NTNU Nano

NTNU Nano

In the NTNU NanoLab. Photo

The study, manipulation and exploitation of nanostructured materials and devices lies at the heart of modern science and technology. NTNU – the Norwegian University of Science and Technology – is home to the largest centre for nanoscience and nanotechnology in Norway. Read on to discover some of the ways in which nano-related education and research at NTNU is creating knowledge for a better world.

News

News

 

 

Photo Jan Torgersen
Jan Torgersen, photo:
Thor Nielsen/NTNU

The European Research Council (ERC) provides start-up support for promising scientific projects. Through this scheme, associate professor Jan Torgersen and his collaborators have received a starting grant of 1,5 million euros for the project ELECTRODE.

The project will run for five years and address problems related to limitations on mass transport in fuel cells, using 3D printers to create porous photopolymer structures that are completely defined by a computer model.

Read more about Jan Torgersen’s research at Gemini.no

Hanna Gautun, September 2020

Living with diabetes often means having to prick your finger to test blood glucose levels several times a day.

That’s why a group of researchers in Trondheim are working on creating an “artificial pancreas” to take over this responsibility. The work is still in its early stages, but the ultimate aim is for the device to automatically measure glucose levels, and administer insulin according to the results, doing away with regular manual testing.

“We would [measure] the glucose levels every few minutes, so almost continuously,” says Karolina Milenko, a research fellow at NTNU's Department of Electronic Systems and a member of the Artificial Pancreas Trondheim research group, who is working on developing a tiny, implantable blood-glucose sensor for the device. “Then we would have an insulin pump that would be connected with the sensor, allowing the pump to administer insulin accordingly.”

Some people with diabetes already have a pump that delivers a background level of insulin automatically, which they can top up manually when they need to. And some already use a device to measure blood glucose that sits just underneath their skin. These devices, which allow for either continuous or on-demand monitoring, measure the amount of glucose in the fluid that surrounds the body’s cells, and still need calibrating with a finger prick test occasionally.

But an artificial pancreas – which won’t resemble a real pancreas in appearance, but will mimic its role – could combine these two functions, measuring glucose levels continuously and releasing insulin as needed. This would help people with diabetes to keep their blood sugar levels stable, something which is important for both short and long-term health.

Photo: ​  Microscopic image of the sensor probe configuration ​
Microscopic image of the sensor probe configuration

In a recent paper published in Optics Letters, Milenko and her colleagues detail a sensor that could one day measure blood glucose levels. It uses two optical fibres, each 220 microns in diameter: one to send light through the test liquid to a enhancement layer, which is made of a thin gold film over a layer of nano-spheres, and second fibre to collected the signal. The sensor can identify a signature in the signal which is unique to the molecule it is designed to measure. A method called surface-enhanced Raman scattering amplifies the signal and makes it possible to see even small amounts of the molecule.

So far Milenko and her colleagues have tested the sensor by measuring the concentration of a dye, but the next step is to move on to measuring glucose itself. “Glucose is actually really difficult to measure in the levels that they are in the body, because of its very low concentration,” says Milenko. Despite the challenges, she says preliminary experiments the group have yet to publish suggest that the sensor can in fact pick up glucose.

For the next step in their research, the team are using hollow fibres, created by researchers at the University of Bath, in the sensor. The idea is that, because the hollow fibres have more favourable optical properties they should provide better sensitivity to glucose.

Milenko hopes the eventual artificial pancreas will be able to respond to changes in blood-glucose levels quicker than existing devices that go under the skin, because it will be placed in a part of the abdomen called the peritoneal cavity. “There is some research showing that the glucose levels, if you measure them in the peritoneal cavity, will have a faster response,” she says.

Continuous monitoring would also be an advantage of the device, because the on-demand testing many people use now doesn’t give them the complete picture of their blood sugar levels. “Even if you do it many times per day, you still might miss the times in a day where your glucose is too high or too low, for example, when you are sleeping, or when you're doing some activities, and you're not able to measure that specific moment,” says Milenko.

