranes-.aspxNew method shows how Parkinson&#39;s protein damages cells<p><b>​In sufferers of Parkinson&#39;s disease, clumps of α-synuclein (alpha-synuclein), sometimes known as the ‘Parkinson’s protein’, are found in the brain. These destroy cell membranes, eventually resulting in cell death. Now, a new method developed at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, reveals how the composition of cell membranes seems to be a decisive factor for how small quantities of α-synuclein cause damage.</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P">​<span>Parkinson's disease is an incurable condition in which neurons, the brain's nerve cells, gradually break down and brain functions become disrupted. Symptoms can include involuntary shaking of the body, and the disease can cause great suffering. To develop drugs to slow down or stop the disease, researchers try to understand the molecular mechanisms behind how α-synuclein contributes to the degeneration of neurons.</span></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">It is known that mitochondria, the energy-producing compartments in cells, are damaged in Parkinson's disease, possibly due to ‘amyloids’ of α-synuclein. Amyloids are clumps of proteins arranged into long fibres with a well-ordered core structure, and their formation underlies many neurodegenerative disorders. Amyloids or even smaller clumps of α-synuclein may bind to and destroy mitochondrial membranes, but the precise mechanisms are still unknown.</p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">New method reveals structural damage to mitrochondrial membranes​</h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The new study, recently published in the journal <em>PNAS</em>, focuses on two different types of membrane-like vesicles. One of them is made of lipids that are often found in synaptic vesicles, the other contained lipids related to mitochondrial membranes. </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><span style="background-color:initial">The researchers found that the Parkinson’s protein would bind to both vesicle types, but only caused structural changes to the mitochondrial-like vesicles, which deformed asymmetrically and leaked their contents.</span><br /></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> “Now we have developed a method which is sensitive enough to observe how α-synuclein interacts with individual model vesicles, which are ‘capsules’ of lipids that can be used as mimics of the membranes found in cells. In our study, we observed that α-synuclein binds to – and destroys – mitochondrial-like membranes, but there was no destruction of the membranes of synaptic-like vesicles. The damage occurs at very low, nanomolar concentration, where the protein is only present as monomers – non-aggregated proteins. Such low protein concentration has been hard to study before but the reactions we have detected now could be a crucial step in the course of the disease,” says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, Professor of Chemical Biology at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering. </p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">&quot;Dramatic ​differences in how the protein affects membranes&quot;</h2> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The new method from the researchers at Chalmers University of Technology makes it possible to study tiny quantities of biological molecules without using fluorescent markers. This is a great advantage when tracking natural reactions, since the markers often affect the reactions you want to observe, especially when working with small proteins such as α-synuclein.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> “The chemical differences between the two lipids used are very small, but still we observed dramatic differences in how α-synuclein affected the different vesicles,” says Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“We believe that lipid chemistry is not the only determining factor, but also that there are macroscopic differences between the two membranes – such as the dynamics and interactions between the lipids. No one has really looked closely at what happens to the membrane itself when α-synuclein binds to it, and never at these low concentrations.” </p> <p></p> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Next step: Investigate proteins with mutations and cellular membranes</h2> <p></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The next step for the researchers is to investigate variants of the α-synuclein protein with mutations associated with Parkinson's disease, and to investigate lipid vesicles which are more similar to cellular membranes.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> “We also want to perform quantitative analyses to understand, at a mechanistic level, how individual proteins gathering on the surface of the membrane can cause damage” says Fredrik Höök, Professor at the Department of Physics, who was also involved in the research.</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">“Our vision is to further refine the method so that we can study not only individual, small – 100 nanometres – lipid vesicles, but also track each protein one by one, even though they are only 1-2 nanometres in size. That would help us reveal how small variations in properties of lipid membranes contribute to such a different response to protein binding as we now observed.”</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><strong>Text: </strong>Susanne Nilsson Lindh and Joshua Worth<br /><strong>Illustration:</strong> Fredrik Höök</p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"><br /></p> <div> </div> <div><strong>More information on the method</strong></div> <div> </div> <div><ul><li>Vesicle membranes were observed by measuring light scattering and fluorescence from vesicles which were bound to a surface – and monitoring the changes when low concentrations of α-synuclein were added.