A serial production of protective masks will be launched by the Institute of Physics in cooperation with ten Czech companies

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Serial production of the RP95-M protective semi-mask designed to provide a higher protection level will start next week. The project is a joint effort of CARDAM, a daughter of the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences; Beneš a Lát, a.s., and České zbojovky, a.s. The mask is based on a model originally developed by the Czech Technical University (ČVUT). As of next week, the key components of the semi-mask will be made within seconds - not minutes - as was the case with their production on 3D printers during the provisional phase of the project. This will increase the quality of the mask and reduce its price.

One of the first batches of the planned weekly 50 000-piece productions will be delivered to the institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences, where researchers test samples for the presence of the coronavirus. The production of the mask is coordinated by CARDAM, s. r. o., a daughter of the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, and Beneš a Lát, a. s. and České zbrojovky, a. s. “The mask enables to use disposable filters, including the P3 R filters, that exceed the FFP3 protection class,“ explains Michael Prouza, the Director of the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, where researchers developed a special chamber for the testing of the tightness of the mask.

The design of the prototype developed by the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of the Czech Technical University (ČVUT) had to be adapted to suit the characteristics of the serial production executed on injection moulding machines. The result was a modified RP95-M model, whose development and adaptation for serial production was jointly provided by CARDAM, s. r. o., and Beneš a Lát, a. s., based on an exclusive licence provided by ČVUT TRIX Connections, s. r. o.

The interplay between academia and industry

The cooperation between scientists and production companies on the innovation of the prototype and the launching of the serial production was based on the experience gained in the previous projects for the MATCA National Competence Centre as well as on personal dedication of a lot of people. “This was an example of a well-orchestrated interplay between academia and industry,” says Miloslav Klinger from the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences and Jan Lát from Beneš a Lát, a. s., adds: “For example, in order to maximize the acceleration of the mould production rate, we divided the mask production process between six tool shops that were working on ten moulds for the production of the masks at the same time.“

A key safety feature of the mask is its tightness. “Each mask will be subjected to conditions that are much more strenuous than those during the normal operation. “The aim is to send only the highest quality masks to first-line workers,” explains Tomáš Jetmar whose team is in charge of the development of the testing equipment that was developed directly at the Institute of Physics.

Higher quality, lower price, longer life-cycle

The costs related to the use of the masks are significantly lower than those of the FFP2 respirators, plus the latter provides significantly lower protection. “In comparison with the commonly available FFP2 respirators, the monthly operation costs are more ten times lower,” says Ondřej Kurkin, Director of CARDAM, s. r. o.

Due to its durable materials, it is possible to re-sterilize the mask; its life-cycle is set to a minimum of 100 sterilisation cycles by autoclaving and an unlimited number of disinfection cycles.

The combined particle P3 R filter used corresponds to a maximum level of protection and according to the manufacturer of the mask -  AVEC CHEM, s. r. o. - to approximately a week-long continuous operation in a clean hospital environment. Additionally, the Institute of Physics and SIGMA Research and Development Institute, s.r.o. are developing a filter disinfection method to extend the life-cycle of the filter.

Additionally, the Institute of Physics also coordinates the distribution of one of the first orders where 1200 pieces of protective masks will be delivered to and used by scientists at the biological institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences who are taking part in the testing and in other activities in the fight against COVID-19.

The preparation of the serial production was a joint effort of among others the following companies:

  • JAN SVOBODA s.r.o.
  • Šonka servis s.r.o. (Černošice)
  • Jiří Češka. Nástrojárna Příbram (Příbram)
  • FORMEX Koh-I-Noor machinery s.r.o. (Brno)
  • Staform UH s.r.o. (Uherský Brod)
  • KONFORM PLASTIC s.r.o. (Zlín)
  • Peartec s.r.o. (Plzeň)
  • Libeos s.r.o. (Liberec)
  • TD-IS, s.r.o. (Plzeň)
  • JSW Machines s.r.o. (Brno)

Prague, 17 April 2020

Foto: Beneš a Lát, a. s.

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Czech scientists have contributed to the development of a new class of single- dimensional organic conductors

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A joint work by Czech, Spanish and Swiss scientists published by Nature Nanotechnology this week, introduces a new approach to the development of non-metallic conductors which could be used in solar energy, optical technologies or nanoelectronics.

