Annemarie Huijser and Pantelis Bampoulis both receive an ENW-M grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Huijser's research focuses on the interface of chemistry and physics and is carried out in collaboration with Andrea Baldi of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Bampoulis will develop a pioneering transistor made of germanene that loses less energy in the form of heat.
The impact of CO2 on the climate is enormous, but there are still few efficient ways to use CO2 as a useful building material for fuels, for example, so that we become less dependent on fossil fuels. In her research, Huijser aims to use the combination of light and metal nanoparticles to convert CO2 into useful molecules.
Light as a catalyst
The highly competitive ENW-M grants are specifically designed to fund innovative, fundamental and curiosity-driven research. Huijser's research takes a step towards a sustainable chemical industry and contributes to finding solutions to pressing scientific challenges. Her research focuses on developing new materials for efficient and selective conversion of CO2, and developing a fundamental understanding of the individual reaction steps and how to control them.
CO2 can adhere to metal nanoparticles, reducing the energy required to convert CO2 into other molecules. Illuminating these colourful nanoparticles, typically based on silver or copper, can enhance this effect and make it possible to control the chemical reaction of CO2 in a desired product. The research will study how individual reaction steps can be activated and controlled with light, using advanced spectroscopy and microscopy methods.
With all our digital devices, we use trillions of transistors and thus energy. But all these transistors lose a lot of energy in the form of heat. It is one of the reasons why your phone gets hot over time. This is all wasted energy, which is why Bampoulis is going to develop a transistor that produces less heat. With this, you can make electronic devices that use much less energy.
To do this, Bampoulis uses the material germanene. This is a two-dimensional material made of germanium. Earlier, Bampoulis showed that germanene is a topological insulator. That is a material where electricity can flow along its edges without losing energy. He then managed to turn the conductive properties of the material ‘on’ and ‘off', a property that is also needed for transistors.
Dr Annemarie Huijser is associate professor in the Photocatalytic Synthesis research group (PCS; Faculty of S&T) at the University of Twente. She conducts fundamental research on innovative materials for photocatalytic reactions and is the recipient of ENW-M-2 funding together with Dr Andrea Baldi from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.
Dr Pantelis Bampoulis is associate professor in the Physics of Interfaces and Nanomaterials research group (PIN; Faculty of TNW / MESA+). He is also one of UT's featured scientists. He receives the ENW-M-1 funding.
An ENW-M-2 grant amounts to a maximum of EUR 700,000 and has one principal applicant and one co-applicant with complementary expertise. The funding must be used for two PhD positions combined with a material budget, possibly a small investment and/or non-scientific support.
ENW-M-1 funding amounts to a maximum of EUR 350,000 and has one principal applicant and no co-applicants. The funding must be used for one scientific position in combination with a material budget, possibly a small investment and/or non-scientific support.