</li> <li>Using high spatiotemporal resolution, protein binding and the resulting consequences on the structure of the vesicles, could be followed in real time. By means of a new theory, the structural changes in the membranes could be explained geometrically.</li> <li>The method used in the study was developed by Björn Agnarsson in Fredrik Höök's group and utilises an optical-waveguide sensor constructed with a combination of polymer and glass. The glass provides good conditions for directing light to the sensor surface, while the polymer ensures the light does not scatter and cause unwanted background signals.</li> <li>The combination of good light conduction and low background interference makes it possible to identify individual lipid vesicles and microscopically monitor their dynamics as they interact with the environment – in this case, the added protein. Sandra Rocha in Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede's group provided α-synuclein expertise, which is a complicated protein to work with.</li> <li>The research project is mainly funded by the Area of Advance for Health Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, and scholar grants from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The researchers’ complementary expertise around proteins, lipid membranes, optical microscopy, theoretical analysis and sensor design from Chalmers’ clean room has been crucial for this project.</li></ul></div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><strong>Read the full study in <em>PNAS</em>: </strong></div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /><span style="background-color:initial"><font color="#5b97bf">Single-vesicle imaging reveals lipid-selective and stepwise membrane disruption by monomeric α-synuclein</font></span>​</a><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Read more about the researchers:</strong></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/bio/research/chemical_biology/Wittung-Stafshede-Lab/Pages/default.aspx" title="Link to Pernilla Wittungs reserch group"><span><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /></span> Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede</a><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/Fredrik-Höök.aspx" title="Link to Fredrik Höök's bio"><span><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /></span> Fredrik Höök</a><br /></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> ​Thu, 02 Jul 2020 07:00:00 +0200 platform for shaping the interaction between micromechanical motion and light<p><b>​Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology have developed a novel experimental platform for the field of cavity optomechanics. The findings are a crucial step towards increasing light-matter interactions further in order to access new possibilities in the field of quantum technology. The work also shows the ability to fabricate two mechanical resonators on top of each other with a gap smaller than one micrometer. &quot;This ability is an important ingredient for the next step of the project&quot;, says Witlef Wieczorek, head of the group at MC2.</b></p><div><span><span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MC2/News/figure_2_350x305.jpg" alt="Picture of device" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:5px" /></span></span>How can light interact with matter? A rather evident way is via the radiation pressure force. However, this force is tiny. Or, have you already been pushed back by a laser pointer hitting you? But when we consider much smaller systems in the micro- and nano world, this force becomes appreciable and can actually be used to manipulate tiny objects. The radiation pressure force can even be enhanced in so-called cavity optomechanical devices. These devices exploit the interaction between light and micro- or nanomechanical resonators to alter the dynamical properties of either of the two systems. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><span><em>The figure above shows a </em><span></span><span><em>scanning electron microscope image<br />of a fabricated device: a 100 nanometer thin slab of GaAs is <br />freely suspended and hold by four strings above a GaAs substrate. <br />The holes in the device are a photonic crystal pattern that yield <br />high optical reflectivity at telecom wavelengths. <br />Image: Sushanth Kini Manjeshwar</em><span style="display:inline-block"></span></span><span style="display:inline-block"></span></span></div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;Cavity optomechanical devices open the door to a world of possibilities such as studying quantum mechanical behavior on larger scales or as transducing microwave to optical photons, which could prove invaluable in superconducting-based quantum computing&quot;, says Witlef Wieczorek.</div> <div><br /></div> In Witlef Wieczorek’s research group, the cavity optomechanics project deals with increasing the light-matter interaction even further to access novel possibilities for the field of quantum technology. The present work reports a crucial step in this direction and presents a novel experimental platform based on specifically tailored AlGaAs heterostructures. <br /><br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/MC2/News/figure3_sushanth_350x305.jpg" alt="Picture of Sushanth Kini" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" style="margin:5px" />Sushanth Kini Manjeshwar (to the right), PhD student in the lab of Witlef Wieczorek at MC2 and the lead author of the article, fabricated high-reflectivity mechanical resonators in AlGaAs heterostructures in the world-class nanofabrication cleanroom at MC2. The raw material, an epitaxially grown heterostructure on a GaAs wafer, was supplied by the group of professor Shu Min Wang at the Photonics Laboratory at MC2. <br />&quot;We patterned the mechanical resonators with a so-called photonic crystal, which can alter the behavior of light. Here, the photonic crystal enables an increase of the optical reflectivity of the mechanical resonator, which is a crucial requirement for the project&quot;, explains Sushanth Kini Manjeshwar.