News: Global related to Chalmers University of TechnologyMon, 23 Apr 2018 16:41:02 +0200 fish could prevent Parkinson’s disease<p><b>​A new study from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, shines more light on the link between consumption of fish and better long-term neurological health. Parvalbumin, a protein found in great quantities in several different fish species, has been shown to help prevent the formation of certain protein structures closely associated with Parkinson’s disease.</b></p>​Fish has long been considered a healthy food, linked to improved long-term cognitive health, but the reasons for this have been unclear. Omega-3 and -6, fatty acids commonly found in fish, are often assumed to be responsible, and are commonly marketed in this fashion. However, the scientific research regarding this topic has drawn mixed conclusions. Now, new research from Chalmers has shown that the protein parvalbumin, which is very common in many fish species, may be contributing to this effect.<br /><br />One of the hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease is amyloid formation of a particular human protein, called alpha-synuclein. Alpha-synuclein is even sometimes referred to as the ‘Parkinson’s protein’. <br />What the Chalmers researchers have now discovered, is that parvalbumin can form amyloid structures that bind together with the alpha-synuclein protein. Parvalbumin effectively ‘scavenges’ the alpha-synuclein proteins, using them for its own purposes, thus preventing them from forming their own potentially harmful amyloids later on. <br /><br />“Parvalbumin collects up the ‘Parkinson’s protein’ and actually prevents it from aggregating, simply by aggregating itself first,” explains Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, Professor and Head of the Chemical Biology division at Chalmers, and lead author on the study. <br /><br />With the parvalbumin protein so highly abundant in certain fish species, increasing the amount of fish in our diet might be a simple way to fight off Parkinson’s disease. Herring, cod, carp, and redfish, including sockeye salmon and red snapper, have particularly high levels of parvalbumin, but it is common in many other fish species too. The levels of parvalbumin can also vary greatly throughout the year.<br /><br />“Fish is normally a lot more nutritious at the end of the summer, because of increased metabolic activity. Levels of parvalbumin are much higher in fish after they have had a lot of sun, so it could be worthwhile increasing consumption during autumn,” says Nathalie Scheers, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and researcher on the study. It was Nathalie who first had the inspiration to investigate parvalbumin more closely, after a previous study she did looking at biomarkers for fish consumption. <br /><br />Other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, ALS and Huntington’s disease, are also caused by certain amyloid structures interfering in the brain. The team is therefore keen to research this topic further, to see if the discovery relating to Parkinson’s disease could have implications for other neurodegenerative disorders as well. Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede stresses the importance of finding ways to combat these neurological conditions in the future: <br /><br />“These diseases come with age, and people are living longer and longer. There’s going to be an explosion of these diseases in the future – and the scary part is that we currently have no cures. So we need to follow up on anything that looks promising.” <br /><br />A follow up study, looking at parvalbumin from another angle, is indeed planned for this autumn. Nathalie Scheers, together with Professor Ingrid Undeland, also of Chalmers, will investigate parvalbumin from herring, and its transport in human tissues. <br /><br />“It will be very interesting to study how parvalbumin distributes within human tissues in more depth. There could be some really exciting results.” <br /><br /><strong>More About: Fish and Better Neurological Health</strong><br />The link between higher consumption of fish and better long-term health for the brain has been long established. There is correlation between certain diets and decreased rates of Parkinson’s disease – as well as other neurodegenerative conditions. “Among those who follow a Mediterranean diet, with more fish, one sees lower rates of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,” says Tony Werner, a PhD student in the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and lead researcher on the study. This has also been observed in Japan, where seafood forms a central part of the diet. The team is careful to note that no definite links can be established at this point, however. <br /><br /><strong>More About: Amyloids and Aggregation</strong><br />Proteins are long chains of amino acids that fold into specific structures to carry out their function. But sometimes, proteins can fold incorrectly, and get tangled up with other proteins, a process known as aggregation.As these misfolded proteins aggregate together, they create long fibrous structures known as amyloids. Amyloids are not necessarily a bad thing, but can be responsible for various diseases. Some of them can interfere with neurons in the brain, killing those cells, and causing a variety of neurodegenerative conditions.