An international team of scientists including researchers from the Regional Centre of Advanced Technologies and Materials (RCPTM) of the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the Palacky University, Olomouc, and from the Institute of Physics (FZU), Prague, has proposed and experimentally verified the possibility of preparing single-dimensional carbon-based conductive polymers. As carbon is one of the most accessible elements, the new polymer conductors have shown potentially lower production costs than normal metallic conductors, along with greater stability and the opportunity to control the properties of the material. The joint work of Czech, Spanish and Swiss scientists, published this week in the journal Nature Nanotechnology1 this week, introduces a new approach to designing non-metallic conductors, which could be used in solar energy applications, optical technologies or nanoelectronics. The significance of this work is evidenced by the fact that the article was given a special commentary by the editors of Nature Nanotechnology.

"The advantage of the new polymers is the possibility of controlling their electronic and optical properties along with expected higher stability compared to current conductive polymers. The possibility of constructing stable carbon conductive polymers paves the way for miniaturizing and enhancing the performance of a number of electronic components," says Pavel Jelínek, who leads the Czech team.

Organické polovodiče
Description

The structure of the conductive 1D polymer observed using atomic force microscopy (above). An image from a scanning tunnelling microscope showing the so-called free radicals at the end of a polymer (below).
(Image by B. de la Torre)

Metallic conductors, which are currently an integral part of most commercial electrical and electronic devices, pass an electrical current by means of free electrons in their structures. In most cases, organic carbon and hydrogen-based molecules do not contain free electrons and therefore act as insulators. However, organic conductors, so-called conductive polymers, are known to carry electric current thanks to enrichment by other elements. These elements supply or extract electrons from the structure of carbon polymers, creating the essential free electrical charge responsible for high electrical conductivity. The discoverers of these polymers were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000. Advantages of polymer conductors over conventional metallic conductors include low-cost production, easy processing using conventional technologies, better mechanical properties and the potential for manipulating their electrical and optical characteristics. Some have found applications in organic LEDs, solar cells, transistors or different types of sensors.  However, the main disadvantage of existing conductive polymers is their low chemical and thermal stability, which is linked to the presence of foreign elements in their structure.  A number of laboratories around the world are, therefore, trying to prepare new types of conductive polymers that do not contain such elements. It was the Czech-Spanish-Swiss team that was the first to succeed in this challenge.

“In our work, we studied what is known as πconjugated polymers, which are characterized by alternating simple and double bonds between carbon atoms. Nevertheless, on the basis of the polymer's internal stress compensation and its electron structure, an appropriate choice of the polymer's basic construction units can be made to prepare a one-dimensional system that is located near the phase transition. It was the use of the right starting molecules that produced the highly conductive polymer with free electrons without the necessary presence of foreign elements. This approach to the synthesis of 1D conductive polymers may lead to the development of a new generation of organic conductors for molecular electronics, says Jelínek.

Organické polovodiče 2
Description

Schematic representation of the structure of the 1D conductive polymer on a golden surface and the tip of the scanning tunnelling microscope used for its characterisation. (Image by M. Pykal)

The synthesis of 1D polymer chains took place on a gold surface. The chemical structure and electrical properties were examined by scientists using a scanning microscope with a chemically modified tip that enabled imaging of individual molecules (Fig. 1) "Conductive polymers were prepared by applying appropriate molecules, developed by Spanish colleagues, to the gold surface. Their subsequent heat treatment led to the formation of long 1D chains without any structural disturbances. The basic building units of the polymers were interconnected carbon bridges.  In addition, the electrical properties of 1D polymers can be tuned using just the right choice of basic construction units, moving towards the development of 1D organic semiconductors, for example.  Such polymers could find applications not only in the development of molecular electronics, but also in new optoelectronic devices or organic solar cells," says Bruno de la Torre from both the FZU and RCPTM.

Following the collaboration of the Spanish and Czech teams, the results of the study have recently led to the development of chemical protocols for polymer synthesis, the preparation of which is not possible using normal processes.2 "The work in Nature Nanotechnology shows unique possibilities for surface chemistry, where different chemical rules are applied compared to reactions taking place in liquid or gaseous environments. This enables the preparation of completely unique materials such as 1D molecular conductors, with their conductivity resulting directly from their structure. These findings could help address a number of other scientific challenges and prepare a new generation of low dimensional structures with completely new optical, magnetic and electrical properties," adds Radek Zbořil from the RCPTM, Olomouc.

