News: Space, Earth and Environment, Rymd- och geovetenskap, Energi och miljö related to Chalmers University of TechnologyThu, 21 Jun 2018 08:52:01 +0200 receiver to catch cosmic waves in the world&#39;s largest radio telescope<p><b>​Just arrived in South Africa, Chalmers’ most advanced radio receiver is Sweden&#39;s main contribution to the record-breaking telescope SKA (Square Kilometre Array). The advanced prototype, now being tested in the Karoo Desert, is not only shiny and new. It’s also an important step towards a radio telescope that will challenge our ideas of time and space.</b></p><div><div><span style="background-color:initial">Onsala Space Observatory has delivered its largest technology contribution to the SKA (Square Kilometre Array) project. A metre (3 ft) across, the 180 kg (400 lb) instrument is the first in place of over a hundred to be mounted on dish antennas in the Karoo Desert, today home to the 64-dish-strong new MeerKAT telescope.</span><br /></div> <div>The Band 1 receiver, as it is called, allows the dish to measure radio waves with a frequency between 0.35 and 1.05 Gigahertz (wavelength 30-85 cm).</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/MeerKATBand1_SARAO_glint_72dpi_340x340.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />The receiver is being tested on one of the 64 antennas in MeerKAT, one of today's largest radio telescopes and is in the same location in the Karoo desert where the SKA's antennas will be located. The instrument is a prototype manufactured in Sweden by Chalmers University of Technology in collaboration with Swedish industry, and it is designed to be mass-produced.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Sweden is one of 11 countries in the international SKA project, which will build the world's largest radio telescope at radio-quiet sites in Africa and Australia. The project is approaching the end of its design phase and construction is expected to start in the early 2020s.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>As part of the SKA, Swedish receivers will participate in measurements of radio waves from many different sources in space. Scientists expect to make most sensitive radio measurements ever. They plan to test Einstein's theories to their limits and to explore the history of the universe by measuring millions of galaxies at distances of millions of light years.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Band1_lab_Bodell_72dpi_340x340.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />&quot;This is a proud moment for us, getting a first glimpse of what the world's biggest radio telescope will be like. We work with developing the world's best receiver technology and hope that our contribution to the telescope will make it possible for humanity to see things we have never seen before&quot;, says Miroslav Pantaleev, project manager for SKA at Onsala Space Observatory.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The receiver’s journey to Africa has been preceded by intensive collaboration between researchers and engineers at Onsala Space Observatory together with industrial partners, to ensure both performance and resilience. Before its trip, the instrument underwent tough environmental tests in Sweden, both in Onsala and at Saab Bofors Test Centre in Karlskoga.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Band1_team_72dpi_340x218.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />John Conway, professor of observational radio astronomy at Chalmers and director of Onsala Space Observatory, looks forward beyond MeerKAT to the future dish array, SKA-mid.</div> <div>&quot;When the dishes in SKA-mid are operational, the world's astronomers will be able to access the world's most sensitive radio telescope and many exciting projects will be possible. We hope, among other things, to find new pulsars to test Einstein's theories, to study in detail how galaxies like the Milky Way were built during the history of the universe – and, of course, to make unexpected discoveries”, he says.</div> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <div><strong>Contacts</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Robert Cumming, communications officer, Onsala Space Observatory, Chalmers, +46 31-772 5500, +46 70-493 31 14,</div> <div>Miroslav Pantaleev, head of electronics laboratory, Onsala Space Observatory, Chalmers, +46 31 772 5555,</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Related press releases:</strong></div> <strong> </strong><div><br /></div> <div>Sweden’s biggest contribution yet to the world’s largest radio telescope,  <span style="background-color:initial"><a href="/en/researchinfrastructure/oso/news/Pages/Swedens-biggest-contribution-yet-to-the-worlds-largest-radio-telescope.aspx">​</a></span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Images:</strong></div> <div> </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><em>High-resolution images are available at </em><a href=""><em></em></a></span></div> <em> </em><div><br /></div> <em> </em><div><em><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Band1_vibration_Helldner_72dpi_340x340.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />1a (top). The Band 1 receiver has been installed on one of MeerKAT’s antennas. Out in the Karoo Desert in South Africa, 64 dishes today constitute the MeerKAT telescope. Later, these will be incorporated into the world's largest radio telescope, the SKA. On one of these antennas, Swedish technology is now being tested which will make the telescope the world’s most sensitive yet. In this image, the Swedish-built Band 1 receiver can be seen mounted underneath the dish's round white secondary mirror.</em></div> <em> </em><div><em>(Credit: SARAO)</em></div> <em> </em><div><em style="background-color:initial">  </em><br /></div> <em> </em><div><em>1b. The Band 1 receiver’s protective cover reflects the desert Sun. To the right is the MeerKAT antenna’s secondary mirror.</em></div> <em> </em><div><em>(Credit: SARAO)</em></div> <em> </em><div><em style="background-color:initial"> </em><br /></div> <em> </em><div><em>2. The Band 1 receiver captures a wide range of radio waves. A radio telescope with a dish antenna needs one or more feeds to guide radio waves with a wide range of frequencies up to the receiver equipment.</em></div> <em> </em><div><em>The Band 1 feed has a curved profile with four ridges on the inside. This Quadridge design was be adapted to SKA project requirements using mathematics, physics and optimisation algorithms, explains Jonas Flygare, PhD student at Chalmers.</em></div> <em> </em><div><em>“We determined the feed’s curved lines using algorithms that stochastically search for those shapes that best receive the radio waves, given our specifications. To find the optimum design you need to simulate a great number of different shapes of the antenna. The feed’s performance on the telescope has been evaluated together with EMSS Antennas in South Africa, and with a system simulator developed by Marianna Ivashina and colleagues at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers&quot; says Jonas Flygare.</em></div> <em> </em><div><em>(Credit: Chalmers / Johan Bodell)</em></div> <em> </em><div><br /></div> <em> </em><div><em style="background-color:initial"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Band1_LNA_Bodell_72dpi_340x340.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />3. The engineers in the Band 1 project at Onsala Space Observatory. From left: Lars Wennerbäck, Miroslav Pantaleev, Jan Karaskuru, Per Björklund, Christer Hermansson, Leif Helldner, Bo Wästberg, Jonas Flygare, Lars Pettersson, Ronny Wingdén, Magnus Dahlgren and Ulf Kylenfall.</em></div> <em> </em><div><em>(Credit: Chalmers / Johan Bodell)</em></div> <em> </em><div><em style="background-color:initial">  </em><br /></div> <em> </em><div><em>4. Vibration tests in Karlskoga. The receiver is subjected to tough vibration tests at Bofors Test Centre in Karlskoga. <a href="">Video (10 sec) available</a>.</em></div> <em> </em><div><em>Credit: Chalmers / Leif Helldner</em></div> <em> </em><div><br /></div> <em> </em><div><em style="background-color:initial">5. Low noise amplifiers in the Band 1 feed for SKA. The Gothenburg company Low Noise Factory developed the unique low noise amplifiers (LNA) for SKA Band 1 that are visible in the middle of this image. They are specially designed for optimal performance without the need for cooling the feed.</em></div> <em> </em><div><em>(Credit: Chalmers / Johan Bodell)</em></div> <em> </em><div><br /></div> <em> </em><div><strong style="background-color:initial">More about the SKA project</strong><br /></div> <strong> </strong><div><br /></div> <div>The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, led by SKA Organisation. The SKA will conduct transformational science to improve our understanding of the Universe and the laws of fundamental physics, monitoring the sky in unprecedented detail and mapping it hundreds of times faster than any current facility.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The SKA is not a single telescope, but a collection of telescopes or instruments, called an array, to be spread over long distances. The SKA is to be constructed in two phases: Phase 1 (called SKA1) in South Africa and Australia; Phase 2 (called SKA2) expanding into other African countries, with the component in Australia also being expanded.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The SKA Organization is supported by 11 member countries - Australia, Canada, China, India, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom - and has brought together some of the world’s finest scientists, engineers and policy makers and more than 100 companies and research institutions across 20 countries in the design and development of the telescope. </div> <div>Sweden is represented in the SKA Organisation by Onsala Space Observatory, Chalmers University of Technology. Onsala Space Observatory is Sweden’s national facility for radio astronomy. The observatory is hosted by the Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers University of Technology, and is operated on behalf of the Swedish Research Council.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>SKA's Dish Consortium is responsible for the design and testing of the dish that will be SKA-mid, one of two instruments in SKA. Chalmers and Onsala Space Observatory represent the Sweden Consortium, led by China and consisting of engineers and researchers at research institutes and companies in France, Italy, Canada, China, Great Britain, Sweden, South Africa and Germany.