<br /><br /><strong>More About: The Study</strong><br />The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.<br /><a href="">Abundant fish protein inhibits α-synuclein amyloid formation</a><br /><br />Text: Joshua Worth<br />Photo: Johan BodellMon, 23 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0200 of graphene can kill bacteria on implants<p><b>​A tiny layer of graphene flakes becomes a deadly weapon and kills bacteria, stopping infections during procedures such as implant surgery. This is the findings of new research from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently published in the scientific journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.</b></p><p>​Operations for surgical implants, such as hip and knee replacements or dental implants, have increased in recent years. However, in such procedures, there is always a risk of bacterial infection. In the worst case scenario, this can cause the implant to not attach to the skeleton, meaning it must be removed.<br /><br />Bacteria travel around in fluids, such as blood, looking for a surface to cling on to. Once in place, they start to grow and propagate, forming a protective layer, known as a biofilm.<br /><br />A research team at Chalmers has now shown that a layer of vertical graphene flakes forms a protective surface that makes it impossible for bacteria to attach. Instead, bacteria are sliced apart by the sharp graphene flakes and killed. Coating implants with a layer of graphene flakes can therefore help protect the patient against infection, eliminate the need for antibiotic treatment, and reduce the risk of implant rejection. The osseointegration – the process by which the bone structure grow to attach the implant – is not disturbed. In fact, the graphene has been shown to benefit the bone cells.<br /><br />Chalmers University is a leader in the area of graphene research, but the biological applications did not begin to materialise until a few years ago. The researchers saw conflicting results in earlier studies. Some showed that graphene damaged the bacteria, others that they were not affected.<br /><br />“We discovered that the key parameter is to orient the graphene vertically. If it is horizontal, the bacteria are not harmed” says Ivan Mijakovic, Professor at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering.<br /><br />The sharp flakes do not damage human cells. The reason is simple: one bacterium is one micrometer – one thousandth of a millimeter – in diameter, while a human cell is 25 micrometers. So, what constitutes a deadly knife attack for a bacterium, is therefore only a tiny scratch for a human cell.<br /><br />&quot;Graphene has high potential for health applications. But more research is needed before we can claim it is entirely safe. Among other things, we know that graphene does not degrade easily” says Jie Sun, Associate Professor at the Department of Micro Technology and Nanoscience.<br /><br />Good bacteria are also killed by the graphene. But that’s not a problem, as the effect is localised and the balance of microflora in the body remains undisturbed.<br /><br />&quot;We want to prevent bacteria from creating an infection. Otherwise, you may need antibiotics, which could disrupt the balance of normal bacteria and also enhance the risk of antimicrobial resistance by pathogens” says Santosh Pandit, postdoc at Biology and Biological Engineering.<br /><br />Vertical flakes of graphene are not a new invention, having existed for a few years. But the Chalmers research teams are the first to use the vertical graphene in this way. The next step for the research team will be to test the graphene flakes further, by coating implant surfaces and studying the effect on animal cells.<br /><br />Chalmers cooperated with <a href="">Wellspect Healthcare</a>, a company which makes catheters and other medical instruments, in this research. They will now continue with a second study. <br /><br />The projects are a part of the national strategic innovation programme SIO Grafen, supported by the Swedish government agencies Vinnova (Sweden’s innovation agency), the Swedish Energy Agency and the Swedish Research Council Formas. The research results are published in Advanced Materials Interfaces: &quot;<a href="">Vertically Aligned Graphene Coating is Bactericidal and Prevents the Formation of Bacterial Biofilms</a>&quot;<br /><br /><strong>The making of vertical graphene</strong><br />Graphene is made of carbon atoms. It is only a single atomic layer thick, and therefore the world's thinnest material. Graphene is made in flakes or films. It is 200 times stronger than steel and has very good conductivity thanks to its rapid electron mobility. Graphene is also extremely sensitive to molecules, which allows it to be used in sensors.