It will still be a number of years before the team has a fully functioning device – but for many people with diabetes, it will hopefully have been worth the wait.

Kelly Oakes, August 2020

We are pleased to announce that the NTNU Nano “Impact Fund” is being expanded to include funding of up to 100,000 NOK. The fund supports a wide range of activities that are likely to raise the visibility and impact of NTNU’s work in the area of nanoscience, nanotechnology and functional materials.

Applications of 20,000 NOK or less will be handled in the same way as before via a short online form, and will be considered on a competitive basis at the start of every month. We are prepared to consider any reasonable request for funding that is likely to improve the impact of nanoscience at NTNU. However, potential uses of the fund include production costs for cover articles in high-impact journals, photography or graphical artwork for publicity materials, public communication activities, the development of prototypes, and support for networking and workshops. Unfortunately, we are not able to subsidise conference attendance.

Funding requests above 20,000 NOK will be handled by a separate online form, and will be restricted to applications that aim to produce a tangible product, e.g. databases, software code and demonstrator devices. Preference will be given to ‘open’ projects that release software or hardware into the public domain on a royalty-free basis. Decisions will be made within two months of receiving the application.

Financial support from NTNU Nano should be acknowledged in any resulting publications or presentations.

(Hanna Gautun/NTNU Nano, June, 2020)

Photo of Vishwesh Venatraman
Vishwesh Venkatraman. Photo Per Henning/NTNU

Materials science is traditionally a hands-on area of research. But Vishwesh Venkatraman, a researcher in the department of chemistry at NTNU, and his colleagues are investigating new materials from behind a computer screen.

Venkatraman got started in this area when he first came to NTNU and was working on a project to design a molecule from scratch. “You assemble the atoms and bonds and in a way that seems logically possible and at the same time synthetically feasible,” he says.

But the next step – figuring out the properties of these molecules – traditionally involves complex quantum mechanical modelling, making it extremely time-consuming. Any given molecule made up of more than 10 to 12 heavy atoms would typically need 10 to 12 hours of computer time to test, says Venkatraman. “This becomes a stumbling block,” he says. “If you have a million structures to assess, you can't actually wait for 12 hours for every computation.”

So he’s turned to data science instead. By creating a computational model using machine learning instead of quantum mechanics to predict a property of interest – whether that’s the refractive index of a polymer or the conductivity of a liquid – Venkatraman and his colleagues can cut the time needed to assess each molecule down from hours to just seconds.

Researchers can use this kind of machine learning in many different applications. In recent work, Venkatraman has investigated how dyes are affected when they’re applied to a layer of metal oxide, as happens in the manufacture of some kinds of solar cells. “When the dye is deposited on the metal oxide, it actually undergoes a change in its absorption spectrum,” he says, either shifting more towards the ultraviolet or infrared ends of the spectrum, known as a blue shift or a red shift respectively. This change affects how well the dye does its job of harvesting solar radiation, so it’s important for researchers to be able to predict what will happen after deposition.

“The challenge here was, can we predict, just from the structure of the dye, whether it’s going to have a blue shift or a red shift?” he says. He trained his model with a database of around two thousand dyes from the literature, and then used it to predict the behaviour of a further 700 experimentally-tested dyes. His machine learning model predicted that a majority would show a blue shift in agreement with experiments.

The model worked at around 80% accuracy, he says. It’s not intended to entirely replace the more laborious traditional methods of theoretically assessing materials. Instead, the idea is that you can use machine learning to narrow down the list of possibilities, and then do a more detailed analysis on the most promising candidates.

He’s also used machine learning to predict the properties of 8 million synthetically-feasible ionic liquids. Ionic liquids can be used in a variety of applications, from fuel cells to pharmaceuticals. But at the moment, finding new ones tends to require trial-and-error in the lab. By screening millions of candidates for several key properties using data-driven models, Venkatraman hopes to be able to give researchers looking for an ionic liquid with a particular melting point or viscosity, say, a head start.

