NanoLundian receives Wolf Prize in Physics • Global research community supports Ukraine • Higher heat helps carbon nanotubes decompose • Supercomputers of the future • European Research Consolidator Grant for mapping the insect brain • New knowledge of harmful protein fights Alzheimer’s • Spin-off company Aligned Bio gets funding for detection of biomarkers
NanoLund at the Forefront of NanoScience
April 2022 Newsletter from the 
Strategic Research Area NanoLund – Center for Nanoscience, Lund University
Photo of NanoLund building.
Looking forward to a new spring
Welcome to a new edition of the NanoLund newsletter – in which we try to keep you up to date once or twice every semester. Though the times are bleak, we do have some hope and confidence that we would like to share with you. Please have a look!
Photo of Anne L’Huillier.
Wolf Prize Laureate combines theory and experiment,
atoms and quantum physics with light and optics
Anne L’Huillier, Professor of Atomic Physics, is one of this year’s recipients of the Wolf Prize – the most prestigious award in physics, second only to the Nobel Prize. She receives it for her research contributions to ultrafast laser science and attosecond physics.
  “I haven’t quite landed on this yet. I’ve got awarded before for my research, but this is amazing, very special. I wasn’t expecting it!”

The Wolf Foundation rewards outstanding researchers in physics, agriculture, chemistry, mathematics, and medicine, as well as arts. It was first awarded in 1978 when the physics prize went to Chinese-American physicist Chien-Shiung Wu. Anne L’Huillier is the first woman after her to receive the award.
  “To me, this is a career award – my research has been in this field from the beginning. I have so many people I want to celebrate with: my research team, my colleagues in the Department of Atomic Physics, my old colleagues in France, and, of course, my family.”

She notes that the prize is a special recognition for attosecond physics as a field of research. Anne L’Huillier started her research in the field which eventually became “attosecond physics” back in 1987 in France.
  “At the time, this was a very narrow field. It has grown over the years, and even when we thought we had discovered what could be discovered, progress was made and new exciting ideas emerged. For me as a researcher, it’s a privilege to have been in the same field for so long and to have seen the understanding, the technology, and the applications evolve – I think I’ve been very lucky in my choice of research topic.”
  When asked what guided her choice, and what it is that is so enjoyable about attophysics in particular, she doesn’t hesitate at all:
  “First of all, it’s experimental and we work with state-of-the-art lasers and instrumentation, technically speaking. But at the same time, it’s incredibly fun, purely theoretically! In this field, it is possible to combine theory and experiment, atoms and quantum physics with light and optics.”
Photo montage of Ukrainian flag and laboratory interior.
Global research groups support Ukraine
NanoLund research groups are among those supporting Ukrainian scientists by matching a list of available positions to a list of available, displaced Ukrainian scientists at all career levels. Thousands of research groups are already offering support to Ukrainian scholars.
Photo collage of Jenny Rissler and carbon nanostructure. 640x640transp
640x640transp Higher heat helps carbon nanotubes decompose
640x640transp Carbon nanotubes used as additives to polymers do not necessarily degrade under normal conditions in waste incineration plants. However, a new study shows that carbon nanotubes used as additives to polymers – to make materials lighter, stronger, and electrically conductive – will be destructed if the temperature is increased, or the residence time in the flue gas is extended.

Photo of small electronic device.
Nanowire transistor with integrated memory enables the supercomputers of the future
A long-standing bottleneck in technology development has been how to make processors and memories work faster together. Now, researchers in Lund have presented a new solution in which a memory cell is integrated with the processor, so that calculations can be performed much faster as they take place inside the memory circuit itself. 
640x640transp Photo of Stanley Heinze. And an insect – a silver fish.
ERC Consolidator Grant
to insect brain mapping
Why does an ant decide to wander into your house instead of exploring your garden? NanoLundian Stanley Heinze gets an ERC Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council, for creating a deeper understanding of the insect brain.
Photo of Veronica Lattanzi and laboratory equipment. 1x1
New knowledge of harmful protein fights Alzheimer’s

Using X-ray and neutron scattering, Veronica Lattanzi and her team have mapped the fibril structure of the beta-amyloid 42 protein that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease – important knowledge in the search for effective drugs.

Illustration of quantum physics experiment.
Moments of silence points
towards better superconductors

Superconductors are a cornerstone of quantum computers and particle detectors, among other things. However, a common problem is that their efficiency is degraded by various interferences. Now, Ville Maisi, Peter Samuelsson, and their research team have come one step closer to explaining what is happening through high-precision measurements. The results are now being published in Nature Physics.
  “If you could take advantage of the periods of silence and avoid the interference, you could cherry-pick and run an almost perfect quantum computer,” says Peter Samuelsson.
Illustration of virus and statistic diagram. 1x1
Mathematical model useful
in pandemic planning

Using a mathematical model, researchers have been able to link confirmed covid-19 cases with intensive care admissions and deaths. The model, which allows prediction and planning of health care burden, could be valuable during the current pandemic as well as in future epidemics.
  “Our study provides a clear picture of the pandemic’s evolution. This very simple model makes it possible to estimate mortality and how it is affected by the vaccination program”, says Andreas Wacker, Professor of Mathematical Physics and Principal investigator at NanoLund.