<br /><br />Graphene can be made by CVD, or Chemical Vapor Deposition. The method is used to create a thin surface coating on a sample. The sample is placed in a vacuum chamber and heated to a high temperature at the same time as three gases – usually hydrogen, methane and argon – are released into the chamber. The high heat causes gas molecules to react with each other, and a thin layer of carbon atoms is created.<br />To produce vertical graphene forms, a process known as Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition, or PECVD, is used. Then, an electric field – a plasma – is applied over the sample, which causes the gas to be ionized near the surface. With the plasma, the layer of carbon grows vertically from the surface, instead of horizontally as with CVD.<br /></p> <div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 21aa3563-502e-4205-bcb8-3e04875a5b8d" id="div_21aa3563-502e-4205-bcb8-3e04875a5b8d" unselectable="on"></div> <div id="vid_21aa3563-502e-4205-bcb8-3e04875a5b8d" unselectable="on" style="display:none"></div></div> <p><br />Text: Mia Malmstedt<br />Photo and video: Johan Bodell<br />Illustration: Yen Strandqvist </p>Mon, 16 Apr 2018 09:00:00 +0200 builder awarded new prize in medical technology<p><b>​The newly established prize in medical technology, in the spirit of Henry Wallman, is awarded to Sabine Reinfeldt, Associate Professor and leader of the research group Biomedical Signals and Systems at Chalmers. She receives the prize for her research on bone conduction hearing aids, and for her ability to build bridges between disciplines.</b></p>​The newly established prize in medical technology, in the spirit of Henry Wallman, is awarded to Sabine Reinfeldt, Associate Professor and leader of the research group in biomedical signals and systems at Chalmers. She receives the prize for her research on bone conduction hearing aids, and for her ability to build bridges between disciplines.<br /><br />&quot;I was very happy and surprised when I learned that I got the prize,&quot; says Sabine Reinfeldt. “It is great that my work, and the work of the whole group, has received recognition through the first Henry Wallman prize.”<br /><br />Sabine Reinfeldt's research focuses on improved hearing aids based on bone conduction. Her work includes everything from basic bone conduction physiology and transmission to the development of implantable hearing aids ready for market introduction.<br /><br />In the justification of the prize, it is emphasized that Sabine Reinfeldt's research and working methods are characterized by multidisciplinary collaboration with representatives from clinical science, and she is therefore an excellent representative of the ideals that Henry Wallman wished to see in medical technology and its clinical utilisation. In addition to building bridges between disciplines, Sabine Reinfeldt has successfully created well-functioning multidisciplinary teams.<br /><br />“The collaboration across disciplines has always been a success factor in the field of bone conduction hearing,” says Sabine Reinfeldt. “My predecessor, Bosse Håkansson at Chalmers, started already in 1977 a successful collaboration with Anders Tjellström at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and the Brånemark Osseointegration Center. I´m trying to carry on in the same spirit. We are a whole team of engineers, <br />medical doctors and audiologists who work together contributing with our respective skills to find the best solutions, for the benefit of the patients. Nowadays, Måns Eeg-Olofsson at Sahlgrenska is a very important partner.<br /><br />Sabine Reinfeldt will receive the prize at a ceremony early autumn 2018.<br /><br /><em></em><em></em><strong>About the prize</strong><br />The Henry Wallman prize is an innovation prize in medical technology, which from 2018 will be awarded annually, to young researchers or graduate students who, in close collaboration between expertise in technology and health care, successfully have transferred new knowledge from academia to practical medical care. The Foundation for Biomedical Engineering (Stiftelsen Medicin &amp; Teknik) at Chalmers is hosting the prize. The scholarship amounts to SEK 50,000.<br />Henry Wallman came to Chalmers in 1948 and was a pioneer in biomedical engineering research and development.<br /><br /><span><em>Text: Yvonne Jonsson</em><br /><em>Photo: Oscar Mattsson<span style="display:inline-block"></span></em></span><br /><br /><strong>Contact</strong><br /><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/sabine-reinfeldt.aspx">Sabine </a><span>Reinfeld</span>t, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Chalmers<br /><a href=""></a><br /><br /><a href="/en/departments/e2/research/Signal-processing-and-Biomedical-engineering/Pages/Biomedical-signals-and-systems.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more about the research group Biomedical Signals and Systems</a>Fri, 13 Apr 2018 12:00:00 +0200 iron supplements may influence the development of colon cancer<p><b>​Two common iron compounds increase the formation of a known biomarker for cancer, according to a new study of cancer cells from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. The two compounds, ferric citrate and ferric EDTA, are often used in dietary supplements and as a food additive respectively, in worldwide markets including the USA and the EU.