One of the biggest challenges for Venkatraman and others in this emerging specialism is getting enough good data on the materials he wants to investigate. Rather than working from fundamental principles, machine learning models rely on the data they are given to come to their conclusions. “The machine learning is only as good as the data that you provide it,” he says.

But the situation is getting better, and more people are starting to adopt these methods. “There's a lot more information on materials now than even 10 years ago,” he says.

Kelly Oakes, June 2020

The four winners of the 2020 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience were announced yesterday as Harald Rose, Max Haider, Ondrej Krivanek and Knut Urban for "realising sub-Ångstrøm imaging and chemical analysis in transmission electron microscopy (TEM) using aberration correction." In simple terms, their work makes it possible to “see” atoms.

Due to the corona situation, the laureates will receive their medals together with the Kavli laureates in September 2022, before visiting Trondheim to give their prize lectures at NTNU.
 
You can read more about the Kavli Prizes, the laureates and Electron Microscopy here.

The Rector of NTNU has allocated two PhD-positions in each of the following areas: (i) biotechnology, (ii) nanotechnology, nanoscience and functional materials, and (iii) information and communication technology. The positions will be allocated to highly innovative projects that have clear potential to contribute to NTNU’s ambition of substantially increasing the number of major national and international research grants, in particular ERC (European Research Council) and FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) grants.

Scientific staff at NTNU are invited to submit research proposals by completing an online application form.
 
Read more about the announcement here (the link is accessible to NTNU staff only).
 
Application deadline January 30, 2020.

The European Conference on Applications of Polar Dielectrics (ECAPD) will be held at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway, from June 14th to 17th, 2020.
 

We are looking forward to an exciting meeting and a vivid scientific exchange and hope that you will be able to join us in June 2020.

Please forward this information to colleagues and friends, and help us spreading the news through your network to ensure that we will have an enjoyable and fruitful conference. For additional information, please refer to the conference webpage (www.ntnu.edu/ecapd2020/), where you can find further details and the list of confirmed plenary and invited speakers.

Deadline for abstract submission is March 15th, 2020.

We are looking forward to welcoming you in Trondheim.
 

The ECAPD Organizing Committee

  • John De Mello
  • Mari-Ann Einarsrud
  • Julia Glaum
  • Tor Grande
  • Dennis Meier
  • Sverre Selbach
  • Thomas Tybell

ERC Consolidator Grants are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they may still be consolidating their own independent research team or programme. The applicant's planned research must have a ground-breaking nature, high ambitions as well as feasibility.

Photo of the Dean of the NV faculty congratulating Dennis Meier. Photo: Per Henning/NTNU

Dean Øyvind Gregersen congratulating Dennis Meier. – Receiving a grant like this is a great achievement. We look forward to see what Dennis and his research group will accomplish and how it will inspire those around them, says the Dean. Photo: Per Henning / NTNU.

The research grant amounts to just over 1,8 million euros over five years, and will be used for a project Dennis Meier calls "Atronics". The name comes from "Creating building blocks for atomic-scale electronics". The money from the EU will make it possible to add five new positions to the ten researchers who are already working with Meier

With the Atronics project, Dennis and his team will imitate the behavior and functionality of ultra-small electronic components. The research will give new knowledge in physics, and could lead to major breakthroughs in electronics. If the team succeeds, it can lead to much faster networks, and computers that barely use electricity.

Read more about Dennis Meier's research at Gemini.no

The work of Dennis and his colleagues is interdisciplinary, and is, among others a collaboration between the Department of Materials Science and Engineering collaborates the Department of Physics and the SFF Center for Quantum Spintronics (QuSpin).