Photo of Tönu Pullerits and Kaibo Zheng by the laser spectroscopy setup used in the study. Photo: Pavel Chabera
Breakthrough in converting CO2
into fuel using solar energy

Solar power can convert carbon dioxide into fuel, by using advanced materials and ultra-fast laser spectroscopy. The breakthrough could be an important piece of the puzzle in reducing the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in the future. 
  “The study uses a combination of materials that absorb sunlight and use its energy to convert carbon dioxide. With the help of ultra-fast laser spectroscopy, we have mapped exactly what happens in that process”, says Tönu Pullerits, a chemistry researcher at Lund University and a PI at NanoLund.
Hematopoietic stem cell. 1x1
How nanotubes can increase
the number of blood stem cells

A multidisciplinary research team has innovatively tackled what has long been a major problem in stem cell research. The project has now been awarded a Proof of Concept grant from the European Research Council, ERC.
  Jonas Larsson, Professor of Molecular Medicine, and his research colleague Ludwig Schmiderer, together with Martin Hjort, a researcher at NanoLund, have developed the method of using nanotechnology to propagate blood stem cells for stem cell transplantation.
  “We have built a carpet of microscopic nanotubes. When the blood stem cell lands on the mat, the tubes form a channel through the cell surface, where the molecules we want to add to the cell can enter”, explains Martin Hjort.
Photo from the research portal Lucris.
Recent articles from NanoLund researchers
Engaging more than 50 research groups in the faculties of engineering, science, and medicine, NanoLund is a strategic research area funded by the Swedish Government and Sweden’s largest research environment for nanoscience and nanotechnology.

We contribute to societal and sustainability challenges, for example in health and clean energy, using the tools of nanoscience and nanotechnology. To this end, our research topics range from materials science and quantum physics to applications in energy, electronics, photonics, personalized medicine, and nanosafety. In the research portal, our recent scientific articles from NanoLund researchers are found – most recent articles on tops.

640x640transp Photo collage of cells and Peter Jönsson.
Awarded for studies
on cell communication
Peter Jönsson, senior lecturer at the Department of Chemistry and affiliated to NanoLund, is awarded this year's prize from the Sven and Ebba-Christina Hagberg Foundation for his studies of protein-protein interactions on cell surfaces that control communication between cells.
Photo from a workshop at NanoLund.
“Doing research
– a bumpy road”

In February, postdoc Stephanie Matern arranged a very appreciated workshop where Ph.D. students and postdocs got the chance to reflect, share and discuss experiences from the, usually far from straight, road as an early researcher.

Around 25 people gathered for a discussion on the topic of stress, work environment, motivation, (mental) wellbeing, and challenges throughout the journey as a junior scientist. The participants also enjoyed Swedish fika and an afterwork. 
Logotype of Aligned Bio
Aligned Bio gets funding
for detection of biomarkers

The European Innovation Council Accelerator has awarded the NanoLund spin-off company Aligned Bio €2.3 million in funding, with the possibility of a further €2.3 million in venture capital. This is to accelerate the company’s investment in the detection of biomarkers at the molecular level using the patented Aerotaxy nanowire production process. This spring, the company is expected to close a new share issue of a further SEK 50–60 million.
  “It was a long process that started with a written pitch, then a video pitch followed by a written application of 100 pages. Then 1.5 hours of hearings by a jury panel of experts. It’s been a lot of work, but now of course it feels worth it, says Aligned Bio’s CEO Erik Smith to the news agency Rapidus.

Photo of Lars-Erik Wernersson and a data chip. 1x1
“Sweden can contribute to future semiconductor technologies”

In Lund, you can find world-leading research in circuit design, new materials, and algorithms that utilize the properties of semiconductor components. Also, strong infrastructure for basic research and new innovations, together with close cooperation with industry. This means an opportunity to be an important part of the ambition to make Sweden a nation at the forefront of developing the next generation of semiconductor technologies.
  “Circuit design has long been an area in which Lund excels, especially in mobile telephony and telecom, with Bluetooth being the most classic example. There is also robust research on new materials, such as alternatives and complements to silicon which is most common today. The combination and integration of different technologies are becoming increasingly important and heterogeneous integration is an opportunity to add functions such as optoelectronics or sensors, in addition to the regular scaling of transistors. The region is an international player and Lund University is the hub,” says Lars-Erik Wernersson, professor of Nanoelectronics at Lund University’s Faculty of Engineering.
Photo of two men in industrial research area.
Unique collaboration model
for a sustainable production industry

Martin Adell, Technology Platform Manager at Tetra Pak, and Axel Knutsson, Materials Specialist at Alfa Laval both took part in the close collaboration between researchers in sustainable production and materials engineering and researchers at NanoLund.
  These were the next steps taken in the research collaboration initiated in 2020. In addition to Alfa Laval, Sandvik Materials Technology, Tetra Pak, Thermo-Calc Software and researchers at Lund University took part. The laboratory experiments carried out at MAX IV focused on how oxide reacts to corrosive salty mediums. The conditions that metals are exposed to in various industrial processes were simulated to gain a better understanding of corrosion. Results will be used in Alfa Laval’s development work to produce more efficient materials and processes.
Photo of perovskit nanotubes looking like star war laser swords.
Annual Meeting 2022
Next year’s NanoLund Annual Meeting will take place in Lund, on October 11. The theme is decided: Materials. The picture above of Star Wars-style luminescence of perovskite microwires with a variable bandgap, was brought to you by Ivan Scheblykin, Aboma Merdasa, and Ernesto Joselevich.

EuroNanoForum 2023
Next year, it’s time for Sweden's Presidency of the Council of the European Union. This means (among a lot of other things) that Sweden, most likely in June 2023, will organize and host EuroNanoForum – the event that gathers the European Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials community.  

The NanoLund Colloquia
Do not miss out on these NanoScience Colloquia:

May 24: Prof. Esther Alarcon Llado, hosted by Magnus Borgström.
June 2: Prof. Séverine le Gac hosted by Christelle Prinz.

Did we miss anything?
Do you have a story, a discovery or an event we should include in our newsletter? We are curious to know – please write to us.
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