</b></p>​The researchers studied ferric citrate and ferric EDTA, which have both previously been shown to worsen tumour formation in mice with colon cancer. The science behind this has been little understood until now, and possible effects on human cells were not previously investigated. <br /><br />The new study, which was in collaboration with the UK Medical Research Council and Cambridge University, looked at the effect of normal supplemental doses of these compounds on two types of cultured human colon cancer cells. As a comparison, they also measured the effects of ferrous sulphate, another very commonly available iron compound.<br /><br />While ferrous sulphate had no effect, both ferric citrate and ferric EDTA caused an increase in cellular levels of amphiregulin, a biomarker for cancer. This was the case even at low doses.<br /><br />&quot;We can conclude that ferric citrate and ferric EDTA might be carcinogenic, as they both increase the formation of amphiregulin, a known cancer marker most often associated with long-term cancer with poor prognosis,&quot; says Nathalie Scheers, Assistant Professor at Chalmers University of Technology, and lead writer on the study.<br /><br />Today there are many different types of iron supplements on the market. These can be based on at least 20 different iron compounds, and sold under a wide range of brands. Ferric sulphate is one of the most common, but ferric citrate, which is said to be gentler for the stomach, is also widely available in stores and online. It is also more easily absorbed by the body through foods such as granary bread, beans and nuts.<br /><br />But for consumers looking to make an informed choice, it can often be difficult to know what exactly they are buying. <br /><br />“Many stores and suppliers don’t actually state what kind of iron compound is present – even in pharmacies. Usually it just says ‘iron’ or ‘iron mineral’, which is problematic for consumers,” says Nathalie Scheers. <br /><br />Iron is also added to some foods, to combat iron deficiency. Ferric EDTA is approved as a fortifying agent in both the USA and the EU. It is also used in countries such as China, Pakistan, Brazil, Mexico and The Philippines, where it is added to flour and powdered drinks. Additionally, it is present in certain medicines for children with low iron levels in countries such as the UK and France. <br /><br />With both ferric citrate and ferric EDTA in widespread use, how should consumers or patients relate to these new findings?<br /><br />“First, we must bear in mind that the study was done on human cancer cells cultured in the laboratory, since it would be unethical to do it in humans. But, the possible mechanisms and effects observed still call for caution. They must be further investigated,&quot; says Nathalie Scheers. &quot;At the moment, people should still follow recommended medical advice. As a researcher, I cannot recommend anything – that advice needs to come from the authorities. But speaking personally, if I needed an iron supplement, I would try to avoid ferric citrate,” she continues. <br /><br />Beyond this, she is not willing to comment. Research in the field has so far been limited, even concerning the more common ferrous sulphate. The key thing for her is that we begin to differentiate between different forms of iron. <br /><br />&quot;Most importantly, researchers and authorities need to start to distinguish between this form of iron and that form of iron. We need to consider that different forms can have different biological effects,” she concludes.<br /><br /><strong>Women at greater risk</strong><br />Most of the iron that the body needs is obtained through food such as meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. But sometimes this is not enough. Pregnant women may need additional iron, as well as people who have lost blood or have low haemoglobin levels for other reasons. In patients with kidney disease, high doses of iron may be needed to bind phosphates into the bloodstream.<br /><br /><strong>More about the study</strong><br />The research was funded by Formas, (The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning) and was in collaboration with a research team at Elsie Widdowson laboratory, Medical Research Council, Cambridge/University of Cambridge. The study was recently published in the journal Oncotarget: <a href=";page=article&amp;op=view&amp;path%5b%5d=24899">‘Ferric citrate and ferric EDTA but not ferrous sulfate drive amphiregulin-mediated activation of the MAP kinase ERK in gut epithelial cancer cells’</a><br /><p><br />Text: Christian Borg<br />Photo/illustration: Yen Strandqvist </p>Thu, 12 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0200 &quot;a beacon for interdisciplinary education<p><b>​A new benchmarking report from MIT ranks Chalmers University of Technology top ten in the world of engineering education. Strong interdisciplinary programmes and healthy emphasis on teaching excellence, are highlighted as two of Chalmers&#39; characteristics.