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>More about SKA is available at <a href=""></a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>More about the Band 1 receiver and Swedish industry in the SKA project</strong></div> <strong> </strong><div><br /></div> <div>The receiver has been developed to capture the longest radio waves for which SKA's dish antennas are sensitive. The frequency range is called Band 1 and extends between 350 and 1050 MHz (wavelength 30-85 cm).</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The project was led by Onsala Space Observatory, Chalmers. The design and system design of the feed was performed by Onsala Space Observatory and funded by the Swedish Research Council.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In industrial liaison for the project Chalmers has worked together with Big Science Sweden and Vinnova.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Several companies from both Sweden and abroad have also contributed to the project. Leax Arkivator, Gothenburg, Sweden, was responsible for the mechanical design of the feed. The metal parts were manufactured at Ventana Group in Hackås, Sweden, and at MegaMeta, in Kaunas, Lithuania. South Africa’s EMSS has delivered control electronics. System engineering work was coordinated by EMSS Antennas in South Africa and the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO). The receiver’s amplifiers are developed by Low Noise Factory in Gothenburg, and were built in the clean room of Chalmers Nanofabrication Laboratory in Gothenburg. Industrial partners for the SKA project also include Omnisys, Gothenburg, Sweden, who developed design concepts early in the project. The overall project work was managed by CSIRO (Australia), CETC54 (China) and the SKA Organisation project office (UK).</div> <div>​<br /></div></div> Thu, 21 Jun 2018 09:00:00 +0200 latest and greatest in energy systems modeling<p><b>​Chalmers is hosting the 37th Edition of IEW – the International Energy Workshop – on June 19-21. The IEW is one of the leading conferences for the international energy modeling research community. - I’ve been attending IEW for more than 15 years. The reason that it attracts me to attend every year is that it’s a community conference that brings the leading figures and young researchers together presenting very high-quality research in energy system modeling, says Sonia Yeh, professor of Transport and Energy Systems and head of the organizing committee for IEW 2018. ​</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial">​</span><span style="background-color:initial">Energy systems modeling is a growing field of research and an increasingly important tool for addressing the complexity of planning and policy making relating to energy. There are many moving parts that interact in an energy system, and many constraints – concerning economy and environment – to take into consideration when choosing a route forward. </span></div> <div><br /></div> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Profilbilder/Sonia_Yeh_170.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:150px;height:150px" /><div>– We try to take a systems perspective and look at the interactions and dynamics within an energy system. In recent years we have focused on how to best incorporate energy from renewable sources or increase the use of electric vehicles in current or future systems. How does supply and demand interact with each other? How will different policy solutions impact the system? It’s really important to look at how different components influence each other, so you don’t focus on one problem and miss other aspects, says Sonia Yeh professor at the division of Physical Resource Theory at Chalmers' department of Space, Earth and Environment. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>An energy system has typically social, technical and economic aspects, and the research is usually focused on long term models, from 10 up to a 100 years.  </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div>– Most people have the misconception that energy models can predict the future. But that is not the case. The future is impossible to predict given all the knowable and unknowable uncertainty. The science (or art) of energy modeling is about simplifying really complicated realities into problems that are manageable and solvable and to extract useful insights for policymakers and for the society. It is not about making projections or forecasts.</div> <div><br /></div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">Three days - three subject areas​</h6> <div>At this year’s conference 116 research papers will be presented, and six keynote speakers will provide high level overviews and summarize the latest research frontiers in three subject areas – climate policy, renewable energy technologies and consumer behaviour. (<a href="">Read the full program for IEW 2018 here​</a>). </div> <div><br /></div> <div>– All keynote speakers will be really interesting, but I am especially looking forward to the first day, with keynotes Reyer Gerlagh from Tilburg School of Economics and Management and Thomas Sterner from the School of business, economics and law at the University of Gothenburg. They will be speaking on lessons learned from historical and more recent international climate and energy policy making. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Two of the departments at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment – Physical Resource Theory and Energy Technology whose research complement each other when it comes to the field of energy systems modeling – are working together organizing the conference. Not only the faculty and senior researchers devoted their time organizing, reviewed over 250 high-quality submitted abstracts and planned the program, 10 PhD students will volunteer at the conference. The conference receives sponsorships from many international organizations and Chalmers Energy Area of Advance. </div> <div><br /></div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">Gender balanced conference​ </h6> <div>– One of the goals for this year is to bring the gender balance and diversity to this traditionally male-dominated field. This year the conference program has a perfect gender balance of 50-50 in keynote speakers, program committee, session chairs and volunteers. Gender balance and diversity are not the ends by themselves, but the means to an end where everyone’s work and contributions are being appreciated and recognized equally, says Sonia. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>IEW will also connect back to another high-level conference held at Chalmers last month – <a href="/en/departments/see/news/Pages/First-ever-conference-on-Negative-CO2-Emissions.aspx">the International Negative CO2 Emissions conference</a> – via a side event. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/EoM/Profilbilder/Mariliis_Lehtveer170x220.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:150px;height:194px" />– Hosting two eminent conferences in one year has significantly raised the profile of Chalmers in the international stage”, says Mariliis Lehtveer, organiser of the negative emissions side event, conference coordinator and also a postdoctoral researcher at the Division of Energy Technology.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>– The contributions from our faculty, senior researchers, and PhD students, are the best tool we have to put Chalmers on the map, says Sonia Yeh.   </div> <div><br /></div> <a href=""><div>Visit the web site for the International Energy Wiorkshop, IEW 2018 for more information and a full program. </div></a><div><br /></div> <i>Text and photos: Christian Löwhagen</i>Thu, 07 Jun 2018 00:00:00 +0200 ever conference on Negative CO2 Emissions<p><b>​To save the planet, it is not enough that we simply reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere in future. We need to actually lower the current overall level, by removing the man-made carbon dioxide that we have already produced. The challenges and possibilities of doing this are the focus of the first international ‘Negative CO2 Emissions’ conference, May 22-24 at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.</b></p><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Profilbilder/Anders_Lyngfelt170x170.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />​<span style="background-color:initial">Chalmers Professor Anders Lyngfelt is one of the leaders behind the conference. Since 1998, his work has focused on developing methods for carbon dioxide capture, an endeavour which has seen him become one of the most respected and highly cited academics in his field. </span><div><br /></div> <div>– I'm worried about the climate. If we are to achieve the goals, we need big negative emissions and it is obvious to us that, apart from eliminating carbon dioxide, we need to clean up after us, says Anders Lyngfelt.</div> <div>The conference will feature oral and poster presentations from around 180 international experts in the field, including from USA, UK, Germany, China, Japan, and more. Attendees and speakers will be researchers, politicians and figures from industry. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Among the keynote speakers will be the so-called ‘father of climate change awareness’, James Hansen. A former director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, now Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, New York, James Hansen will open the conference with his talk ‘Negative CO2 emissions – why, when, and how much?’ </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Also of particular interest will be Tuesday’s session on ‘Bio Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) in Sweden and the rest of the Nordic countries’. BECCS has been suggested as a potentially major technology in the efforts to reduce overall CO2 levels, and the Nordic countries are well placed to make widespread use of this technology. Representatives from Chalmers, KTH, and other Swedish universities, as well as figures from industry and government will discuss the implications and role of BECCS in Swedish climate change policy. </div> <div>Chalmers researchers will also be joined by representatives from the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the Norwegian environmental organisation Bellona, and the University of Copenhagen, to discuss the potential for BECCS technologies throughout the whole Nordic region. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>This session starts with an invited lecture by State Secretary for Climate Policy Eva Svedling, who will also open the conference together with the president and CEO of Chalmers, Stefan Bengtsson. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="">More info and full programme can be found at the conference web site</a>. </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">​</span><br /></div> Mon, 21 May 2018 08:00:00 +0200 biofuels can be produced extremely efficiently, confirms industrial demonstration<p><b>​A chance to switch to renewable sources for heating, electricity and fuel, while also providing new opportunities for several industries to produce large numbers of renewable products. This is the verdict of researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, who now, after ten years of energy research into gasification of biomass, see an array of new technological achievements.&quot;The potential is huge! Using only the already existing Swedish energy plants, we could produce renewable fuels equivalent to 10 percent of the world&#39;s aviation fuel, if such a conversion were fully implemented,” says Henrik Thunman, Professor of Energy Technology at Chalmers.​</b></p><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5"><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Popreport_cover.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Report detailing 200 man-years of research  </h5> <div>​We have summarized the work of the last ten years at Chalmers Power Central and GoBiGas in the report: &quot;GoBiGas demonstration – a vital step for a large-scale transition from fossil fuels to advanced biofuels and electrofuels&quot;. Researchers at the division of Energy Technology at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers have worked together with colleagues at the departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Microtechnology and Nanoscience, Technology Management and Economics, Biology and Biological Engineering, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences​ as well as a wide range of Swedish and international collaborative partners in industry and academia. <a href="" style="outline:none 0px"><span style="background-color:initial">Download the report: </span><span style="background-color:initial">GoBiGas demonstration – a vital step for a large-scale transition from fossil fuels  to advanced biofuels and electrofuels. </span></a>(21 Mb). <div><h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">​Pathway to a radical transition</h6></div> <div><div>How to implement a switch from fossil-fuels to renewables is a tricky issue for many industries. For heavy industries, such as oil refineries, or the paper and pulp industry, it is especially urgent to start moving, because investment cycles are so long. At the same time, it is important to get the investment right because you may be forced to replace boilers or facilities in advance, which means major financial costs. Thanks to long-term strategic efforts, researchers at Sweden´s Chalmers University of Technology have now paved the way for radical changes, which could be applied to new installations, as well as be implemented at thousands of existing plants around the globe.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The solution presented involves widespread gasification of biomass. This technology itself is not new. Roughly explained, what is happening is that at high temperatures, biomass is converted into a gas. This gas can then be refined into end-products which are currently manufactured from oil and natural gas. The Chalmers researchers have shown that one possible end-product is biogas that can replace natural gas in existing gas networks.</div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">The problems with tar are solved​</h6> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/tar-problem-before-and-after.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Previously, the development of gasification technology has been hampered by major problems with tar being released from the biomass, which interferes with the process in several ways. Now, the researchers from Chalmers’ division of Energy Technology have shown that they can improve the quality of the biogas through chemical processes, and the tar can also be managed in completely new ways, see images to the right. This, in combination with a parallel development of heat-exchange materials, provides completely new possibilities for converting district heating boilers to biomass gasifiers. <a href="">Watch an animation with more details about how the problems with tar has been solved​</a>. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>&quot;What makes this technology so attractive to several industries is that it will be possible to modify existing boilers, which can then supplement heat and power production with the production of fossil-free fuels and chemicals.&quot;, says Martin Seemann, Associate Professor in Energy Technology at Chalmers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“We rebuilt our own research boiler in this way in 2007, and now we have more than 200 man-years of research to back us up,” says Professor Henrik Thunman. “Combined with industrial-scale lessons learned at the GoBiGas (Gothenburg Biomass Gasification) demonstration project, launched in 2014, it is now possible for us to say that the technology is ready for the world.” </div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">Many applications</h6> <div>The plants which could be converted to gasification are power and district heating plants, paper and pulp mills, sawmills, oil refineries and petrochemical plants.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The technical solutions developed by the Chalmers researchers are therefore relevant across several industrial fields”, says Klara Helstad, Head of the Sustainable Industry Unit at the Swedish Energy Agency. “Chalmers´ competence and research infrastructure have played and crucial role for the demonstration of advanced biofuels within the GoBiGas-project.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The Swedish Energy Agency has funded energy research and infrastructure at Chalmers for many years. </div> <div>How much of this technological potential can be realised depends on the economic conditions of the coming years, and how that will affect the willingness of the industrial and energy sectors to convert. The availability of biomass is also a crucial factor. Biomass is a renewable resource, but only provided we do not deplete the conditions for its biological production. There is therefore a limit for total biomass output.</div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Text: Christian Löwhagen, Johanna Wilde. </div> <div>Translation: Joshua Worth.</div> <div>Tar illustration: BOID. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href=""><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Process-video.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Watch a film detailing the process in the GoBiGas Plant</a>. </div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="">Read more in the international press release. ​</a></div> <div>​<br /></div></div>Mon, 21 May 2018 07:00:00 +0200 in the universe can now be studied on earth<p><b>Solar flares, cosmic radiation, and the northern lights are well-known phenomena. But exactly how their enormous energy arises is not as well understood. Now, physicists at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a new way to study these spectacular space plasma phenomena in a laboratory environment. The results have been published in the renowned journal Nature Communications.</b></p><div><span><span><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/LongqingYi_170327_01_beskuren_270x.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><span style="display:inline-block"></span></span></span>“Scientists have been trying to bring these space phenomena down to earth for a decade. With our new method we can enter a new era, and investigate what was previously impossible to study. It will tell us more about how these events occur,” says Longqing Yi, researcher at the Department of Physics at Chalmers.<p></p> <p>The research concerns so-called ‘magnetic reconnection’ – the process which gives rise to these phenomena. Magnetic reconnection causes sudden conversion of energy stored in the magnetic field into heat and kinetic energy. This happens when two plasmas with anti-parallel magnetic fields are pushed together, and the magnetic field lines converge and reconnect. This interaction leads to violently accelerated plasma particles that can sometimes be seen with the naked eye – for example, during the northern lights.</p> <p>Magnetic reconnection in space can also influence us on earth. The creation of solar flares can interfere with communications satellites, and thus affect power grids, air traffic and telephony.</p> <p>In order to imitate and study these spectacular space plasma phenomena in the laboratory, you need a high-power laser, to create magnetic fields around a million times stronger than those found on the surface of the sun. In the new scientific article, Longqing Yi, along with Professor Tünde Fülöp from the Department of Physics, proposed an experiment in which magnetic reconnection can be studied in a new, more precise way. Through the use of 'grazing incidence' of ultra-short laser pulses, the effect can be achieved without overheating the plasma. The process can thus be studied very cleanly, without the laser directly affecting the internal energy of the plasma. The proposed experiment would therefore allow us to seek answers to some of the most fundamental questions in astrophysics.<span><span><span style="display:inline-block"></span></span></span></p> <p>“<span><span><span><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/Blandade%20dimensioner%20inne%20i%20artikel/Tunde270x.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /></span></span></span>We hope that this can inspire many research groups to use our results. This is a great opportunity to look for knowledge that could be useful in a number of areas. For example, we need to better understand solar flares, which can interfere with important communication systems. We also need to be able to control the instabilities caused by magnetic reconnection in fusion devices,” says Tünde Fülöp.