(Pernille Feilberg, December, 2019)

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new “Impact Fund”, which will contribute funds of up to 20,000 NOK for activities to raise the visibility and impact of NTNU’s work in the area of nanoscience, nanotechnology and functional materials.

The scope of the Fund is not restricted, and we are prepared to consider any reasonable request for funding that is likely to improve the impact of nanoscience at NTNU. However, potential uses of the fund include production costs for cover articles in high-impact journals, photography or graphical artwork for publicity materials, public communication activities, the development of prototypes, and support for networking and workshops.

Applications should be made via a short online form and will be considered on a competitive basis at the start of every month. In exceptional circumstances, it is possible to apply for more than 20,000 NOK, but priority will be given to requests below this level. Financial support from NTNU Nano should be acknowledged in any resulting publications or presentations.

(Hanna Gautun/NTNU Nano, December, 2019)

Photo of Professor Asle Sudbø

Professor Asle Sudbø at the Department of Physics has been named Fellow of the American Physical Society. Professor Sudbø is honored for his contribution in research that will contribute to the development of future information technology.

The American Physical Society (APS) is one of the world's largest organization of physicists.
The APS Fellowship Program recognizes members who have made exceptional contributions to research results in physics research, important applications in physics, management within or work in physics, or special contributions to physics education.

Professor Sudbø was nominated to be an APS Fellow "for pioneering contributions to the theory of vortex matter in highly fluctuating superconductors, super fluids and multi-component condensates".

Information technology of the future

Sudbø's research could have applications in future green information technology. This is one of the overarching research topics in the Center for Outstanding Research Quantum Spintronics (QuSpin), where Sudbø is one of four main researchers.

Sudbø is currently researching, among other things, new types of superconductors, where the connection between the electron's charge and the spin is important. In superconductors there are important conditions called vortexes, which can be viewed as a number of tornadoes (at the quantum level) of exactly the same strength.

The vortex conditions of these new materials can be manipulated by an electric field, and can provide completely new and more useful properties than before. Among other things, they could conceivably be used as qubits: elementary operating parts in quantum computers.

Prestigious award

Each year, less than half a percent of APS members are recognized by their fellow colleagues and nominated for the "Fellow of the American Physical Society".

Being named Fellow of the American Physical Society is a prestigious award, which also illustrates Sudbø's important contributions to research at the QuSpin research center, says Tor Grande, vice-dean of research at the Faculty of Science.

Pernille Feilberg / NTNU, September 2019

Nano Impact Fund

Nano Impact Fund

NTNU Nano offers support to researchers at NTNU for a wide range of activities that are likely to raise the visibility and impact of NTNU’s work in the area of nanoscience, nanotechnology and functional materials. 

Two levels of support may be applied for: Standard Funding and Enhanced Funding.

Nano Impact Funds

The scope of the Fund is broad, and we are prepared to consider any reasonable request for funding that is likely to improve the impact of nanoscience at NTNU. However, potential uses of the fund include production costs for cover articles in high-impact journals, photography or graphical artwork for publicity materials, public communication activities, the development of prototypes, and support for networking and workshops. Please note, due to limited funds, we are unable to provide support to attend external conferences.

Applications to the Standard Fund should be made via this electronic form, and will be considered on a competitive basis at the start of every month. Applications should be submitted by the first Friday of each month to be considered in that month. In exceptional circumstances, it is possible to apply for more than 20,000 NOK, but priority will be given to requests below this level.

Financial support from NTNU Nano should be acknowledged in any resulting publications or presentations.

The Enhanced Fund is restricted to applications that will produce a tangible product, e.g. databases, software or devices. Preference will be given to ‘open’ projects that release software or hardware into the public domain on a royalty-free basis. Applications that fall outside the remit of the Enhanced Fund should be directed to the Standard Impact Fund.

Applications to the Enhanced Fund should be made via this electronic form, and will be considered on a competitive basis within two months of receiving the application. 

