The European Research Council (ERC) has recently awarded three UG researchers – Prof. dr. Maria Antonietta Loi, Prof. Bart van Wees and Prof. Siewert-Jan Marrink – each with an ERC Advanced grant to use to set up long-term research projects.
ERC’s Advanced Grants are allocated to top researchers who work on ground-breaking projects in Europe and can go up to 2.5 million euros for a period of five years.
Maria Antonietta Loi works in the field of optoelectronics, dealing with the interaction between material and light, specifies Campus Groningen. In the project funded by ERC, she will create metamaterials – materials that do not exist in nature – which can be tuned to receive or emit light at specific wavelengths and thus be used for various applications.
Bart van Wees is an expert in nanodevices, electronic circuits made of layers of material no thicker than one atom each. Thanks to ERC’s grant, van Wees will focus on an area of nanodevices never explored before, dealing with so-called “magnons”, disturbances in the magnetization in non-conductive magnetic material that spread like a wave, and carry around electrons. Such a way of transport generates no heat and costs very little energy, and its study could lead to exciting developments in low-power information technology.
Siewert-Jan Marrink’s work is aimed at understanding (bio)molecular processes, using multiscale molecular dynamics simulations. These kinds of simulations are very useful because they often reveal processes that are not visible in experiments. This is called “computer microscopy” and is central to Marrink’s ERC project. His final goal is to be able to simulate a complete cell for the first time.