FOM 'Projectruimte' grants for UvA physicists
The Foundation FOM has awarded 'Projectruimte' grants to three researchers Dr Katerina Dohnalová, Prof. Eric Laenen and Dr Marcel Vreeswijk of the UvA's Institute of Physics.
About the projects
Indirect-to-direct bandgap conversion in surface engineered Si and Ge nanostructures (Katerina Dohnalová, UvA Institute of Physics):
Si and Ge are essential materials for the microelectronics, photodetector and photovoltaic industries. Unfortunately, both materials in bulk have a so-called indirect bandgap, resulting in poor emission and a weak absorption onset. This is a major technological barrier for the use of Si and Ge as light emitters in optoelectronics and photonics; specifically the Si laser, which is the last missing key device blocking effective finalizing of the next generation computer architecture – the optical computer with an all-Si integrated photonics chip. One of the possible solutions to this issue would be the development of a direct bandgap variant of the Si and Ge materials. We have demonstrated direct bandgap Si material theoretically and experimentally by combining quantum confinement and surface engineered electrostatic potential in Si nanocrystals. In this project, we will resolve the remaining issues (the role of strain and surface defects), theoretically design the ideal system, synthesize it and experimentally analyze the footprints of the direct bandgap formation in the optical and electronic properties of single Si nanocrystals.
Top Spin (Eric Laenen and Marcel Vreeswijk, UvA Institute of Physics and Nikhef):
In this proposal we stress-test the Standard Model to find new physics, using the spin of the top quark. It combines a very accurate measurement of spin-dependent top quark decay patterns using new LHC run 2 data from the ATLAS detector with state-of-the-art theory predictions including higher order corrections due to quantumchromodynamics, to reliably identify small deviations from the Standard Model. We will use the single-top quark production process, which provides a spin-polarised sample of top quarks. We should also be sensitive to new processes that violate the symmetry between matter and antimatter. The outcome of our test, whatever it will be, should be highly interesting.
The Projectruimte is one of the grant instruments that FOM has to fund physics research. The Projectruimte makes it possible to realise small-scale projects of fundamental research with an innovative character and a demonstrable scientific, industrial or societal urgency.
The Executive Board of the FOM Foundation decided to award nine proposals in the FOM-Projectruimte. A total of 3.3 million euros has been awarded to the projects.