</b></p>​The report from MIT puts a spotlight on worldwide trends in the changing landscape of engineering education, pinpoints the current and emerging leaders in the field, and describes some of its future directions. It is based on interviews with 178 thought leaders with knowledge of and experience with world-leading engineering programs.<br /><br />&quot;Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden was noted by a number of interviewees to be '<em>a real beacon for their interdisciplinary programs... they have created a good power balance [between the departments and the programs] with mutual commitment from both sides</em>',&quot; writes Dr Ruth Graham, independent higher education consultant and author of this global review of cutting-edge practice in engineering education.<br /><br />Chalmers also gets recognition for its quality and pervasiveness of faculty training in education, and how educational achievements are rewarded career-wise.<br /><br />Educational excellence is often confined to certain environments, one programme or one department. Best practice is seldom a university-wide phenomenon. But European universities like Aalborg, Delft, Chalmers and KTH seem to have been able to take a more coordinated, consistent approach than most American universities, according to the report. <br /><br />Ruth Graham will present the report at a seminar at Chalmers University of Technology later this spring. The full report is available for download here: <br /><br /><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />The Global State of the Art in Engineering Education</a> <br /><br /><strong>Text:</strong> Christian Borg<br />Mon, 09 Apr 2018 18:00:00 +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 provides Chalmers funding to develop new methods to study brain cells<p><b>​Greater insight into the chemical processes of brain cells can lay the groundwork for new ways to cure brain-related diseases where short-term memory is affected. In a new grant from the ERC (European Research Council), Professor Andrew Ewing has received 25 million to chart the role of secretion of neurotransmitters in our memory process.</b></p><p>​Signal substances in the brain are the molecules that cells use to communicate and send nerve signals to each other. The cells contain capsules, so-called vesicles, which are filled with a certain amount of transmitter molecules, so-called signal substances, used by the cells for communication and regulatory functions in the organism.</p> <p><br />Our short-term memory starts with a chemical process in the brain where brain cells interact with the aid of neurotransmitters that are secreted from these vesicles. The cellular processes that direct the vesicle to start release have been charted and the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was given for this. Exactly how this finishes is, however, not known today, but earlier results from Andrew Ewing’s research show that the amount of signal substance that cells emit varies in different situations providing a mechanism for change in signal or learning. By examining the content of signal substance in individual vesicles and comparing to the amount of signal substance that a cell yields, his research shows that it is possible to see at a very detailed level how much signal substance is released from the cell in different situations. </p> <p><br />&quot;This discovery provides a completely different view of what regulates neurotransmitter release and shows this regulation is possible at the level of single release events.&quot;</p> <p> <br />Knowledge of this opens up for further research on the transmission of signal transmission and raises questions about the plasticity of the cell wall and how strong the coupling, synapse, between the nervous cells, which can lead to methods that may counter memory diseases.</p> <p><br />&quot;This can give us tools to understand the processes that are affected in diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, adding a new pharmaceutical target by regulating individual vesicles and how they open.&quot;</p> <p><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/andrew-ewing.aspx"><br />Andrew Ewing</a> has now received an estimate of 2.5 million euro from the ERC to test how extensive the proposed mechanism is, to develop new methods of analysis of nanometer vesicles, and to use this in a next step to investigate full brain cells of banana flies as a model. In addition, he will investigate the role of changes in the membrane of the cell in the chemical reactions that are essential for a functioning short-term memory.</p> <p><br />&quot;I have been blessed with being able to interact with great students, postdocs and collaborators with open minds and super ideas. ​This is a very exciting and far reaching project where many of the things we are investigating are clearly controversial and parts might not work, but that adds to the excitement and this is the kind of work the ERC funds to push science to the future.