UTFacultiesETNewsERC Proof of Concept for David Marpaung and Sarthak Misra

ERC Proof of Concept for David Marpaung and Sarthak Misra

Two UT researchers have received a Proof of Concept grant from the European Research Council (ERC). David Marpaung and Sarthak Misra will receive 150,000 euros to establish proof of concept of an idea that was generated in the course of their ERC-funded projects.

David Marpaung: Veritas

David Marpaung

With the ERC Proof of Concept Grant, David Marpaung, who is a full professor in the Nonlinear Nanophotonics group of the TNW Faculty, and his team will follow-up on David’s earlier work for which he received an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2022.

A dedicated team of researchers, comprising two senior PhD students, Kaixuan Ye and Yvan Klaver, along with postdoc Dr. Akhileshwar Mishra, is spearheading a project focused on pathfinding technology for system-level integrated optics. The venture extends its scope to the development of a versatile reconfigurable light source, leveraging recent patents and pushing boundaries.

The team: Kaixuan Ye, Yvan Klaver, Akhil Mishra and David Marpaung

This initiative has garnered substantial interest from industrial partners across diverse sectors, including communications, sensing, computing, and security. Noteworthy collaborators include Chilas BV, LioniX International, iPronics (Spain), Enlightra (Switzerland), Thales Research and Technology (France), and Leonardo (UK).

Envisioning significant potential, we anticipate this project evolving into a spin-off, producing high-quality on-chip frequency combs. The current market for this technology is substantial and on an upward trajectory. Our expectations are buoyed by the belief that Veritas will underscore the feasibility of this technology, paving the way for software-defined reconfigurable front-ends in very high frequency and size/weight-sensitive RF applications.

David Marpaung on the grant: “The devices are already interesting from the physics point of view trying to control a complex system but this grant will enable us to truly develop this idea into a working device and properly layout a road for a spin-off.”

Sarthak Misra: APOLLO

Sarthak Misra

This ERC Proof of Concept grant marks Sarthak Misra's fifth accolade from the European Research Council, underscoring his dedication to advancing medical technology. Titled "APOLLO – Advanced Magnetic Probes for Minimally Invasive Endovascular Surgery," the grant exemplifies Professor Misra's ongoing commitment as a full professor in Surgical Robotics in the ET Faculty. This project builds upon earlier work of Sarthak Misra, for which he awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant – MAESTRO.

Endovascular interventions, integral to minimally invasive surgery (MIS), empower precise treatment of cardiovascular diseases through nuanced incisions and flexible instrument mastery. However, existing instruments rely on large external magnetic fields, limiting remote control. APOLLO's pivotal objective is to design a clinical-grade flexible probe harnessing internally generated fields with meticulously optimized magnetic materials, aiming for unparalleled precision and maneuverability.

Photo: A prototypical continuum (snake-like) instrument, envisioned for potential deployment in endovascular surgeries, has been ingeniously devised at the Surgical Robotics Laboratory.

APOLLO addresses clinicians' needs, enhancing MIS efficiency and accessibility. Positioned as a clinical asset, it empowers meticulous interventions in anatomically challenging areas, elevating magnetic actuation to a commercially viable technology. The APOLLO-team at the Surgical Robotics Laboratory (SRL) will work closely with clinicians and Flux Robotics B.V., a spin-off of SRL, to bring the APOLLO-technology to life. Together, they aim to blend expertise and innovation, advancing medical capabilities at the forefront of their collaborative efforts.

Professor Misra expressed gratitude, stating, “Receiving a fifth ERC grant is recognition of dedication of our team at the SRL. APOLLO is a significant leap in endovascular surgery, offering unprecedented precision and accessibility, reaffirming the impact of our work globally.”

The APOLLO project strategically expands Professor Misra’s expertise in magnetically-driven robotics, leveraging advancements in soft magnetic probe development at macro- and micro-scales. His impressive repertoire includes a multitude of prestigious national and European grants, such as NWO VENI (2010) and VIDI (2015), along with ERC Starting (2014), Consolidator (2019), and Proof of Concept (2017 and 2020) grants. Groundbreaking research details at the SRL provide insight into flexible surgical robots and futuristic micro-/nano-robots.

About ERC Proof of Concept

Frontier research often generates radically new ideas that drive innovation and business inventiveness and tackle societal challenges. The ERC Proof of Concept grants aim at facilitating exploration of the commercial and social innovation potential of ERC funded research and are therefore available only to PIs whose proposals draw substantially on their ERC funded research. Work Programme 2024 will continue to award Proof of Concept grants on the basis of a lump sum of € 150,000 for a period of 18 months.

L.P.W. van der Velde MSc (Laurens)
Spokesperson Executive Board (EB)