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  • richardmitnick 9:18 am on October 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Groundbreaking research into solar energy technology develops through new EU-project", , Chalmers University of Technology SE, , ,   

    From Chalmers University of Technology SE: “Groundbreaking research into solar energy technology develops through new EU-project” 

    From Chalmers University of Technology SE

    Oct 05, 2020

    Johanna Wilde
    Press officer
    +46-31-772 2029
    johanna.wilde@chalmers.se

    1
    The specially designed molecule and energy system by the researchers from Chalmers has demonstrated unique abilities to catch and store solar energy. The image to the right shows a tube with the catalyst inside, in front of a vacuum set-up used to measure the rise of the temperature in the energy storage system. Credit: Yen Strandqvist/Johan Bodell/Chalmers University of Technology SE.

    Over the last few years, a specially designed molecule and an energy system with unique abilities for capturing and storing solar power have been developed by a group of researchers from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden. Now, an EU project led by Chalmers will develop prototypes of the new technology for larger scale applications, such as heating systems in residential houses. The project has been granted 4.3 million Euros from the EU.

    In order to make full use of solar energy, we need to be able to store and release it on demand. In several scientific articles over the last few years, a group of researchers from Chalmers University of Technology have demonstrated how their specially designed molecule and solar energy system, named MOST (Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage System), can offer a solution to that challenge and become a vital tool in the conversion to fossil-free energy.

    The technology has generated great interest worldwide. With the , solar energy can be captured, stored for up to 18 years, transported without any major losses, and later released as heat when and where it is needed. The results achieved in the lab by the researchers are clear, but now more experience is needed to see how MOST can be used in real applications and at a larger scale.

    “The goal for this EU-project is to develop prototypes of MOST technology to verify potential for large-scale production, and to improve functionality of the system,” says Kasper Moth-Poulsen, coordinator of the project, and Professor and research leader at the Department for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers.

    Pushing towards products for real applications

    Within the project, the technology will be developed to become more efficient, less expensive and greener, thereby pushing towards products that can be used for real applications. Strong research teams from universities and institutes in Sweden, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany will connect and work together.

    “A very exciting aspect of the project is how we are combining excellent interdisciplinary research in molecule design along with knowledge in hybrid technology for energy capture, heat-release and low-energy building design,” says Kasper Moth-Poulsen.

    Using the molecule in blinds and windows

    Advances in the development of MOST technology have so far exceeded all expectations. The first, very simple – yet successful – demonstrations took place in Chalmers’ laboratories. Among other things, the researchers used the technology in a window film to even out the temperature on sunny and hot days and create a more pleasant indoor climate. Outside the EU project, application of the molecule in blinds and windows has begun, through the spin-off company Solartes AB.

    “With this funding, the development we can now do in the MOST project may lead to new solar driven and emissions-free solutions for heating in residential and industrial applications. This project is heading into a very important and exciting stage,” says Kasper Moth-Poulsen.

    More about: The EU project

    The EU project, which is also named Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage Systems, will extend over 3.5 years and has been allocated 4.3 million Euros. Partners in the project Include: Chalmers University of Technology, University of Copenhagen, University of Rioja, Fraunhofer Institute, ZAE Bayern and Johnson Matthey. At Chalmers, researchers from the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering and the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering will participate.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Chalmers University of Technology SE (Swedish: Chalmers tekniska högskola, often shortened to Chalmers) is a Swedish university located in Gothenburg that focuses on research and education in technology, natural science, architecture, maritime and other management areas

    The University was founded in 1829 following a donation by William Chalmers, a director of the Swedish East India Company. He donated part of his fortune for the establishment of an “industrial school”. Chalmers was run as a private institution until 1937, when the institute became a state-owned university. In 1994, the school was incorporated as an aktiebolag under the control of the Swedish Government, the faculty and the Student Union. Chalmers is one of only three universities in Sweden which are named after a person, the other two being Karolinska Institutet and Linnaeus University.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:11 am on October 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The most sensitive optical receivers yet for space communications", Chalmers University of Technology SE, Laser-beam based communications   

    From Chalmers University of Technology SE: “The most sensitive optical receivers yet for space communications” 

    From Chalmers University of Technology SE

    Oct 01, 2020

    Peter Andrekson, Professor of Photonics,
    Head of the Photonics Laboratory,
    Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience – MC2,
    Chalmers University of Technology SE
    peter.andrekson@chalmers.se

    1

    Communications in space demand the most sensitive receivers possible for maximum reach, while also requiring high bit-rate operations. A novel concept for laser-beam based communications, using an almost noiseless optical preamplifier in the receiver, was recently demonstrated by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.