&quot;</p> <p><br />In the long run, Andrew Ewing hopes that his research will provide tools to understand how diseases that damage short-term memory work on a deeper level.</p> <p> </p> <p>Text: Mats Tiborn</p>Fri, 06 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0200 ERC Advance Grants goes to researchers at Chalmers<p><b>The European Research Council has today released the list of selected researchers to receive the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant. Three out of the ten Swedish researchers who receives funding are working at Chalmers University of Technology. Jonathan Tan, Andrew Ewing and Susanne Aalto thus receive 2.5 million euros each for their research.</b></p><p class="chalmersElement-P">The prestigious research grants will encourage the best, most creative researchers to be even more adventurous and take risks in their research. 2,166 researchers from across Europe had applied for an ERC Advanced Grant in the latest announcement. A total of 269 world-class researchers around Europe today get to shared 653 million euros. 17 percent of the funds have gone to female researchers, which corresponds to the proportion of female applicants.</p> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">Exploring the hidden nuclei of galaxies</h3> <div> <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/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> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">He will develop new methods to study brain cells</h3> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/andrew-ewing.aspx">Andrew Ewing</a>, professor in analytic chemistry, is the first researcher at Chalmers to receive a second ERC Grant. His research will give greater insight into the chemical processes of brain cells and may lay the groundwork for new ways to cure brain-related diseases where short-term memory is affected. In the new project will his research group chart the role of secretion of neurotransmitters in our memory process. Signal substances in the brain are the molecules that cells use to communicate and send nerve signals to each other. </div> <div> </div> <div>&quot;This can give us tools to understand the processes that are affected in diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, adding a new pharmaceutical target by regulating individual vesicles and how they open,&quot; says Andrew Ewing.</div> <div> </div> <div><a href="/en/departments/chem/news/Pages/Chalmers-ERC-funding.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read the whole interview with Andrew Ewing</a></div> <div> </div> <h3 class="chalmersElement-H3">A star is born – but how?</h3> <div><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/jonathan-tan.aspx">Jonathan Tan</a>, professor in Astrophysics, also received an ERC Advanced Grant. <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>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. </div> <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> <div> </div> <div><strong>MORE FACTS</strong><br /><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read the press release from the European Research Council, ERC.</a><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><a href="/en/research/EU-funded-research/Pages/ERC-funded-scientists.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read about other researchers at Chalmers University of Technology who earlier have received one of the three grants ERC Advanced Grant, ERC Consolidator Grant or ERC Starting Grant.</a></div> <div> </div>Fri, 06 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0200 for postdoc in Wallenberg Foundation&#39;s mathematics programme<p><b>​This year’s grants from Wallenberg Foundation’s investment in mathematics go to 14 mathematicians, including Martin Raum who receive a grant for recruiting a postdoctor.</b></p><p><a href="">Martin Raum</a> will receive funding to recruit an international researcher for a postdoctoral position at the Department of Mathematics, Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.</p> <p>– In my project I intend to study so-called skew Maass lifts, which is a variant of relationships between modular forms. During the two-year position, the postdoctor will mainly explore new examples that generalise Maass lifting, so that we can see exactly what kind of phenomena exist in the background, and also work with a coupe of applications of these so that the scientific potential of the idea becomes clear.</p> <h4>The Mathematics behind the Theory of Everything</h4> <p>Martin Raum’s research focuses on modular forms and their applications in several branches of mathematics, as well as in the string theory of theoretical physics. Modular forms are mathematical functions that satisfy certain symmetry conditions. First studied about 200 years ago, they have played an important role in number theory and other branches of mathematics. For example, they provided a crucial step in the proof of Fermat’s last theorem, which was posed in 1637 and completed in 1995.