</p> <p>The study on which the new results are based was financed by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation, through the framework of the project ‘Plasma-based Compact Ion Sources’, and the ERC project ‘<span>Running away and radiating<span style="display:inline-block"></span></span>'.</p> <p>Text: Mia Halleröd Palmgren, <a href=""></a></p></div> <div>Translation: Joshua Worth, <a href=""></a></div> <div>Portrait pictures: Peter Widing (Tünde Fülöp) and Mia Halleröd Palmgren (Longqing Yi) <span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/F/750x340/reconnection_LongqingYi750x340.jpg" height="340" width="750" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><span style="display:inline-block"></span></span><strong>A new way of studying magnetic reconnection. </strong>The picture shows the experiment setup. The laser (the red triangle on the right) hits the micro-scale film (the grey slab), which splits the beam like a knife. Electrons accelerate on both sides of the ‘knife’ and produce strong currents, along with extremely strong, anti-parallel magnetic fields. Magnetic reconnection occurs beyond the end of the film (the blue frame). The magnetic field is illustrated with black arrows. The boomerang-like structures illustrate the electrons in the different stages of the simulation. The rainbow colours represent the electron transverse momenta.</div> <div>Illustration: Longqing Yi</div> <div> <div>The scientific article was published in the journal Nature Communications.</div> <div><a href="">'Relativistic magnetic reconnection driven by a laser interacting with a micro-scale plasma slab'</a></div></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">More Information:</h5> <strong><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Tünde-Fülöp.aspx">Tünde Fülöp,</a></strong> <span>Professor, <span style="display:inline-block"></span></span>Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, +46 72 986 74 40, <a href=""></a><div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Longqing-Yi.aspx"><strong>Longqing Yi</strong></a>, Postdoctoral researcher,Department of Physics,Chalmers University of Technology,+46 31 772 68 82, <a href=""></a><br /><br /><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 /></div> Wed, 02 May 2018 07:00:00 +0200 Kläppevik and Johan Bremer awarded for best master&#39;s theses<p><b>​Ida Kläppevik and Johan Bremer have been awarded with the Microwave Road Scholarship for best master&#39;s thesis 2017, in the area of antenna and microwave engineering.</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial">Ida Kläppevik gets the award of 10 000 SEK and a diploma for her thesis “Analysis, construction and evaluation of radial power divider/combiner”. Johan Bremer is awarded for his thesis “Compensation of thermal effects by dynamic bias in low noise amplifiers”. The winners got their scholarships at the Microwave Road seminar on Space and Satellite on 25 April, handed over to them by Johan Carlert, chairman of Microwave Road.</span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Microwave Road is a national cluster focusing on international technology and market development uniting industry, universities, research institutes and regional and national public authorities.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><div>Read Ida Kläppevik's thesis &gt;&gt;&gt;</div> <div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Read Johan Bremer's thesis &gt;&gt;&gt;</div> <div></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Read more about the scholarship &gt;&gt;&gt;</div> <div></div></div>Fri, 27 Apr 2018 09:00:00 +0200 Chalmers place in the astronomy world&#39;s elite<p><b>​For the first time, two researchers at the same division and department at Chalmers has been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant, each of 2.5 million euros. Susanne Aalto and Jonathan Tan, professors at Astronomy and Plasma Physics, have been awarded funding from the European Research Council ERC for two five-year research projects that deal with super massive black holes and massive stars, respectively.</b></p><div><span style="background-color:initial">&quot;The ERC grants give us the resources that make it possible to work on large scale research questions. This means that Chalmers can consolidate its place in the world’s elite in mm, submm and radio astronomy&quot;, says Susanne Aalto, professor and Head of the division Astronomy and Plasma Physics in the Department of Space, Earth and Environment. </span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">​<br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><div><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">​Exploring the hidden nuclei of galaxies</h5> <div><a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/saalto.aspx">Susanne Aalto</a>, professor in radio astronomy och head of the division Astronomy and Plasma Physics, is one of two astronomers at Chalmers University of Technology who received an ERC Advanced Grant. She is also the first woman at Chalmers with an ERC Advanced Grant. In the HIDDeN project, her research team will explore how supermassive black holes - like the one in the middle of the Milky Way - grow together with their host galaxies.</div> <div> </div> <div>&quot;If you want to understand how the universe develops, you must understand the development of galaxies. We have discovered extremely dust-embedded galaxy nuclei that are invisible, both in normal light and in infrared radiation. We believe that they hide a thus-far unknown, compact and very transient phase of growth,&quot; says Susanne Aalto.</div> <div> </div> <div><a href="/en/departments/see/news/Pages/hidden-galaxy-evolution.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read the whole interview with Susanne Aalto​</a></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5"><span>A star is born – but how?</span></h5> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/jonathan-tan.aspx">Jonathan Tan</a><span style="background-color:initial">, professor in Astrophysics, also received an ERC Advanced Grant. </span><span style="background-color:initial">Massive Star Formation Through the Universe, </span><span style="background-color:initial">his research group </span><span style="background-color:initial">will </span><span style="background-color:initial">focus on massive star formation - in current times, as well as in the very early </span><span style="background-color:initial">times after the Big Bang. </span><span style="background-color:initial">He hopes to be able to use their results to better understand the complete life cycle of stars, star clusters and the interstellar medium in galaxies. </span><br /></div></div></span> <div><span style="background-color:initial"> </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">&quot;Without massive stars, life as we know it would not be possible, since many important chemical elements are created in massive stars and released into the universe when they ultimately explode in supernovae. We hope to answer some of the numerous open questions about the birth of massive stars in this project,&quot; says Jonathan Tan</span>.</div> <div> </div> <div><a href="/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Massive-star-formation.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read the whole interview with Jonathan Tan​</a></div></div> <div><br /></div>Fri, 20 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0200 the hidden nuclei of galaxies<p><b>​Susanne Aalto, Professor of Radio Astronomy, is one of two astronomers at Chalmers University of Technology who has this year been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant, a prestigious award of 2.5 million euros. In the HIDDeN project, her research team will explore how supermassive black holes – like the one in the middle of the Milky Way – grow together with their host galaxies.&quot;Galaxies are important ‘building blocks’ for the universe&#39;s structure, and if you want to understand how the universe develops, you must understand the development of galaxies,&quot; says Susanne Aalto, professor and Head of the division Astronomy and Plasma Physics.</b></p><div></div> <div>The project’s name, HIDDeN, is in reference to galaxies that are enshrouded in dust and gas, often as a result of galaxy collisions and mergers. The dust and gas then act as a fuel during an extremely fast evolutionary phase, where a lot of new stars are born and black holes grow. The project is about understanding this development phase, helping to increase knowledge of the entire universe's evolution. Of particular interest for this project are hidden galaxy nuclei.</div> <div>&quot;We have discovered extremely dust-embedded galaxy nuclei that are invisible, both in normal light and in infrared radiation. We believe that they hide a thus-far unknown, compact and very transient phase of growth. It is either an accreting supermassive black hole, or an extreme form of star birth. The hidden activity also drives huge ‘winds’ and ‘jets’ which eventually expels gas and dust from the galaxy's core. It may be that these winds act as a control system for the evolution of the galaxies.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><i>Investigating things that are hidden sounds quite difficult. How are you doing it?</i></div> <div>“We need to use long-wavelength radio waves, invisible to the human eye, that can pass through the dust and gas and reveal the hidden activity. We have developed a method where we use radiation from molecules, and astrochemistry as ‘measuring tools. We use large international telescopes such as ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, in Chile – where Chalmers is also an important supplier of internationally leading receiver technology (<a href="/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Will-image-the-distant-universe.aspx">Read more: Receivers from Chalmers will image the distant universe​</a><span></span>). Chalmers is also involved in even more long-wave technology, participating in international networks of interconnected telescopes, such as LOFAR and VLBI, and in the future, SKA.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><i>What are you hoping the project will lead to?</i></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">&quot;We hope, among other things, to find a key to the puzzle of how supermassive black holes grow together with ‘their’ host galaxies, and to see what mechanisms drive the development of the universe forward. We are also looking for evidence that supermassive black holes can regulate their own growth. This can take place through the winds, for example. If they are powerful enough, they can propel gas from the galaxy completely. If they are weaker, the gas flows back so that it can contribute to further growth.”