 


References:

1. B. Cirera, A. Sánchez-Grande, B. de la Torre, J. Santos, Sh. Edalatmanesh, E. Rodríguez-Sánchez, K. Lauwaet, B. Mallada, R. Zbořil, R. Miranda, O. Gröning, P. Jelínek, N. Martín, D. Ecija,Tailoring topological order and π-conjugation to engineer quasi-metallic polymers, Nature Nanotech. (2020) DOI: 10.1038/s41565-020-0668-7.

2. A. Sánchez-Grande, B. de la Torre, J. Santos, B. Cirera, K. Lauwaet, T. Chutora, S. Edalatmanesh, P. Mutombo, J. Rosen, R. Zbořil, R. Miranda, J. Björk, P. Jelínek, N. Martín and D. Écija," ANGEWANDTE CHEMIE INTERNATIONAL EDITION vol. 58, iss. 20, pp. 6559-6563, 2019. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201814154.

Contact person:

Pavel Jelínek

Fyzikální ústav AV ČR | RCPTM

E-mail: jelinekp [at] fzu [dot] cz | M: 734 353 740

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41565-020-0668-7

New material for 5G mobile networks

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Stanislav Kamba, Veronica Goian and Christelle Kadlec, in collaboration with Prof. D. G. Schlom from the Cornell University and other American and German colleagues, succeeded in developing a new material for mobile network of the 5th generation.

Epitaxial strained thin films of (SrTiO3)n-1(BaTiO3)1SrO were grown on DyScO3 substrates using molecular beam epitaxy. The best microwave dielectric properties were discovered in samples with n = 6. Permittivity exhibits huge tuning using electric field and microwave dielectric loss is anomalously low. Unique properties were confirmed using first-principles calculations and by experimental observation of the soft mode behavior in THz region. These films are ideal for components in 5G networks. See you more details in Nat. Mater. (2020).

Schema of crystal structures of investigated films
Description

Schema of crystal structures of investigated (SrTiO3)n-1(BaTiO3)1SrO films and their view in scanning transmission electron microscope. Yellow octahedra depict TiO6 layers, green and red points mark atoms of Sr and Ba.

 Contact person: Stnaislav Kamba


N.M. Dawley, E.J.Marksz, A.M. Hagerstrom, G.H. Olsen, M.E. Holtz, V. Goian, C. Kadlec, J. Zhang, X. Lu, J.A. Drisko, R. Uecker, S. Ganschow, C.J. Long, J.C. Booth, S. Kamba, C.J. Fennie, D.A. Muller, N.D. Orloff and D.G. Schlom, Nature Materials 19, 176 (2020).

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Busy children are happy children

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One of the prerequisites for worker satisfaction is their being able to balance their work and family life at the workplace. An uneasy task for which the Institute of Physics, as an employer, has looked for and found an effective solution. The emergence of Visitors‘ Rooms for adults with children across the centres of the Institute of Physics has put wide smiles on parents‘ and their children‘s faces.

One of the prerequisites for worker satisfaction is their being able to balance their work and family life at the workplace. An uneasy task for which the Institute of Physics, as an employer, has looked for and found an effective solution. The emergence of Visitors‘ Rooms for adults with children across the centres of the Institute of Physics has put wide smiles on parents‘ and their children‘s faces.

The first resting area was created at the centre of the Institute of Physics in Střešovice. A former conference room has been converted into a playground area for kids up to the age of seven and their parents for whom two workplaces have been made available.

“The Visitors‘ room for children represents an ideal combination of office space and a playground area for children. My daughter finds diversion on her own for several hours in the new environment, allowing me to process data and experiment results on my laptop without being disturbed by her, which is something that I would not be able to do if I was working from home,” Martin Müller explains, describing the advantages offered by the new room. The new space at Cukrovarnická has also been praised by Filip Dominec: “The Visitors‘ room for children and adults regularly makes my day. It allows me to reconcile my afternoon childcare duties and my work duties and meetings with my colleagues. It is also my two-year-old daughter who is always looking forward to visiting the playground area, not only to play with the toys she has not fully explored yet but also to play with the other children.

