EUR 2.3 million to young researchers

Thursday 23 Nov 17


Kaibo Zheng
Senior Researcher
DTU Chemistry


Søren Raza
Associate Professor
DTU Physics
+45 26 99 99 14
Three researchers receive a total of EUR 2.3 million (DKK 17.4 million) from Independent Research Fund Denmark for research at DTU.

This year, Independent Research Fund Denmark will be awarding a total of DKK 165 million to 29 excellent young researchers with original ideas and strong research manager ambitions.
The grants will be awarded in connection with the fund’s annual Sapere Aude grant ceremony: DFF Starting Grants

Three of the grants totalling DKK 17.4 million go to young DTU researchers:


Photo: Tariq Mikkel Khan/Danmarks Frie Forskningsfond

Jonatan Bohr Brask will...

...focus on the interaction between two fundamental physical theories—quantum mechanics and thermodynamics—with a view to achieving a deeper understanding of thermal processes at the quantum scale and developing new methods within information technology and precision temperature measurements. The science of thermodynamics dates back to the industrial revolution, where it was used to describe steam engines and other large machinery. Quite the opposite applies to quantum mechanics, which is about understanding phenomena at an extremely small scale. Thermal processes behave differently at the quantum scale, but how they differ has yet to be described in full.

At DTU Physics, Jonatan Bohr Brask will develop a theory for quantum thermodynamics and examine the perspectives for new technologies—for example within IT for secure communication, measurements within biology, chemistry, and electronics as well as for medical science research and the development of new medicines.

Grant: EUR 790,000 (DKK 5,903,491)


Photo: Tariq Mikkel Khan/Danmarks Frie Forskningsfond 

Kaibo Zheng will... quantum dots—which are tiny semiconductor nanocrystals having the potential to be used in solar cells as they are far better at absorbing the sun’s energy than the existing standard silicon materials. However, it is difficult to convert solar energy into electrical energy due to the properties of the quantum dots, which mean that solar cells based on quantum dots can only achieve an efficiency of 11 per cent against 33 per cent for those based on silicon.

At DTU Chemistry, Kaibo Zheng will therefore add metallic elements to his quantum dots and in this way overcome the limitation and more efficiently convert solar energy into electricity. It is hoped that the research will improve the properties of the quantum dots so much that solar cells based on quantum dots become competitive, and that solar cells will therefore play an even bigger role as energy solution.

Grant: EUR 790,000 (DKK 5,901,253)

Photo: Tariq Mikkel Khan/Danmarks Frie Forskningsfond


Søren Raza will... to control the light by using special nanostructured surfaces—so-called metasurfaces—consisting of nanoantennas arranged in a well thought-out pattern, and which have the unique property that they can manipulate all the properties of light, e.g. direction or polarization. The surfaces are extremely thin (a few hundred nanometres—a piece of paper or a human hair has a thickness of around 100,000 nanometres), which means that they are well-suited to be integrated in electrical components such as smartphones or TVs. But the existing metasurfaces can only have one function at a time, and it must be determined in advance.

At DTU Nanotech, Søren Raza will therefore develop a new generation of metasurfaces, which can be re-configured after they have been produced and may be used in future photonic technologies. They can, for example, make the light from monitors more comfortable (less blue light), or you can make colour-changing foils to be applied to walls instead of paint. They can also make it possible to incorporate augmented reality functions in ordinary glasses or develop holograms without the need for large equipment.

Grant: EUR 744,000 (DKK 5,556,892)

Photos: Tariq Mikkel Khan/Independent Research Fund Denmark

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