</span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><i><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/SusanneAalto_JonathanTan_180327_250.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Your colleague, Professor Jonathan Tan at the Division of Astronomy and Plasma Physics, has also been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant this year (<a href="/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Massive-star-formation.aspx">Read more about Jonathan's project Massive Star Formation Through the Universe​</a>). Your division is part of the Department of Space, Earth and Environment. What does it mean for Chalmers to have two such big allocations in the field of astronomical research?</i></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">&quot;The ERC awards give us the resources that make it possible to work on large scale research questions. This means that Chalmers can consolidate its place in the world’s elite in mm, submm and radio astronomy. At Astronomy and Plasma Physics we work closely with Onsala Space Observatory and this cooperation is important to our success. We are also looking forward to broadening our cooperation with other institutions, as well as other departments and institutions at Chalmers.”</span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><i style="background-color:initial">How do you plan to spend the ERC grant funds?</i><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">&quot;In order to address these questions, we need a coordinated observation program on several international telescopes. There is the existing facility at ALMA (link), and two new telescopes scheduled to start in 2020: the James Webb Space Telescope, which will observe space from orbit, and the SKA, or Square Kilometer Array, which will become the world's largest radio telescope.</span><br /></div> <div>In addition, we need t  further develop our modeling work on for example radiative transport, dynamics, astrochemistry and MHD simulations of jets. So we plan to use the money to build a research team.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><i>You are the only woman at Chalmers with an ERC Advanced Grant. What are your thoughts about that?</i></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">&quot;Looking at the ERC statistics for advanced grants, Sweden is not doing so well in terms of gender equality. It is interesting to ask why this is, and what we can do about it. In general, it looks much better for starting grants than for advanced. Is this a sign that we can look forward to a new era of more prominent female researchers? Or is it a confirmation of a gloomier picture, where fewer women make it at the ‘higher’ levels? The balance has improved slightly within astronomy at Chalmers. As a researcher and head of department, I want to contribute to an environment where people are seen as individuals, and can develop, and also where women do not ‘fall away’ from research to a greater degree than men&quot;, says Susanne Aalto. </span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><em>Text: Christian Löwhagen. </em></span></div>Fri, 06 Apr 2018 08:00:00 +0200 star is born - but how?<p><b>​Jonathan Tan, professor in Astrophysics, is one of two astronomers at Chalmers University of Technology to be awarded an ERC Advanced Grant for €2,5 million, in 2018. His research group will focus on massive star formation – in current times, as well as in the very early days of the Universe. – Without massive stars, life as we know it would not be possible, since many important chemical elements are created in massive stars and released into space when they ultimately explode in supernovae. We hope to answer some of the numerous open questions about the birth of massive stars in this project, says Jonathan Tan, at the department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The project, which will be funded by ERC, the European Research Council for five years, is called MSTAR - Massive star formation through the universe, and while it is focused on how massive stars are born, Jonathan </span><div><span style="background-color:initial">hopes his group will be able to use their results to better understand the complete life cycle of stars, star clusters and the interstellar medium in galaxies. </span></div> <div><div> </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"></span></div> <div>The life cycle of a star is determined by its mass. While our Sun will eventually end up as a so called white dwarf, a massive star – with eight times the mass of the sun or more – will evolve into a nuclear fusion “factory”, which produces heavier and heavier elements in its core until it ultimately explodes as a supernova, releasing the elements into the interstellar medium. </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>– The oxygen that we breath and the iron in our blood have been made in previous generations of massive stars. About 4.6 billion years ago these elements were incorporated into the Earth and eventually into our bodies. This is just a couple of examples of how without massive stars, life would not have been possible, and thus one of the main reasons why we are interested in studying these stars. </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">Models and observations</h6> </div> <div>Jonathan’s group will develop models of the evolutionary sequence of how massive stars form and then make observations from several telescopes to test the modeled sequence – and develop it further to test formation theories.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>– Theoretical modelling is an essential part, since we will never have a chance to see the birth process or evolution of a single star in our lifetime. Then, observationally we will choose a demographic approach and sample many sources that are forming in our Galaxy. </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>And like a demographer would understand a human population by seeing how many young kids there are, how many middle aged and so on, the astronomers will do the same to different populations of massive stars in varying stages, to get an understanding of the life cycle. </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>– The creation and life cycle of a massive star is a very complicated process, but if we develop the models properly we can obtain a good understanding of reality.  </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>New and powerful telescopes, like the ALMA telescope in Chile and the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope, will make observations that can test the models and also help understanding if the life cycles of massive stars vary in different galactic environments. </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>The project will also explore new theoretical models for how the very first stars in the universe were formed. One theory is that very early supermassive stars (with a mass of one million times the sun) could be the origin of supermassive black holes – like the one in the center of the Milky Way – one of the key unsolved problems in astrophysics.  </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/SusanneAalto_JonathanTan_180327_250.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Supermassive black holes are also in focus for the other astronomy project at Chalmers project to receive funding from ERC this year. Susanne Aalto, professor and head of the division Astronomy and Plasma Physics, will lead the research project HIDDeN, which will explore how supermassive black holes – like the one in the middle of the Milky Way – grow together with their host galaxies. (<a href="/en/departments/see/news/Pages/Hidden-galaxy-evolution.aspx">Read more about Susanne Aalto's project HIDDeN​</a>). </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6"> <div>A continuing team effort</div> </h6><div>The ERC grant for MSTAR will be used to expand Jonathan’s research group by recruiting PhD students and post doctoral researchers. It will also allow the researchers at Chalmers to expand their network in the world of astronomers. Apart from an international conference hosted by Jonathan’s group at Chalmers next year, there will also be a visitor’s program for international researchers coming to Chalmers and Onsala Space Observatory.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>– It is not possible for one group to answer all the questions we are aiming for. We will build a core team here at Chalmers, but already in writing the proposal we involved many collaborators from around the world, so this will be a team effort all the way.  </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>And while on the subject of teamwork, Jonathan has also started an interdisciplinary initiative on Cosmic Origins which will be a collaborative effort between Chalmers and the University of Virginia in the  USA. </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>– We are building up a group in each university and are trying to link the two together. It’s mostly involving astronomers, but also chemists, and environmental, computational and material scientists. The goal is to investigate all processes that relate to Cosmic Origins, by which we mean the formation of galaxies, stars, planets and even molecules – with the long-term goal of trying to understand the origins of life in the universe. (<a href="">Read more on the <span style="background-color:initial">Chalmers &amp; Virginia </span><span style="background-color:initial">Initiatives on Cosmic Origins</span>​</a><span style="background-color:initial">)</span><span style="background-color:initial">. </span></div> <div><br /></div> <div><i>Text: Christian Löwhagen. </i></div></div>Fri, 06 Apr 2018 08:00:00 +0200 ships follow the new sulphur regulations in northern Europe<p><b>​Researchers at Chalmers have shown that between 87 and 98 percent of ships comply with the tougher regulations for sulphur emissions that were introduced in northern Europe in 2015. The lowest levels of compliance were observed in the western part of the English Channel and in the middle of the Baltic Sea.