<br />The design of the photonic crystal pattern was developed by the group of associate professor Philippe Tassin at the Department of Physics at Chalmers.<br /> <br />The work also shows the ability to fabricate two mechanical resonators on top of each other with a gap smaller than one micrometer. This ability is an important ingredient for the next step of the project, where the researchers plan to integrate the presented devices in a chip-based optomechanical cavity. Their grand goal is then to access the elusive regime of strong interaction between a single photon and a single phonon, which is indispensable for realizing novel hardware for the field of quantum technology.<br /><br />This is the first experimental work from the Wieczorek Lab at the Quantum Technology Laboratory at MC2, and it has been published as Editor’s Pick in the special topic on Hybrid Quantum Devices in the scientific journal Applied Physics Letters.<br /><br /><div>The research was driven by a newly established collaboration amongst researchers from Chalmers comprising the groups of Witlef Wieczorek and Shu Min Wang, both at MC2, and of Philippe Tassin at the <span>Department of Physics<span style="display:inline-block">.</span></span></div> <br /><div>The work was jointly supported by Chalmers Excellence Initiative Nano, the Swedish Research Council (VR), the European QuantERA project C’MON-QSENS! and the Wallenberg Centre for Quantum Technology (WACQT).</div> <br />Text: Witlef Wieczorek and Michael Nystås<br />Illustration: Alexander Ericson, Swirly Pop AB<br />Image of device: Sushanth Kini Manjeshwar<br />Photo of Sushanth Kini Manjeshwar: Michael Nystås<br /><br /><strong>Contact:</strong><strong> </strong><br />Witlef Wieczorek, Assistant Professor, Quantum Technology Laboratory, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience – MC2, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden,, <a href=""><span>wiecz</span><span></span></a><br /><br /><strong>Read the article in Applied Physics Letters &gt;&gt;&gt;</strong><br /><a href="">Suspended photonic crystal membranes in AlGaAs heterostructures for integrated multi-element optomechanics</a><br />Tue, 30 Jun 2020 09:00:00 +0200 Chalmers fence – five years of innovation<p><b>In a short time, Chalmers has become a leading part of the field of equestrian sports technology. In 2016, the Chalmers fence was launched during the annual Gothenburg Horse Show. Chalmers’ collaboration with the show has since then been about bringing theory and practice together, to decode the optimal jumping kinematics, and contribute with more sustainable horses and training methods.</b></p><div>Chalmers investment in equestrian sports technology has proven to be successful. The world of sport is always looking for new ideas and serves well as a testing arena for developing new technical solutions and materials. This research field is also giving Chalmers students the opportunity to combine leisure interests with studies.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“The Chalmers fence is something the students work with in addition to their own studies, it is an opportunity to participate in a project that really makes a mark outside campus,” says Anna Karlsson-Bengtsson, Vice President of Education and Lifelong Learning at Chalmers University of Technology.</div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">​​​<span>From idea to crowded arena</span></h2> <div> </div> <div>The Chalmers fence is a &quot;smart showjumping fence&quot; and every year a new technical solution is created to measure another kinematic aspect of the jumps. The results are presented to the large audience in Scandinavium on the jumbotron during the ongoing competition at the Gothenburg Horse Show.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/20200101-20200701/Chalmershindret%202016-2020/MagnusKarlsteen_textbild200x250.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="magnus karlsteen" style="margin:5px;width:150px;height:186px" />“I really want to point out that this project is the result of many enthusiasts' ideas and struggles. Many people at Chalmers have been involved over the years, not least horse-interested students,” says Magnus Karlsteen, adding that it is not only equestrian people involved in the projects. Many do it for the technical challenge and the community around it, says Magnus Karlsteen, who is responsible for the Chalmers Fence and Chalmers Equestrian sports projects.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>Magnus Karlsteen went to riding school for one summer as a 6-year-old, but he &quot;has hardly ever seen a horse since then&quot;. Nevertheless, Chalmers’ research into equestrian sports has attracted considerable attention in the equestrian world, which is much larger than most people can imagine. According to the Swedish Equestrian Federation, half a million Swedes are involved in the sport and it is Sweden's third largest youth sport (for 7–25-year olds). There is a significant equestrian sports industry with everything from suppliers of horse feed and veterinarians to product developers and trainers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>Chalmers often organises public seminars, where different stakeholders are invited to share the latest in different research areas. When the first meeting regarding equestrian sports was organised in 2012, it turned out that the demand for research within the field was enormous.