 

The resting space at Ládví, which was adapted to accommodate up to four children and two workplaces for adults, has also been widely acclaimed. “The Institute of Physics has created magic and a very cosy place that is children-friendly,“ Martina Toufarová says. “It is a great help if you need to make a short visit to your workplace while taking care of your child. You don‘t need to look for a baby-sitter, who is particularly expensive to arrange for a short period of time.

 

The newly built space for up to three children and two adults at the premises of the Eli-Beamlines centre has been experienced by Jiří Vaculík. He appreciates to have a chance of being available at the workplace and, at the same time, of being “there” as a parent especially if an emergency requires him to take up his childcare duties. “There are enough activities for my child to attract its attention to and to keep it busy in the resting area while I am working on my laptop or meeting my colleagues,“ he explains.

The creation of a resting area for children and caring adults is just one of the supporting steps offered by the FZU “Employees can make use of flexible working hours, work part-time or work from home, “ Lucie Beránková from the HR FZU explains.

By: Petra Köppl

Translation: Stanislav Široký

Credit: Martina Toufarová and Jiří Vaculík

Date: 5 March 2020

The founding father of Czech low-temperature physics Stanislav Šafrata has died

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Stanislav Šafrata may be considered without exaggeration to be the founding father of cryogenics and low-temperature physics in the former Czechoslovakia. He was born on 9 September 1925 in Osturňa. Later, he attended a grammar school in Bratislava, Slovakia, and a Higher Industrial School in Prague. In 1949, he graduated from the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Charles University in Prague, where he completed his additional scientific training in physics three years later. The scope of his scientific expertise and activities was always very broad as evidenced by a monography co-authored with V. Petržílek: Electricity and Magnetism, published in 1953.

Stanislav Šafrata may be considered without exaggeration to be the founding father of cryogenics and low-temperature physics in the former Czechoslovakia. He was born on 9 September 1925 in Osturňa. Later, he attended a grammar school in Bratislava, Slovakia, and a Higher Industrial School in Prague. In 1949, he graduated from the Faculty of Natural Sciences of Charles University in Prague, where he completed his additional scientific training in physics three years later. The scope of his scientific expertise and activities was always very broad as evidenced by a monography co-authored with V. Petržílek: Electricity and Magnetism, published in 1953.

S. Šafrata was the founder and, for many years, the head of the Low-Temperature Physics Department, the first centre for low temperature physics in the former Czechoslovakia. The main goal of the Low-Temperature Physics Department, which was founded in 1955 as part of the Institute of Nuclear Research in Řež, involved the preparation of polarised targets for the then promising study of nuclear reactions; this Department would also conduct experiments with oriented cores and studied superconductive materials. S. Šafrata has achieved widespread recognition primarily for his works on electron scattering on oriented holmium cores; the study of magnetic properties of cerium magnesium nitrate, where a part of magnetic cerium atoms was replaced with a non-magnetic lanthanum and the resulting substance was processed using the adiabatic demagnetisation method to achieve a record-low temperature of 0,67 mK (These studies laid the foundations of a globally recognized temperature scale up to 2 mK); or the detection of forbidden nuclear magnetic resonance transitions using the highly sensitive squid methodology.

For such experiments, cryogenic technology and procedures were needed, which cannot dispense with liquid helium. To this end, in collaboration with P. L. Kapica and the Ferox Děčín state enterprise, he developed a helium liquefier, which was installed and commissioned at the Low-Temperature Physics Department on 13 April 1960. The cooperation between Ferox Děčín and the Low-Temperature Physics Department inspired a series of commercial products, such as helium liquefiers, Dewar vessels and cryostats. Together, they developed a multi-layer insulation and applied it to the manufacture of liquid nitrogen and liquid helium vessels; their cooperation also involved the development of a cryocauter used in medicine for the removal of specific types of tumours.

As the head of the Low-Temperature Physics Department, S. Šafrata initiated the founding of other centres of low-temperature physics, primarily in Brno, the Czech Republic, and Košice, Slovakia. As a complementary training in the field of low-temperature physics, he would organize summer schools. In 1979, as part of a reorganisation scheme, the Low-Temperature Physics Department was transitioned to the Institute of Physics (FZU) of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. S. Šafrata also significantly contributed to establishing the department of low-temperature physics (KFNT) at the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University (the KFNT officially started to operate on 1. 9. 1981 as a joint workplace of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University and the FZU) and, subsequently, became the head of the department, performing the role for the next decade.