</b></p><div>​<span style="background-color:initial">The highest permitted sulphur content in shipping fuel was drastically reduced at the end of 2014 for vessels sailing in the northern European <em>Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA)</em> – from 1.00 to 0.10 per cent. Before the stricter regulations were implemented, sulphur emissions from the shipping industry were estimated to cause the premature death of 50,000 Europeans each year, because the sulphur forms particles that are swept inland by the wind.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div>Researchers at Chalmers have developed a ground-breaking method for remotely monitoring emissions from marine vessels, which they’ve used to investigate the effects of the new regulations. The work has been carried out through the Danish Environmental Protection Agency and the EU projects <em>Compmon</em> and <em>Envisum</em>.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Some of the measurements were taken using an aeroplane flying over Denmark, the English Channel and the middle of the Baltic Sea, while others used fixed measuring stations in the approach to Gothenburg, Sweden, on the Oresund Bridge (between Copenhagen and Malmo) and on the Great Belt Bridge in central Denmark.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/_W2_2695_Peter_Widing_300x199px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />Johan Mellqvist, professor of optical remote sensing, heads the work at Chalmers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“We can see differences in how the regulations are followed depending on who owns the vessels,” he says. While the vast majority of the ships comply with the regulations, a few shipping companies seem repeatedly to use non-compliant fuel.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“Other patterns we can see are that vessels that only rarely come into these waters break the rules more frequently. In addition, it’s more common that vessels emit excessive sulphur as they are leaving the SECA rather than on the way in, when they risk an on-board inspection. Some ships that have installed abatement technique for sulphur, so called scrubbers, have been observed with high levels on multiple occasions.”</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>One use of remote sensing is to advise port authorities as to which ships they should select for on-board fuel inspections. Such inspections are a prerequisite for taking legal action against rule breakers. <a href="">Recently the Norwegian Maritime Authority fined a ship  NOK 600.000 </a>(about EUR 63.000) for non-compliance. This was detected by the Great Belt measuring station and reported to the Norwegian Authorities.</div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“In general, the vessels carry both low-sulphur fuel oil and the less expensive high-sulphur oil on board,” Mellqvist says. “If they switch fuel well in advance of their passing of the measuring stations, they won’t be caught out. That’s why aerial monitoring is superior. It shows how much the vessels actually emit when they are out at sea and don’t know that they will be monitored.”</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Gotland_IMG_0515_Jörg_Beecken_300x163px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="" style="margin:5px" />The aerial surveys show that 13 per cent of vessels in the western part of the English Channel, near the SECA border, were in violation of the sulphur regulations in September 2016. For vessels around Denmark, the corresponding figure is 6-8 per cent, depending on time period. The fixed measuring stations on the approach to Gothenburg, on the Oresund Bridge and the Great Belt Bridge show that between 2 and 5 per cent of the bypassing ships use non-compliant fuel. This can be compared to on-board inspections showing non-compliance rates of around 5 per cent of the vessels at port. This may indicate that some ships change to compliant fuels too late (when entering the SECA) or change to non-compliant fuels too early (when leaving the SECA), while aiming at compliance at the fixed stations where they expect to be observed. </div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>“There is a strong financial incentive for shipping companies to continue using the prohibited high-sulphur fuel,” Mellqvist says. “For example, they can save around 100,000 euros by using the cheaper, high-sulphur fuel on a single round trip between the UK and Sankt Petersburg. The entirety of this journey lies within the SECA.”</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>On Friday, March 23, Johan Mellqvist will present the ship surveillance work at the <em>19th International Environmental Forum &quot;Baltic Sea Day&quot;</em> 2018 in Sankt Petersburg, describing results from surveillance flights last summer in the middle of the Baltic Sea. The preliminary results show that the compliance rate was 88 percent, which is lower than in the western part of the Baltic Sea.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><strong>Text:</strong> Johanna Wilde.</div> <div><strong>Photos:</strong> <span style="background-color:initial"> </span><span style="background-color:initial">Jörg Beecken and </span><span style="background-color:initial">Peter Widding.</span></div> <em> </em><div><em> </em></div> <em> </em><div><br /></div> <div> </div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">More about: The Chalmers researchers’ method for remote sensing of emissions</h6> <div> </div> <div>The method that the Chalmers researchers have developed is based on a combination of established technologies that have been refined and adapted. They include optical remote sensing, physical/chemical analysis using a “sniffer” and monitoring vessels using an Automatic Identification System (AIS).</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>In addition to sulphur, the system can analyse marine emissions of nitrogen oxides and particles, for which the regulations have also been tightened for the shipping industry in recent years.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The method was completely unique when it came, and it is gaining ground in the industry. For example, the Chalmers team has built an aerial surveillance system for monitoring air pollution in Belgium. They’ve also conducted a pilot project in Los Angeles and maintain regular contacts with China, where the detection technique is about to be implemented.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">More About: Sulp​hur emissions from the shipping industry</h6> <div> </div> <div>Sulphur emissions are above all a health issue, but in the Nordic region, where the bedrock has low lime content, they also contribute to acidification in lakes and waterways.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Since 2015, the Baltic Sea, the Kattegat, the Skagerrak, the North Sea and the English Channel have made up a Sulphur Emission Control Area in which shipping fuel may contain no more than 0.1 per cent sulphur. The rest of the EU follows the regulations set out by the UN’s International Maritime Organisation, IMO, which will reduce the maximum permitted sulphur content in shipping fuel from the current 3.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent worldwide by 2020.</div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Reducing sulphur emissions is very costly for shipping companies, no matter how they choose to meet the requirements. There are several alternatives:</div> <div> </div> <div><ul><li>Powering ships with the significantly more expensive low-sulphur heavy fuel oil (HFO).<br /></li> <li>Installing scrubbers on board to reduce sulphur emissions to the necessary degree.<br /></li> <li>Switching fuels entirely, for example to liquefied natural gas (LNG) or methanol, which the ferry company <span style="background-color:initial">Stena Line is now testing on a few of its vessels.</span><br /></li></ul></div> <div> </div> <div><br /></div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6"> <div>More about: The research</div> </h6><div>The results come from measurements that the Chalmers researchers carried out at the behalf of <a href="">the Danish Environmental Protection Agency</a> and the recently completed EU compliance monitoring project <a href="">Compmon</a>.</div> <div><br /></div> <a href=""><div><div><em>Surveillance of Sulfur Emissions from Ships in Danish Waters</em></div></div></a><div><div><br /></div> <a href=""><div><em>Fixed remote surveillance of fuel sulfur content in ships from fixed sites in the Göteborg ship channel and Öresund bridge</em></div></a><div>Report from the EU project Compmon</div> <div><br /></div> <a href=""><div><em>Certification of an aircraft and airborne surveillance of fuel sulfur content in ships at the SECA border</em></div></a><span style="background-color:initial">Report from the EU project Compmon</span><div><br /></div></div> <div>The EU project <a href="">Envisum​</a> is currently investigating the health benefits created by the new regulations in the countries around the Baltic. Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg University and City of Gothenburg are some of the participants. The project focuses particularly on health effects in Gothenburg, Saint Petersburg and Gdynia-Gdansk – some of the biggest ports in the area, which are centrally located in their respective cities.</div> <div> </div>Thu, 22 Mar 2018 11:00:00 +0100 Swedish satellite to map unstudied winds high up in Earth&#39;s atmosphere<p><b>​Chalmers University of Technology has won the competition to provide Sweden’s next national research satellite to the Swedish National Space Board. The satellite, named SIW, will be the first to study wind currents in the upper atmosphere, increasing understanding about how they affect weather and climate.</b></p><div>​”I am really happy to see our proposal become a reality”, says Kristell Pérot, researcher in the Division of Microwave and Optical Remote Sensing, at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment at Chalmers.</div> <div>SIW, which stands for Stratospheric Inferred Winds, will study wind patterns in the atmosphere to answer questions about their dynamics and circulation. It will contribute important data to climate models, and increase understanding of how the different parts of the atmosphere interact.