</p> <p>Nowadays, there are a wide variety of modular forms and their generalizations. There are also interesting relationships between them, which are called lifts, for example Maass lifts. A modern variant of these are known as skew Maass lifts. Such lifts are now intensively studied using representation theory, and a large part of the inspiration for this research comes from string theory and quantum field theory.</p> <p>String theory is theoretical physics’ attempt to unify the two most successful achievements of 20th century physics – Einstein’s general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. But to link these theories together requires completely new and much more advanced mathematics than has been previously used. While Riemann’s geometry could satisfy Einstein’s theory of relativity, a whole new mathematics is now being developed with the hope of realizing physics’ dream of a theory of everything. And, in this new mathematics, <br />modular forms play a central role.</p> <h4>Knut and Alice Wallenberg mathematics programme</h4> <p>​Since 2014, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences have supported mathematical research in Sweden through an extensive mathematics programme. Its aim is that Sweden will regain an internationally leading position in the area. New mathematics is necessary for increasing areas of use in both research and industry. The funding does not target a particular area of mathematics, but will support basic research. </p> <p>Press release from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation &gt;&gt;</p> <p><br /><strong>Text</strong>: from the press release of KAW<br /><strong>Photo</strong>: Johan Bodell</p>Wed, 04 Apr 2018 09:00:00 +0200 Great Gold Medal to Chalmers professor<p><b>​Chalmers Professor Björn Jonson has been rewarded with the highest award of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) - the Great Gold Medal named after the Russian scientist Mikhail Lomonosov.</b></p><p>The prize acknowledges outstanding achievements in the natural sciences and the humanities. Among the previous recipients, there are many renowned scientist and even Nobel Prize laureates. <br /><br />&quot;Of course, I’m honoured, but it’s also a recognition of the importance of our field of research within subatomic physic, both here at Chalmers and internationally,” says <a href="/en/Staff/Pages/Bjorn-Jonson.aspx">Björn Jonson</a>, Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology. <br /><br />He was awarded for his extensive contributions within fundamental nuclear physics. Björn Jonson has been engaged in research at Chalmers since 1967 and the Russian Academy of Sciences emphasize that his work is of fundamental importance for the study of the nuclear structure and nuclear stability of exotic lightest nuclei at the boundaries of nucleon stability.<br /><br />The award ceremony was held in Moscow at the General Meeting of the RAS, on Friday 30 March 2018. The Lomonosov Gold Medal is awarded each year since 1959. Since 1967, two medals are awarded annually: one to a Russian and one to a foreign scientist. This time the Russian nuclear physicist Yuri Oganessian was rewarded together with Björn Jonson.  <br />Text: Mia Halleröd Palmgren, <a href=""></a></p> <p>Image: Elena Puzynina, JINR<br /><br /><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read more about the award and previous recipients at Wikipedia.</a><br /></p>Tue, 03 Apr 2018 00:00:00 +0200 are ready for an Olympic challenge in physics<p><b>​The best physics students from Swedish upper secondary schools visited the Gothenburg Physics Centre 12-16 March to compete for five places in the International Physics Olympiad in Lisbon, Portugal 21-29 July 2018. The week in Gothenburg also offered lots of seminars, workshops, study visits, experimental work and social activities.</b></p>” It is with pleasure I note that the participants enjoyed their stay with us and that the week encouraged to future studies in physics, not the least in Gothenburg. I’ve met several participants from previous years who are now studying physics here with us&quot;, says Jonathan Weidow, Associate Professor at the Department of Physics at Chalmers and one of the organisers of the week. <br /><br />The Physics Olympiad in Sweden is arranged by the Swedish Physical Society, with financial support from the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation. The Swedish award is known as the Wallenberg Physics Prize. <br />The students did some experimental tests during the week at the Gothenburg Physics Centre. On 25-27 April the competitions will continue in Estonia. After that we will know the names of the five who will represent Sweden in Lisbon. <br /><br />In addition to the competing students, some of the most talented female students in the second year of their upper secondary studies took part of the physics week in Gothenburg as VIP guests. The aim is to encourage them to take part of the competition next year. <br />“I really appreciated the week. I have learned a lot and it was nice to meet students from all over Sweden who also love physics,” says Johanna Odbratt, one of the invited students.  <br /><br />The last day the whole group enjoyed a very special ice-cream. The delicious dessert was ready-made in a minute - thanks to liquid nitrogen. The students also tried to dip biscuits into the substance, resulting in lots of cold smoke flowing out of the mouth. <a href="">Check out the experiment here! <br /></a>Text: Mia Halleröd Palmgren, <a href=""></a><br /><a href=""></a><br /><span><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /></a><a href=""><span style="display:inline-block"></span></a></span>The Swedish Radio reported from the last day of the week in Gothenburg. <a href=";artikel=6908698">Listen to the report (in Swedish) here.</a> (The report starts after 23 seconds in the clip.)<br /><br /><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Read more about Wallenbergs fysikpris.</a><br /><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />Check out more pictures on Facebook. </a><a href=""></a><br />Mon, 26 Mar 2018 00:00:00 +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 textile lights a lamp when stretched<p><b>​Working up a sweat from carrying a heavy load? That is when the textile works at its best. Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have developed a fabric that converts kinetic energy into electric power, in cooperation with the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås and the research institute Swerea IVF. The greater the load applied to the textile and the wetter it becomes the more electricity it generates. The results are now published in the Nature Partner journal Flexible Electronics.</b></p>​Chalmers researchers Anja Lund and Christian Müller have developed a woven fabric that generates electricity when it is stretched or exposed to pressure. The fabric can currently generate enough power to light an LED, send wireless signals or drive small electric units such as a pocket calculator or a digital watch.<div> </div> <div>The technology is based on the piezoelectric effect, which results in the generation of electricity from deformation of a piezoelectric material, such as when it is stretched. In the study the researchers created a textile by weaving a piezoelectric yarn together with an electrically conducting yarn, which is required to transport the generated electric current.</div> <div> </div> <div>“The textile is flexible and soft and becomes even more efficient when moist or wet,” Lund says. “To demonstrate the results from our research we use a piece of the textile in the shoulder strap of a bag. The heavier the weight packed in the bag and the more of the bag that consists of our fabric, the more electric power we obtain. When our bag is loaded with 3 kilos of books, we produce a continuous output of 4 microwatts. That’s enough to intermittently light an LED. By making an entire bag from our textile, we could get enough energy to transmit wireless signals.”</div> <div> </div> <div>The piezoelectric yarn is made up of twenty-four fibres, each as thin as a strand of hair. When the fibres are sufficiently moist they become enclosed in liquid and the yarn becomes more efficient, since this improves the electrical contact between the fibres. The technology is based on previous studies by the researchers in which they developed the piezoelectric fibres, to which they have now added a further dimension. </div> <div> </div> <div>“The piezoelectric fibres consist of a piezoelectric shell around an electrically conducting core,” Lund says. “The piezoelectric yarn in combination with a commercial conducting yarn constitute an electric circuit connected in series.” </div> <div> </div> <div>Previous work by the researchers on piezoelectric textiles has so far mainly focused on sensors and their ability to generate electric signals through pressure sensitivity. Using the energy to continuously drive electronic components is unique. </div> <div> </div> <div>“Woven textiles from piezoelectric yarns makes the technology easily accessible and it could be useful in everyday life. It’s also possible to add more materials to the weave or to use it as a layer in a multi-layer product. It requires some modification, but it’s possible,” Lund says. </div> <div> </div> <div>The researchers consider that the technology is, in principle, ready for larger scale production. It is now mainly up to industrial product developers to find out how to make use of the technology. Despite the advanced technology underlying the material, the cost is relatively low and is comparable with the price of Gore-Tex. Through their collaboration with the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås the researchers have been able to demonstrate that the yarn can be woven in industrial looms and is sufficiently wear-resistant to cope with the harsh conditions of mass production.<br />   </div> <div><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" /> Anja Lund about the research results</a></div>Thu, 22 Mar 2018 00:00:00 +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