    In a new paper published in the scientific journal Nature: Light Science & Applications, a team of researchers describes a free-space optical transmission system relying on an optical amplifier that, in principle, does not add any excess noise – in contrast to all other preexisting optical amplifiers, referred to as phase-sensitive amplifiers (PSAs).

    The researchers’ new concept demonstrates an unprecedented receiver sensitivity of just one photon-per-information bit at a data rate of 10 gigabits per second.

    “Our results show the viability of this new approach for extending the reach and data rate in long-distance space communication links. It therefore also has the promise to help break through the present-day data-return bottleneck in deep-space missions, that space agencies around the world are suffering from today,” says Professor Peter Andrekson, head of the research group and author of the article together with PhD Ravikiran Kakarla and senior researcher Jochen Schröder at the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience at Chalmers University of Technology SE.

    Substantially increasing the reach and information rate for future high-speed links will have big implications for technologies such as inter-satellite communication, deep-space missions, and earth monitoring with light detection and ranging (Lidar). Systems for such high-speed data connections are increasingly using optical laser beams rather than radio-frequency beams. A key reason for this is that the loss of power as the beam propagates is substantially smaller at light wavelengths, since the beam divergence is reduced.

    Nevertheless, over long distances, light beams also experience large loss. For example, a laser beam sent from the Earth to the Moon – around 400,000 kilometres – with a 10 cm aperture size, will experience a loss of power of around 80 dB, meaning only 1 part in 100 million will remain. As the transmittable power is limited, it is of critical importance to have receivers that can recover the information sent with as low power received as possible. This sensitivity is quantified as the minimum number of photons per information bit necessary to recover the data without error.

    Outperforms all other current state-of-the-art receiver technologies

    In the new concept from Chalmers, information is encoded onto a signal wave, which along with a pump wave at different frequency generates a conjugated wave (known as an idler) in a nonlinear medium. These three waves are launched together into the free space. At the receiving point, after capturing the light in an optical fiber, the PSA amplifies the signal using a regenerated pump wave. The amplified signal is then detected in a conventional receiver.

    “This approach fundamentally results in the best possible sensitivity of any pre-amplified optical receiver and also outperforms the all other current state-of-the-art receiver technologies,” says Peter Andrekson. The system uses a simple modulation format encoded with a standard error correction code and a coherent receiver with digital signal processing for signal recovery. This method is straightforwardly scalable to much higher data rates if needed. It also operates at room temperature, meaning it can be implemented in space terminals and not only on the ground.

    The theoretical sensitivity limits of this approach are also discussed in the paper and compared to other existing methods, with the conclusion that the new approach is essentially the best possible for a very broad range of data rates.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Chalmers University of Technology (Swedish: Chalmers tekniska högskola, often shortened to Chalmers) is a Swedish university located in Gothenburg that focuses on research and education in technology, natural science, architecture, maritime and other management areas

    The University was founded in 1829 following a donation by William Chalmers, a director of the Swedish East India Company. He donated part of his fortune for the establishment of an “industrial school”. Chalmers was run as a private institution until 1937, when the institute became a state-owned university. In 1994, the school was incorporated as an aktiebolag under the control of the Swedish Government, the faculty and the Student Union. Chalmers is one of only three universities in Sweden which are named after a person, the other two being Karolinska Institutet and Linnaeus University.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:59 pm on September 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Controlling ultrastrong light-matter coupling at room temperature", , Chalmers University of Technology SE, , Ultrastrong coupling between light and matter at room temperature.   

    From Chalmers University of Technology SE: “Controlling ultrastrong light-matter coupling at room temperature” 

    From Chalmers University of Technology SE

    Sep 23, 2020
    Johanna Wilde
    Press officer
    +46-31-772 2029
    johanna.wilde@chalmers.se

    1
    Photographer: Illustration: Denis Baranov, Chalmers University of Technology

    Physicists at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, together with colleagues in Russia and Poland, have managed to achieve ultrastrong coupling between light and matter at room temperature. The discovery is of importance for fundamental research and might pave the way for advances within, for example, light sources, nanomachinery, and quantum technology.