</div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Better weather forecasting</h4> The climate and weather in the troposphere, the layer closest to Earth’s surface, is affected by wind changes in the two layers above, the stratosphere and the mesosphere (altitudes between 11 and 85 kilometres). Observing and analysing events in the upper layers is therefore critical to achieving more reliable long-term predictions. <div> </div> <div>For example, many consider the recent cold weather across Europe this month, and concurrent warmer temperatures in the Arctic, to be linked to temperature changes in the upper atmosphere – so-called ’sudden stratospheric warming’.</div> <div> </div> <div>“This process is not very well understood in current models, and more knowledge is needed. With SIW, it will be easier to study this kind of event and to understand the forces behind them. That has never been done in this way before” says Kristell Pérot.</div> <div><br /> </div> <div>“SIW will also be a fine complement to the satellite Aeolus, to be launched by the European Space Agency later this year to study the winds lower down in the atmosphere,” she adds.</div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Dual purpose</h4> <div>Patrick Eriksson, professor of Global Environmental Measurements at Chalmers, believes the second part of SIW’s mission will be equally important – to measure the concentration of certain gases in the atmosphere.</div> <div> </div> <div>”As it stands, SIW looks to be alone in being able to measuring the gases that are important to assessing the status of the ozone layer. Above all, it’s chlorine- and nitrogen-bearing gases that we want to keep track of. SIW will take over that role after the <span style="background-color:initial">satellite </span><span style="background-color:initial">Odin</span><span style="background-color:initial">, </span><span style="background-color:initial">which will soon be ready for retirement after 17 years in space” says Eriksson.</span></div> <span></span><div></div> <div> </div> <div>Several Swedish companies will participate in the SIW project, including Omnisys Instruments, which will be responsible for the scientific instruments, and OHB Sweden, which will construct the satellite itself and have overall responsibility for the project. Donal Murtagh, professor of Global Environmental Measurements and Head of Division Microwave and Optical Remote Sensing at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment, will be scientifically responsible for SIW. <span>The satellite will also contain parts manufactured at the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience – MC2 – at Chalmers. <span></span><span style="display:inline-block"></span><span style="display:inline-block"></span></span></div>   <div>The Swedish National Space Board will finance the production and launch of SIW, which will be the second satellite in its innovative research satellites venture. It is scheduled for launch in 2022.</div> <div> </div> <div>You can read more about the SIW satellite on the <a href="">Swedish National Space Board’s website </a>(Swedish only).<br /> </div> <div> </div> <div><strong>For more information, contact:</strong></div> <div><span><span>​</span>,</span> Professor of Global Environmental Measurements and Head of Division, Microwave and Optical Remote Sensing at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment</div> <div><span>r</span><span>ot</span>, researcher from the Division of Microwave and Optical Remote Sensing, at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment</div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/patrick-eriksson.aspx">Patrick Eriksson</a>, Professor of Global Environmental Measurements at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment</div> <div><br /> </div>Wed, 21 Mar 2018 00:00:00 +0100 from Chalmers will image the distant universe<p><b>​From March 1, 2018, when the world&#39;s most powerful telescope will target the most distant universe it is equipped with new receivers that have been developed and produced at Chalmers University. The extremely sensitive instruments also provide new opportunities to search for water in space and in our solar system.&quot;Being the best in the world is part of our daily life. There are simply no other options if you wish to participate on this level, &quot;says Victor Belitsky, professor and leader of the Research Group for Advanced Receiver Development (GARD) at Chalmers.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">The ALMA telescope consists of 66 dish antennas located 5000 meters above sea level in Chile on a high plateau in the Andes. The dishes work linked together as one telescope and can make far sharper observations than individual radio telescopes can do.</span><div>Each of the 66 antennas has several receivers for observation at different wavelengths. The Chalmers receivers now being used allow observations of light with a wavelength of between 1.4 and 1.8 millimeters – known as Alma’s Band 5. This is microwave radiation, which can be compared with visible light whose longest wavelengths are around 740 nanometres (less than a thousandth of a millimetre).</div> <div>“At these frequencies we can observe cold parts of the universe. For example, regions where stars and planets are formed are of great interest. When ALMA's dishes work together, you get significantly higher resolution than you can do with current optical telescopes, &quot;says Victor Belitsky, whose research group is part of Onsala Space Observatory at the Department of Space, Earth and Environment.</div> <div>- The frequencies that are now accessible can give scientists for example a new understanding of how stars, planets and galaxies are born, he says.</div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">Perfect timing​</h6> <div><a href="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/GARD_names.jpg"><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/GARD-Chalmers-small.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /></a>The receivers were developed by the GARD group (click on the image for a larger version with all names) in a project funded by the EU program <a href="">EC FP6​</a> in 2006-2012. The timing proved to be perfect. When the first receivers were ready, new research areas were opening up that specifically required ALMA to be able to observe in Band 5.</div> <div>Victor and his colleagues had completed six complete receivers, but to handle the order for a further 73, a team from NOVA (Netherlands Research School for Astronomy) was invited to participate. They integrated GARD’s components in the receiver cassettes.</div> <div>&quot;Their effort was important to complete the delivery, but the major challenge was to develop the receiver and manufacture the components. We are delivering to the world's best and most advanced telescope, and thanks to our knowledge and experience, they have now got the best possible receivers”.</div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">Cool receivers</h6> <div>The biggest challenge in the production of receivers for radio telescopes is how to reduce noise from their surroundings and get as clean a signal as possible.</div> <div>“The noise sets the limit for how weak signals can be detected. It’s like finding the right station on a regular FM-radio, but a million times more sensitive! So, the more we can reduce different types of noise, the more we increase the possibilities for new discoveries in space”, says Victor Belitsky.</div> <div><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/Cryostat-01_300.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" />For example, the receivers operate at -269 degrees Celsius, four degrees above absolute zero, to counteract interference from thermal radiation. The image shows the receivers housed in their cryostat, which is designed to maintain such low temperatures.</div> <div>Reducing loss of signal in Earth's atmosphere is also the reason that the ALMA telescope is located at 5000 meters above sea level, in one of the driest places in the world. There is very little water vapor in the atmosphere above the telescope, which means the Band 5 receivers can look for water in space, both nearby and far away, Victor Belitsky explains.</div> <div>&quot;There are many uses for our receivers, both in our solar system and in distant galaxies. It depends on which research applications and topics the Alma Research Committee selects, but we know there is a lot of interest to observe water in our own solar system”.</div> <h6 class="chalmersElement-H6">Sweden among world leaders​</h6> <div>Sweden’s success with Alma is not limited to delivering instruments. Swedish researchers were among the most frequent users of the telescopes last year, second only to Japan. </div> <div>“Second place! That shows the strength and position of Swedish astronomical research in international terms. With the support of instrumentation, we are at one of the world's leading positions - both in terms of research and technology. That’s something to be proud of&quot;, says Victor Belitsky.</div> <div>​<br /></div> <div><em>Text: Christian Löwhagen.</em></div> <div><em>Photo: </em><span style="background-color:initial"><em>Oscar Mattson - GARD-Group. Receivers in the cryostat</em></span><span style="background-color:initial"><em>: </em></span><span style="background-color:initial"><em>ESO/P. Yagoubov.</em></span></div> <em> </em><div><br /> </div> <div><div><em>Contact</em>:  </div> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/victor-belitsky.aspx">Victor Belitsky</a>​, professor, and Head of unit, Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Onsala Space Observatory, Advanced receiver development (GARD), +46 31 772 18 93. </div></div> Mon, 19 Feb 2018 06:00:00 +0100 reveal the magnetic secrets of methanol<p><b>​A team of scientists, led by Boy Lankhaar at Chalmers University of Technology, has solved an important puzzle in astrochemistry: how to measure magnetic fields in space using methanol, the simplest form of alcohol. Their results, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, give astronomers a new way of investigating how massive stars are born.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Over the last half-century, many molecules have been discovered in space. Using radio telescopes, astronomers have with the help of these molecules been able to investigate just what happens in the dark and dense clouds where new stars and planets are born.</span><div> </div> <div>Scientists can measure temperature, pressure and gas motions when they study the signature of molecules in the signals they detect. But especially where the most massive stars are born, there’s another major player that’s more difficult to measure: magnetic fields.