Solution-processed semiconductor thin-films have recently emerged as promising candidates for optoelectronic devices such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs), sensors and solar cells. One example is hybrid perovskite films that are processed inexpensively by crystallization from a solution and have the disruptive potential for efficient energy production and consumption. However, current crystallization methods from solution often result in uncontrolled film growth with ragged, degradation-prone grain boundaries. The lack of quality materials with large, controlled grains holds back solution-based semiconductors. The core hypothesis of LOCAL-HEAT is that controlling the fundamental crystallization kinetics of semiconductor films, when transitioning from the liquid precursor to the final solid-state, governs ultimate performance and long-term stability. This is key to creating materials that are: a) sustainable, b) stable and c) show highest performance. To achieve this challenging goal, I will control the crystallization kinetics of liquid multicomponent semiconductor inks by turning light into localized heat packages to cause confined supersaturation. This will induce seeds to crystallize the liquid precursor into high-quality films. Local heat will be realized by developing two methods: a) laser annealing by a tunable light pattern, projected on a liquid precursor film, and b) thermoplasmonic heating of plasmonic nanoparticles acting as antennas to turn incoming light into a localized heat nanobubble within a liquid ink. Achieving sustainable materials with highest quality crystallization will enable perovskite solar cells with performances >26% and stabilities of >30 years. Consequently, it will also revolutionize solution-processed semiconductors in general. LOCAL-HEAT will thus enable key technological applications in optoelectronics, e.g., solar cells, LEDs and scintillation detectors, and beyond.
Full quantum control of molecules has been an outstanding goal for decades. Cooling molecules provides a most promising answer to address this challenge. With recent progress in experimental quantum physics, such cooling is finally within reach. The aim of this project is to demonstrate the novel technique of molecular laser cooling for a gas of barium monofluoride molecules. Realizing a cold gas of these dipolar molecules will pave the way for a large number of novel and interdisciplinary applications ranging from few- and many-body physics to cold chemistry and tests of fundamental symmetries. The combination of this unique research project with the excellent environment for training, networking and research at the University of Stuttgart will ideally prepare the applicant, Dr. Tim Langen, for a future career as an independent research group leader.
Methods of pharmaceutical manufacturing are likely to change dramatically over the coming years. Driven by the knowledge and technology that is already available in other sectors, the processing of drugs into dosage units can be transformed into a “pharmacy-on-demand” process that allows individual dosing, based on criteria relevant for the effective use of the drug in an individual patient. One approach to achieve “pharmacy-on-demand” is the use of inkjet printing technology to deliver an exact dose of drugs on porous substrates. This proof-of-concept project is based on knowledge we acquired during my ERC AdG project on processes of printing on paper using inkjet printing. We will demonstrate the viability of "printing" highly accurate amounts of a solution containing levothyroxine, prescribed for hypothyroidism, onto a porous tablet. Modelling tools will be combined with cutting-edge characterization technologies to push the understanding of printed drug-containing inklike solutions in porous dosage unit matrices. This project will transfer pharmaceutical formulation and product design of individual dosage forms with the use of inkjet printing technique to the pharmaceutical community. They can work on clinical approval tests of the developed oral dosage forms and move these products toward clinical use. The patients will benefit directly from development of this production technique, because a much more effective and targeted medication can be provided. The next step will be the development of the inkjet printing technique for other personalized medicines such as pain killers for children, hormones, biomacromolecules, psychoactive and anticancer drugs. Individually-dosed medicines will allow for substantial decrease of drug waste and thus overall reduction of medical expenses.
Strongly interacting Fermi gases appear in nature from the smallest to the largest scales — from atomic nuclei to white dwarfs and neutron stars. However, they are notoriously difficult to model and understand theoretically. Emulating such Fermi systems with ultracold atoms has been highly successful in recent years, but the approach has been limited to short-range interactions of the van der Waals type. Longer-range interactions such as dipolar or atom–charge interactions would provide a significant enrichment of the accessible physics, including next-neighbour interactions in the Fermi–Hubbard Model, dipolar Fermi polarons, bilayer pair formation and superfluidity, and charged Fermi polaron formation and transport. We will tackle these challenging fundamental physics problems experimentally with two innovative quantum gas microscopy techniques suited for the detection of strong dipolar quantum correlations in lattices and bilayers and fermionic correlations around impurities and charges. The first technique is based on non-linear optical microscopy to study dipolar fermions on lattices and bilayers. The second technique is a newly developed and demonstrated pulsed ion microscope with unprecedented spatial (<200 nm) and temporal (<10 ns) resolution at 100 µm depth of field that will be extended to study impurities created in a bulk Fermi gas. The pulsed operation enables controlled studies of transport of charged polarons in a Fermi gas. This novel quantum gas microscope can resolve the dynamics from the two-body collisional time scale to the collective many-body timescale. With these versatile tools at hand we will gain a deep microscopic understanding of the underlying physics of strongly correlated fermionic quantum matter with interactions longer-ranged than those typically present in all previous experiments. These highly controllable atomic model systems promise to guide research on related Fermi systems in material science, nuclear physics and astrophysics.