S. Šafrata was an internationally recognized expert, promoting Czech science and technology among foreign organisations. Throughout his life, he would take part in a number of internships abroad e.g. at Standford University (J. Whitley, W. A. Little), at the Institute of Physical Problems in Moscow (P. L. Kapica) or at Oxford University (N. Kurti) and he would apply the lessons learned to the day-to-day operation of the department in Řež. He was a founding member of the International Cryogenic Engineering Committee (ICEC) and was a chairman of the A1 International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) committee, which, during its 23rd International Refrigeration Congress IIR, awarded him a Medal for Merits - one of the highest awards of this intergovernmental organisation, which was established in Paris in 1908 and which brings together the representatives of 62 states. He was one of the founding members of the organisational committee of the Cryogenics conference, which meets every other year and which, in the 40 years of its existence, has become a recognized international platform for low-temperature physics and technology.

S. Šafrata was an active member of the C5 low-temperatures physics commission at the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP). He was a long-term member of the editorial committees of two physical journals - Cryogenics and the Journal of Low-Temperature Physics (JLTP). He actively cooperated with the Joint Institute of Nuclear Research (SUJV) in Dubna, Russia, and for this cooperation he, and his colleagues Finger and Janout received a State Prize. In 1996, as a token of international appreciation of his merits, Prague, the capital of his homeland, was chosen to host the LT 21 global low-temperature physics conference bringing together as many as 1500 participants. S. Šafrata presided over the meeting together with a German physicist F. Pobell.

S. Šafrata died on 24 January 2020. He was 94.

By: prof. RNDr. Ladislav Skrbek, DrSc.

‘If you can't measure it, then you can't test your ideas’ explains Sarkar

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Cosmic acceleration and Dark energy might not exist. The dispute of professor Subir Sarkar about the significance of the supernovae evidence presented by the 2011 Nobel Prize teams continues. One of the hot topics at the workshop Multimessengers@Prague, where we met.

This unique workshop of Central European Institute for Cosmology and Fundamental Physics brought experts from disjoint but complementary fields and provided them with the possibility of informal discussion. Scientists from institutes in 10 European countries, invited to Prague through the FZU project CoGraDS, spent four days probing the latest developments in synergies between various cosmological observations and exchanged ideas with colleagues from the local community active in Universe sciences. The CoGraDS project combines four theoretical investigations in gravity, cosmology and string theory with hardcore experimentalist enterprise: the goal of one of its five work packages is to build a lab for testing photosensors for the Large Synoptic Space Telescope.

 

'I think, theorists must have contact with experimentalists because otherwise, they keep inventing all kinds of things without any connection to the real world. Correspondingly, the experimentalists should talk with theorists so that they get some appreciation of what sort of ideas are interesting’ Subir Sarkar says.

'Effectively without data we just have speculation, with data, we can make progress in understanding. Everything should be in balance between dreaming and achieving. Who doesn't like dreaming, but by itself, it is a little bit sterile.' That’s why the international science community is working on developing new detectors. Currently, both gravitational waves and neutrinos are not seen enough as the detectors are too small. The progress might come with a new arm of LIGO constructed in India, the Japanese detector HyperK, or the Einstein Telescope or KM3NeT. Instead of something interesting happening once a year, it will happen every month.

 

Sarkar works on high energy cosmic rays, neutrinos and gamma-rays and participates in the experiments IceCube Neutrino Observatory and the Cherenkov Telescope Array and was a member for many years of the Pierre Auger Observatory for cosmic rays. 'Ideally, a scientist should be involved in every experiment, but that is not feasible. Every country has some limit on what they can get involved in, but it would be good if more Czechs were also involved in optical astronomy, for example in a big project called the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.' It is being built in Chile and was promoted by particle physicists and will involve big data. That is the reason why it is partly funded by Google and attracts young people with a computing background.

But as he stated: 'the physicists vote with their feet, you can't force them to do anything. They will do what interests them within the constraints of resources and funding, etc.' That's why he advises bureaucrats, government officials and ministers not to tell physicists what they should do as it is pointless, because if they will not do it with their heart, then nothing will come out of it. 'It's like you can't force an artist to paint portraits if he wants to do landscapes.'