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“At a certain equestrian technology meeting we received several hundred interested people. The interest was almost as great as when the Nobel laureates visits campus,” says Magnus Karlsteen.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>A few years later, in 2015, Chalmers met representatives from Gothenburg Horse Show for the first time and the Chalmers fence, which was originally initiated by the former Vice President Maria Knutson-Wedel, began to grow from idea to reality.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“The collaboration with Chalmers is part of Gothenburg Horse Show's work to support development. Equestrian sport has been given new scientific information which supports our work on horse training and competition”, says Tomas Torgersen, director for the Gothenburg Horse Show.<span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Opportunity to combine interests with studies</h2> <div> </div> <div>Although the investment has only been going for five years, there are already examples of horse-interested Chalmers students who have gained interest in the engineering profession after seeing the Chalmers fence and visiting Chalmers’ booth during the competition in Scandinavium.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>Chalmers student Anna Skötte, project manager for the fence group 2020, is interested in both horses and technology and thinks that the Chalmers fence shows how well it works to combine these two interests.<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/20200101-20200701/Chalmershindret%202016-2020/Annaskotte_textbild_hinder.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:196px" /><br /><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">“</span><span style="background-color:initial">The days we spent in Scandinavium were extremely exciting, even though they also were very busy. The most fun thing was that everyone involved and even the audience experienced the fence measurements as interesting and successful! Also, the fact that I got to know so many different people both from Chalmers and the outside world has been very valuable,” says Anna Skötte.</span></div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">​&quot;We forgot that horses have tails”</h2> <div> </div> <div>Technical problems and time issues are a part of the everyday life of an engineer, something that the Chalmers students who have been involved in the Chalmers fence have gained practical experience of. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Magnus Karlsteen talks about one of the most memorable incidents over the years. During a test run a few days before the show, the participating horse had an unusually long tail. The fence had been jumped before and everything had worked well, but now the technology caught the lowest point of the tail, instead of the hooves, as the measuring point over the fence. In the computer, it looked like every bar was falling down, when in reality it was only hairs from the tail that rubbed the bars.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“It was eventually solved by having students manually reviewing each point of the kinematics before the results were posted on the jumbotron in the arena. It is an example of what a good training in problem-solving the project gives the students – they get an invaluable experience of real working life,” says Magnus Karlsteen.</div> <div> </div> <h2 class="chalmersElement-H2">Old truths questioned through new knowledge</h2> <div> </div> <div>The Chalmers fence has questioned a long-lived myth in the world of equestrian sport. The old truth says that the horse's takeoff point  is as far ahead of the fence as the fence is high. But when the students' results of the Chalmers fence in 2017 were analysed by Chalmers researcher Kristina Wärmefjord, it was confirmed that the horses jump off considerably further away than that. There is even a formula for this, which reads &quot;1.3x obstacle height + 0.2&quot;. The measurements showed that on a 1.50 fence, the horse's hooves are on average 2.15 meters from the fence in the take-off.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/20200101-20200701/Chalmershindret%202016-2020/Chalmershindret_200x250px.jpg" alt="showjumping" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:5px" />The results from Gothenburg Horse Show have over the years also confirmed knowledge that previously was mostly based on the riders' gut feeling, for example that more experienced horses and riders manage to maintain a more even rhythm and speed – before, over and after the fence. In classes with young riders or young horses, the numbers were much more varied than in the world elite jumping classes.</div> <div> </div> <div>Worldwide interest </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>Chalmers has collaborations with several stakeholders both in Sweden and abroad regarding equestrian sport technology. There are collaborations with the Swedish breeding association SWB, and research applications are in progress together with the International equestrian committee, Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI). There is also a collaboration with Sahlgrenska University Hospital and with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). During the European Championships in Gothenburg 2017, Chalmers students also participated in the production of obstacles for the competitions in driving, and through a design competition Chalmers students developed no less than four of the jump fences at the Ullevi stadium. There are also examples of Chalmers projects in trotting and horse racing.