Financial support from NTNU Nano should be acknowledged in any resulting publications or presentations.

Upcoming events

Upcoming events

The trial lecture and public defense will be implemented with an online-based solution by using a two-way communication channel with sound and image (Zoom). Anyone interested can attend by following the link given below.

Public trial lecture:

Time: September 18, 2020 at 10.15

Place: Zoom meeting: https://s.ntnu.no/adrianlervik

Prescribed subject: “In situ measurements of ferroic properties in the transmission electron microscope”


Public defense of the thesis:

Time: September 18, 2020 at 13.15

Place: Zoom meeting: https://s.ntnu.no/adrianlervik

Supervisors

The doctoral work has been carried out at the Department of Physics, where Professor Randi Holmestad has been the candidate’s supervisor. Dr John Charles Walmsley has been the candidate’s co-supervisor.

The trial lecture and public defense will be implemented with an online-based solution by using a two-way communication channel with sound and image (Zoom). Anyone interested can attend by following the link that will be provided here before the defense date.

Public trial lecture

Time: September 18, at 10.15

Place: Zoom meeting: Link will be provided later.

Prescribed subject: ” A popular introduction into Skyrmion physics”



Public defense of the thesis

Time: September 18, at 13.15

Place: Zoom meeting: Link will be provided later.

Supervisors

The doctoral work has been carried out at the Department of Physics where Professor Erik Wahlström has been the candidate’s supervisor. Professor Per Thomas Martin Tybell has been the candidate’s co-supervisor.

The trial lecture and public defense will be implemented with an online-based solution by using a two-way communication channel with sound and image (Zoom). Anyone interested can attend by following the link that will be provided here before the defense date.

Public trial lecture

Time: September 18, at 10.15

Place: Zoom meeting: Link will be provided later.

Prescribed subject: “Quantum supremacy using cross-entropy benchmarking”



Public defense of the thesis

Time: September 18, at 13.15

Place: Zoom meeting: Link will be provided later.

Supervisors

The doctoral work has been carried out at the Department of Physics where Professor Jeroen Danon has been the candidate’s supervisor. Professor Jacob Linder has been the candidate’s co-supervisor.

The trial lecture and public defense will be implemented with an online-based solution by using a two-way communication channel with sound and image (Zoom). Anyone interested can attend by following the link that will be provided here before the defense date.

Please contact elin.s.kaasen@ntnu.no if you want a pdf version of the thesis.

Public trial lecture

Time: September 22, at 10.15

Place: Zoom meeting

Prescribed subject: “Applications of infrared spectroscopy in electrochemistry”

Public defense of the thesis

Time: September 22, at 13.15

Place: Zoom meeting

Supervisors

The doctoral work has been carried out at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, where Professor Svein Sunde has been the candidate’s supervisor. Professor Frode Seland at Department of Materials Science and Engineering and Senior Research Scientist Alejandro Oyarce Barnett, SINTEF Industry has been the candidate’s co-supervisors.

The trial lecture and public defense will be implemented with an online-based solution by using a two-way communication channel with sound and image (Zoom). Anyone interested can attend by following the link that will be provided here before the defense date.

Please contact lise.skorstad@ntnu.no if you want a pdf version of the thesis.

Public trial lecture

Time: September 25, at 10.15

Place: Zoom meeting: Link will be provided later.

Prescribed subject: “ Hemicellulose: extraction, structure, and applications”

Public defense of the thesis

Time: September 25, at 13.15

Place: Zoom meeting: Link will be provided later.

Supervisors

The doctoral work has been carried out at the Department of Chemical Engineering, where Professor Kristin Syverud has been the candidate’s supervisor. Scientist Sebastien Charles Simon has been the candidate’s co-supervisor.

NTNU Nano Twitter

Annual reports

Annual reports

Read about research, events and infrastructures related to nanoscience and nanotechnology at NTNU.

Study program

Research areas

Research areas