</div> <div> </div> <div>Boy Lankhaar at Chalmers University of Technology, who led the project, takes up the story.</div> <div> </div> <div>“When the biggest and heaviest stars are born, we know that magnetic fields play an important role. But just how magnetic fields affect the process is a subject of debate among researchers. So we need ways of measuring magnetic fields, and that’s a real challenge. Now, thanks to our new calculations, we finally know how to do it with methanol”, he says.</div> <div> </div> <div>Using measurements of methanol (CH<sub>3</sub>OH) in space to investigate magnetic fields was suggested many decades ago. In the dense gas surrounding many newborn stars, methanol molecules shine brightly as natural microwave lasers, or masers. The signals we can measure from methanol masers are both strong and emitted at very specific frequencies.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>“The maser signals also come from the regions where magnetic fields have the most to tell us about how stars form. With our new understanding of how methanol is affected by magnetic fields, we can finally start to interpret what we see”, says team member Wouter Vlemmings, Chalmers.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>Earlier attempts to measure the magnetic properties of methanol in laboratory conditions have met with problems. Instead, the scientists decided to build a theoretical model, making sure it was consistent both with previous theory and with the laboratory measurements.</div> <div> </div> <div>“We developed a model of how methanol behaves in magnetic fields, starting from the principles of quantum mechanics. Soon, we found good agreement between the theoretical calculations and the experimental data that was available. That gave us the confidence to extrapolate to conditions we expect in space”, explains Boy Lankhaar.</div> <div> </div> <div>Still, the task turned out to be surprisingly challenging. Theoretical chemists Ad van der Avoird and Gerrit Groenenboom, both at Radboud University in the Netherlands, needed to make new calculations and correct previous work.</div> <div> </div> <div>“Since methanol is a relatively simple molecule, we thought at first that the project would be easy. Instead, it turned out to be very complicated because we had to compute the properties of methanol in great detail”, says Ad van der Avoird.</div> <div> </div> <div>The new results open up new possibilities for understanding magnetic fields in the universe. They also show how problems can be solved in astrochemistry – where the disciplines of astronomy and chemistry meet. Huib Jan van Langevelde, team member and astronomer at the Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC and Leiden University, explains.</div> <div> </div> <div>“It’s amazing that such detailed calculations are required to reveal the molecular complexity which we need to interpret the very accurate measurements we make with today’s best radio telescopes. It takes experts from both the chemistry and astrophysics disciplines to enable new discoveries in the future about molecules, magnetic fields and star formation”, he says.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><em><strong>Image and video</strong></em></div> <div><em><br /></em></div> <div><em>High-resolution images are available at <a href="">​</a></em></div> <div><em><strong><br /></strong></em></div> <div><div><span style="background-color:initial"><em>Image (top)</em></span><span style="background-color:initial"><em> – Magnetic fields play an important role in the places where most massive stars are born. This illustration shows the surroundings of a forming massive star, and the bright regions where radio signals from methanol can be found. The bright spots represent methanol masers – natural lasers that are common in the dense environments where massive stars form – and the curved lines represent the magnetic field. Thanks to new calculations by astrochemists, astronomers can now start to investigate magnetic fields in space by measuring the radio signals from methanol molecules in these bright sources. </em></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><em></em></span><em style="background-color:initial">Credit: <a href="">Wolfgang Steffen​</a>/Chalmers/Boy Lankhaar (molecules: Wikimedia Commons/Ben Mills)</em></div></div> <div><em style="background-color:initial"><br /></em></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/SEE/Nyheter/methanol_animation1_72dpi_340.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;font-style:italic;font-weight:600" /></div> <div><em style="background-color:initial"><br /></em></div> <div><em style="background-color:initial">Video – </em><span style="background-color:initial"><i>Watch an animated video about how stars are born and how methanol can now tell scientists more about how massive stars form: <a href=""></a></i></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><em>Credit: Chalmers/Daria Dall'Olio/Boy Lankhaar (see link for full credits)</em></span></div> <em> </em><div><br /></div> <div>See other versions of this release<span style="background-color:initial">:</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><a href="">from JIVE (English)</a><span style="background-color:initial">,</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><a href="">from Radboud University (in Dutch)</a><span style="background-color:initial">, <a href="">from Leiden University (in Dutch)</a>,</span><span style="background-color:initial"> </span><a href="">from NOVA (in Dutch)​</a><span style="background-color:initial"> and </span><a href="">from INAF (in Italian)​</a><a href=""></a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>More about the research</strong></div> <div><br /></div> <div>The research is published in the February 2018 edition of the journal Nature Astronomy, available online 29 January 2018. The paper is <em>Characterization of methanol as a magnetic field tracer in star-forming regions</em> <i style="background-color:initial"> </i><span style="background-color:initial">(<a href="">link to article​</a>; </span><span style="background-color:initial">doi: <a href="">10.1038/s41550-017-0341-8</a></span><span style="background-color:initial">) </span><span style="background-color:initial">by Boy Lankhaar (Chalmers), Wouter Vlemmings (Chalmers), Gabriele Surcis (Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC, Netherlands, and INAF, Osservatorio Astronomico di Cagliari, Italy), Huib Jan van Langevelde (Joint Institute for VLBI ERIC, Netherlands, and Leiden University, Netherlands), Gerrit C. Groenenboom and Ad van der Avoird (Institute for Molecules and Materials, Radboud University, Netherlands). </span></div> <span></span><div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Support for this research was provided by the the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), and by the<br /></span><span style="background-color:initial">European Research Council (</span>ERC).<br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Boy Lankhaar was awarded the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society’s Golden Master prize for 2015 (<a href=""></a>) for his Master’s thesis work on this project at Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Contacts:</strong></div> <div> </div> <div>Robert Cumming, communicator, Onsala Space Observatory, Chalmers, tel: +46 31-772 5500 or +46 70 493 3114,</div> <div> </div> <div>Boy Lankhaar, Ph.D. student, Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers, tel: +46 31 772 55 42,</div> <div><br /></div> ​Mon, 29 Jan 2018 17:00:00 +0100 for nominations: Gothenburg Lise Meitner award 2018<p><b>​The Gothenburg Physics Centre (GPC) is seeking nominations for the 2018 Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award.  Nominations are due on Monday, 5 March, 2018.</b></p>​The Lise Meitner award honors exceptional individuals for a “<em>groundbreaking discovery in physics</em>”.  <br />In addition to their scientific accomplishments, the candidates must meet the following selection criteria:<br /><ul><li>They have distinguished themselves through public activities of popularizing science and are prepared to deliver the annual Lise Meitner Lecture (middle of September).</li> <li>Their research activity is connected to or benefit activities at GPC.<br /></li></ul> Nominations should include a motivation describing the achievements of the candidate, a short biography/CV, contact details and a local contact person. <br /><br />Nominations should be sent to any member of the of the Lise Meitner Award Committee 2018: <br /><br />Dinko Chakarov <a href=""></a> <br />Hans Nordman <a href=""></a><br />Ann-Marie Pendrill <a href=""></a><br />Vitaly Shumeiko <a href=""></a><br />Andreas Heinz (Chair) <a href=""></a><br /><a href=""></a><br /><a href="/en/centres/gpc/activities/lisemeitner"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />More information about Lise Meitner and the award can be found at the GPC website</a><br />We would also like to thank those of you who did make an effort to nominate a candidate in the past! In case your nomination has not been chosen, we encourage you to submit her or his name again. <br /><br />With best regards,<br /><br />The 2018 Lise Meitner CommitteeWed, 24 Jan 2018 00:00:00 +0100 praise and increased funding from the Swedish Research Council<p><b>​In an evaluation from Vetenskapsrådets (the Swedish Research Council)  the Onsala Space Observatory (OSO) national infrastructure received the top grade of “Outstanding” for its science impact.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">In the evaluation VR highlighted the international and national collaborations at OSO, as well as the international standing of the researchers at OSO. They highlight also the work done at OSO concerning technical development and collaborations with industry. </span><span></span><div>Other topics examined were “socio-economic impact”, “implementation, leadership and organisation” and “e-infrastructure”. Overall OSO received a grade of  “Excellent”, which translates to 6 out of a possible 7.</div> <div>At a meeting of VR’s council for research infrastructure (RFI) on 4 December, in response to the very positive evaluation, it was decided to increase VR’s funding to  OSO by 12 %, from 29 million SEK in 2017, to 32,5 million SEK per year for 2018-2021.<span style="background-color:initial">​</span><span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div> Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0100