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>A collaboration with the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås has resulted in development of the possibility to measure ECG, heart rate and breathing with smart textiles through the horses’ fur – the list of impacts in different areas can be long. Chalmers’ equestrian technology has established contacts within equine research in Australia. Among other things, several students were invited to present their horse racing project in the Australian city of Wagga Wagga in 2018.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“The students are given a unique opportunity to create a network – internally at Chalmers, in the corporate world, in the horse sector and in various research areas around the world. We are constantly contacted by new stakeholders,” says Magnus Karlsteen.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <p class="chalmersElement-P">Ireland is another great horse nation that has shown interest in Chalmers’ equestrian technology. During Gothenburg Horse Show this year, the fence group was contacted by the head of the Ireland national team. The Chal​mers students received an invitation to visit Ireland and set up the Chalmers fence at the prestigious Dublin Horse Show in the summer of 2020 – though the collaboration has unfortunately been postponed due to the coronavirus crisis. <span style="background-color:initial;color:rgb(51, 51, 51)"> </span></p> <p></p> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <div><h2 class="chalmersElement-H2"><span>The next step: </span><span>comme</span><span>rcialisation</span><span></span><span> and entrepreneurship</span></h2></div> <p class="chalmersElement-P"> </p> <p class="chalmersElement-P">The work of taking the technology from the Chalmers fence to the next step in a commercialisation process is done in various ways, including, in the spring of 2020, a master’s thesis titled &quot;Development and testing of a concept for analyzing kinematics in show jumping&quot;.</p> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“We believe that video analysis is a way forward for equestrian sport technology. We want to be able to offer riders and trainers a static tool that with the help of collected data, could detect a downward trend in the horse's performance at an early stage, which could be an indication of an injury for example. By quickly identifying a negative signal, the horse's well-being and a possible veterinary cost can be positively affected,” says Elin Lorin, one of the students behind the study.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>She and her fellow student Niklas Westman are now getting help from Chalmers Innovation Office to develop the Master thesis into an eventual Startup. Several students who have been active in the Chalmers fence group are today entrepreneurs within the field.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>The technical aspects of the Chalmers fence are also being developed within the Chalmers educational investment Tracks. The work is run in collaboration with the Riding School at Strömsholm, one of the Swedish Equestrian Federation´s educational facilities, where the national teams have their base.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>This year, the participants in the Tracks course about the fence were tasked on the demand from Strömsholm to develop a system for measuring and analysing equipage that is jumping at their riding arena. Anna Skötte, project manager for the Chalmers fence 2020, also participates in this venture:</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/20200101-20200701/Chalmershindret%202016-2020/ridhus%20kamera_tracks.JPG" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="students" style="margin:5px;width:200px;height:133px" />“We have chosen to continue with the same technology as in Scandinavium, through a camera which records the kinematic data when the horses jump, something we hope can support the training of both horses and riders at Strömsholm in the future”, she says.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>Magnus Karlsteen says that the collaboration with Strömsholm is an opportunity to quickly reach out with the technology into the wider horse world, for example during the annual testing of young horses that is arranged at the facility.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“Through the collaboration, we get the opportunity to participate in and develop equestrian sport at the highest level, and in the longer term we can also make the technology available to the market and to the ordinary rider,” says Magnus Karlsteen.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div>Wed, 17 Jun 2020 17:00:00 +0200 climate changes with a hydrogen-based energy system<p><b>​​The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research has granted four Agenda 2030 Research Centers (SSF-ARC) 50 million Swedish kronor each. Associate Professor Björn Wickman, Department of Physics at Chalmers, is part of one of the new centres:  &quot;Production, use and storage of hydrogen gas (PUSH)&quot;. ​</b></p><div>Together with colleagues from KTH, Lund University, Umeå University and RISE he will focus on UN’s Sustainable Development Goal number 13 on fighting climate changes. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/80x80/80x80_BjornWickman.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="" style="margin:5px" />“Hydrogen is a very important carbon-free energy carrier and also a significant industrial process gas for the future. Our center encompasses the entire value chain in a hydrogen-based energy system: production (through electrolysis), storage and distribution and end-use (electricity from fuel cells),” says Björn Wickman, who will focus on developing new catalytic materials for the next generation of fuel cells and eletrolysers.</div> The new centre will be coordinated by KTH.<div><strong>Text</strong>: Mia Halleröd Palmgren<br /><br /><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read more on the new centres on SSF’s webpage​</a><br /></div>Fri, 12 Jun 2020 00:00:00 +0200