Key challenges of humanity, such as surviving climate change, finding cures for cancer, establishing regular space flights, understanding the fundamental structure of the universe need novel materials that survive the demands of extreme environments. In ERA Chair MATTER, we study and develop materials under high electromagnetic fields, nanometric-atomic scale structures and biological environments, key factors for building CERN particle accelerators, finding novel green energy technologies, and developing novel nanotechnology applications such as cancer therapy.

High Electromagnetic fields

Vacuum arcs (breakdown) are detrimental to the performance of CERN’s planned Compact Linear Collider (CLIC)​

In order to understand vacuum arcs, MATTER focuses on multi-scale multi-physics simulations that capture the complex physics of vacuum arcs at an atomic level [1]

Nanoscience & Nanotechnology

Every material has specific properties (conductivity, mechanical strength, etc), which normally are size-independent, as long as an object is large enough to neglect the contribution of its surfaces, which have always different properties from the bulk. When we reduce the size to nanoscale, the behaviour of objects changes dramatically, opening new routes for fine-tuning their characteristics, but also posing significant challenges in both their theoretical description and experimental characterization.
In MATTER we address such challenges by advanced nano-manipulation and nano-characterization techniques, supported by computer simulations.
Research topics include (but not limited to):

  • Mechanical, tribological & electrical characterization of nanostructures [2]
  • Real-time thermal treatment of nanostructures.
  • Electron beam-induced modifications of solid materials.
  • Manipulation of nanostructures without physical contact (nanotelekinesis).
Figure. Manipulation on individual ZnO nanowire inside a Scanning Electron Microscope.

Methods we use

Biomedical applications of nanomaterials

Cancer drugs have huge side effects due to the fact that they affect healthy cells.

Schematic of drug delivery techniques using magneto-liposomes [3]

Using magneto-liposomes for drug delivery, we are trying to guide the drugs so that they only affect targeted cells.

Selected relevant publications:

  1. A. Kyritsakis et. al., Thermal runaway of metal nano-tips during intense electron emission, J. Phys. D 51, 225203 (2018)
  2. S. Vlassov et. al, Complex tribomechanical characterization of ZnO nanowires: nanomanipulations supported by FEM simulations, Nanotechnology 27, 335701 (2018)
  3. C. A. Monnier et. al., Magnetoliposomes: opportunities and challenges, Eur. J. Nanomed. 6, 201 (2014)