    A set of two coupled oscillators is one of the most fundamental and abundant systems in physics. It is a very general toy model that describes a plethora of systems ranging from guitar strings, acoustic resonators, and the physics of children’s swings, to molecules and chemical reactions, from gravitationally bound systems to quantum cavity electrodynamics.

    The degree of coupling between the two oscillators is an important parameter that mostly determines the behaviour of the coupled system. However, the question is rarely asked about the upper limit by which two pendula can couple to each other – and what consequences such coupling can have.

    The newly presented results, published in Nature Communications, offer a glimpse into the domain of the so called ultrastrong coupling, wherein the coupling strength becomes comparable to the resonant frequency of the oscillators. The coupling in this work is realised through interaction between light and electrons in a tiny system consisting of two gold mirrors separated by a small distance and plasmonic gold nanorods. On a surface that is a hundred times smaller than the end of a human hair, the researchers have shown that it is possible to create controllable ultrastrong interaction between light and matter at ambient conditions – that is, at room temperature and atmospheric pressure.

    ”We are not the first ones to realise ultrastrong coupling. But generally, strong magnetic fields, high vacuum and extremely low temperatures are required to achieve such a degree of coupling. When you can perform it in an ordinary lab, it enables more researchers to work in this field and it provides valuable knowledge in the borderland between nanotechnology and quantum optics,” says Denis Baranov, a researcher at Chalmers University of Technology and the first author of the scientific paper.

    A unique duet where light and matter intermix into a common object

    To understand the system the authors have realised, one can imagine a resonator, in this case represented by two gold mirrors separated by a few hundred nanometers, as a single tone in music. The nanorods fabricated between the mirrors affect how light moves between the mirrors and change their resonance frequency. Instead of just sounding like a single tone, in the coupled system the tone splits into two: a lower pitch, and a higher pitch.

    The energy separation between the two new pitches represents the strength of interaction. Specifically, in the ultrastrong coupling case, the strength of interaction is so large that it becomes comparable to the frequency of the original resonator. This leads to a unique duet, where light and matter intermix into a common object, forming quasi-particles called polaritons. The hybrid character of polaritons provides a set of intriguing optical and electronic properties.

    The number of gold nanorods sandwiched between the mirrors controls how strong the interaction is. But at the same time, it controls the so-called zero-point energy of the system. By increasing or decreasing the number of rods, it is possible to supply or remove energy from the ground state of the system and thereby increase or decrease the energy stored in the resonator box.

    The discovery allows researchers to play with the laws of nature

    What makes this work particularly interesting is that the authors managed to indirectly measure how the number of nanorods changes the vacuum energy by “listening” to the tones of the coupled system (that is, looking at the light transmission spectra through the mirrors with the nanorods) and performing simple mathematics. The resulting values turned out to be comparable to the thermal energy, which may lead to observable phenomena in the future.

    “A concept for creating controllable ultrastrong coupling at room temperature in relatively simple systems can offer a testbed for fundamental physics. The fact that this ultrastrong coupling “costs” energy could lead to observable effects, for example it could modify the reactivity of chemicals or tailor van der Waals interactions. Ultrastrong coupling enables a variety of intriguing physical phenomena,” says Timur Shegai, Associate Professor at Chalmers and the last author of the scientific article.

    In other words, this discovery allows researchers to play with the laws of nature and to test the limits of coupling.

    “As the topic is quite fundamental, potential applications may range. Our system allows for reaching even stronger levels of coupling, something known as deep strong coupling. We are still not entirely sure what is the limit of coupling in our system, but it is clearly much higher than we see now. Importantly, the platform that allows studying ultrastrong coupling is now accessible at room temperature,” says Timur Shegai.

    For more information, please contact:

    Denis Baranov, Post Doc
    Department of Physics
    Chalmers University of Technology SE
    +46 31 772 32 48
    denisb@chalmers.se

    Timur Shegai, Associate Professor
    Department of Physics
    Chalmers University of Technology SE
    +46 31 772 31 23
    timurs@chalmers.se

    The researchers work at the Department of Physics and the Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience at Chalmers University of Technology, at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and at the Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw.

