University of Groningen: ERC Advanced Grants for three UG researchers

The European Research Council has awarded three ERC Advanced Grants to three UG researchers. Prof. Maria Antonietta Loi, Prof. Bart van Wees and Prof. Siewert-Jan Marrink can use this money to set up long-term and ground-breaking research projects.

The European Research Council (ERC) awards grants to excellent researchers to stimulate groundbreaking research in Europe. The Advanced Grants are meant for established academics with a track-record of significant research achievements. Advanced Grants may be awarded up to €2,5 million for a period of 5 years.

Maria Antonietta Loi creates materials with specific structures on the nanometer scale (a nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter). The nanostructure determines the properties of the material, and Loi’s work is aimed first to understand how this happens, and then to create specific nanostructures for desired applications.

Her work is in opto-electronics, the interaction of materials with light. She has worked on new types of solar cells, based on perovskites, which are materials that have a very specific crystal structure, or on quantum dots, which are clusters of around 1,000 atoms that behave like one giant super-atom. These materials can receive light and act as solar cells or sensors, or emit light and be used as light emitting diodes (led’s).

In her ERC work she will create metamaterials (i.e. designed materials that do not occur in nature) that can be tuned to receive or emit light at specific wavelengths for different applications. Loi will combine quantum dots and quantum wells based on perovskites. The final objective is to produce new infrared photodetectors and visible light emitting diodes of superior performance levels.