    The nanofabrication was performed at Chalmers. The interactions between light and matter were observed by using infrared microscopy.

    The research at Chalmers was funded by the Swedish Research Council.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Chalmers University of Technology (Swedish: Chalmers tekniska högskola, often shortened to Chalmers) is a Swedish university located in Gothenburg that focuses on research and education in technology, natural science, architecture, maritime and other management areas

    The University was founded in 1829 following a donation by William Chalmers, a director of the Swedish East India Company. He donated part of his fortune for the establishment of an “industrial school”. Chalmers was run as a private institution until 1937, when the institute became a state-owned university. In 1994, the school was incorporated as an aktiebolag under the control of the Swedish Government, the faculty and the Student Union. Chalmers is one of only three universities in Sweden which are named after a person, the other two being Karolinska Institutet and Linnaeus University.

     
  • richardmitnick 6:16 pm on September 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A new way to search for dark matter reveals hidden materials properties", , , , Chalmers University of Technology SE, , ,   

    From Chalmers University of Technology SE: “A new way to search for dark matter reveals hidden materials properties” 

    From Chalmers University of Technology SE

    1
    New research from Chalmers and ETH Zürich, Switzerland, suggests a promising way to detect elusive dark matter particles through previously unexplored atomic responses occurring in the detector material. ​The illustration above is a composite image (optical, x-ray, computed dark-matter) of mass distribution in the bullet cluster of galaxies.​​​​
    Image: Chandra X-Ray Observatory, NASA/CXC/M. Weiss/Wikimedia Commons

    NASA/Chandra X-ray Telescope

    New research from Chalmers, together with ETH Zürich, Switzerland, suggests a promising way to detect elusive dark matter particles through previously unexplored atomic responses occurring in the detector material.


    ​​
    The new calculations enable theorists to make detailed predictions about the nature and strength of interactions between dark matter and electrons, which were not previously possible.

    “Our new research into these atomic responses reveals material properties that have until now remained hidden. They could not be investigated using any of the particles available to us today – only dark matter could reveal them,” says Riccardo Catena, Associate Professor at the Department at Physics at Chalmers.

    For every star, galaxy or dust cloud visible in space, there exists five times more material which is invisible – dark matter. Discovering ways to detect these unknown particles which form such a significant part of the Milky Way is therefore a top priority in astroparticle physics. In the global search for dark matter, large detectors have been built deep underground to try to catch the particles as they bounce off atomic nuclei.

    So far, these mysterious particles have escaped detection. According to the Chalmers researchers, a possible explanation could be that dark matter particles are lighter than protons, and thereby do not cause the nuclei to recoil – imagine a ping pong ball colliding into a bowling ball. A promising way to overcome this problem could therefore be to shift focus from nuclei to electrons, which are much lighter.

    In their recent paper, the researchers describe how dark matter particles can interact with the electrons in atoms. They suggest that the rate at which dark matter can kick electrons out of atoms depends on four independent atomic responses – three of which were previously unidentified. They have calculated the ways that electrons in argon and xenon atoms, used in today’s largest detectors, should respond to dark matter.

    The results were recently published in the journal Physical Review Research and performed within a new collaboration with condensed-matter physicist Nicola Spaldin and her group at ETH. Their predictions can now be tested in dark matter observatories around the globe.

    “We tried to remove as many access barriers as possible. The paper is published in a fully open access journal and the scientific code to compute the new atomic response functions is open source, for anyone who wants to take a look ‘under the hood’ of our paper,” says Timon Emken, a postdoctoral researcher in the dark matter group at the Department of Physics at Chalmers.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Chalmers University of Technology (Swedish: Chalmers tekniska högskola, often shortened to Chalmers) is a Swedish university located in Gothenburg that focuses on research and education in technology, natural science, architecture, maritime and other management areas

    The University was founded in 1829 following a donation by William Chalmers, a director of the Swedish East India Company. He donated part of his fortune for the establishment of an “industrial school”. Chalmers was run as a private institution until 1937, when the institute became a state-owned university. In 1994, the school was incorporated as an aktiebolag under the control of the Swedish Government, the faculty and the Student Union. Chalmers is one of only three universities in Sweden which are named after a person, the other two being Karolinska Institutet and Linnaeus University.

     
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