Sarkar: 'The last time I actually saw stars was when I was on shift with the Pierre Auger Observatory, and at four in the morning when the only bar in town shut down, we drove out into the pampa. We lay on top of the cars and we looked at the sky. And that's really dark with no lights anywhere. It's hard to convey just how dramatic seeing the night sky is when it is really dark and you get some sense of our ancestors must have felt and why they ascribed all kinds of symbolism in the sky and the stars and so

Sarkar is head of the Particle Theory Group at the University of Oxford. 'Everyone has their own mind and if there are 10 people they have 11 opinions. On the other hand, if you can get a consensus, then you feel it's solid. Although it can be really frustrating at times, it is rewarding. It's not like being a celebrity and having thousands of followers on Twitter – if you can convince even 10 intelligent people, with your argument, you feel that it has been worthwhile making that effort.'

Central European Institute for Cosmology and Fundamental Physics (CEICO) is an international research group focused on the interplay between cosmology, gravity and string theory based in the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Subir Sakar is head of the Particle Theory Group at the University of Oxford. After a dispute about the significance of the supernovae evidence of the 2011 Nobel Prize teams, professor Subir Sakar published a second paper in Astronomy and Astrophysics in November 2019. He participates in the experiments IceCube Neutrino Observatory and the forthcoming Cherenkov Telescope Array.

20 February 2020

By: Petra Köppl

Photograph: René Volfík

Prague Laser Spaceapps Workshop 2019

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At the end of September 2019 an extraordinary workshop was held in Prague which was focused on the application of high-power lasers to the detection and removal of orbital debris, interstellar flights, diversion of dangerous near-Earth objects, or remote sensing of the Solar System.

This article was published in 6/2019 of the Czechoslovak Journal for Physics, published by the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences. It was written by Jana Žďárská from the FZU, Czech Academy of Sciences v. v. i.

At the end of September 2019 an extraordinary workshop was held in Prague which was focused on the application of high-power lasers to the detection and removal of orbital debris, interstellar flights, diversion of dangerous near-Earth objects, or remote sensing of the Solar System.

Significant Czech and foreign scientists as well as private companies presented basic physical concepts, challenges as well as current rational possibilities of this technology and its expected development in the near future.

Among other things, this important event was devoted to relevant political issues related to the operation of these important facilities. The predominantly discussed issue was how such super-powerful lasers can be built on a global level and then effectively controlled. The conference participants also spoke about the necessity of establishing an international scientific consortium as about a central theme of the Czech Republic's foreign policy. An important point discussed in the workshop was also the question of of global cooperation and related international law.

obr_1xx.jpg
Description
Obr. 1. Tests of the impact of Asterix laser on real meteorite samples. The aim is to extrapolate the parameters of the application of power lasers for the impact on dangerous near-earth objects. The vacuum chamber is being prepared for the interaction experiment by Dr. Miroslav Krůs, Head of Laser Plasma Department, Institute of Plasma Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

The main guests of this workshop were the well-known American physicist Philip Lubin (UC Santa Barbara) and former director of the NASA Ames Research Center, astrophysicist Pete Worder. Philip Lubin presented the concept of a mission of small one-gram research space ships that would be accelerated by a very strong laser source up to 20% light speed in about eight minutes. This would allow to explore at least the nearest star system – Alpha Centauri: A (Rigil), B (Toliman) and C (Proxima) – in the next few decades. In the first phase, however, this project will focus mainly on Europa and Enceladus moons in the Solar System. Lubin also predicted that the announced mission could be reached within a 20 to 50-year horizon, with the use of huge fiber laser batteries.

obr_2b.jpg
Description
Obr. 2. Modern spectrographs at the Observatory in Valašské Meziříčí enable comparison of laboratory spectra of laser ablation plasma of meteorite samples with the recording of meteor plasma spectra. Thus, the elementary composition of interplanetary matter has been detected and a basic knowledge base has been created for experiments defining the application potential of laser ablation in cosmonautics.

One of the important themes of the near future, which Czech scientists are also interested in, is cleaning the Earth's orbit from orbital debris. The amount of such debris is rapidly increasing due to human activity. In the more distant future, large lasers can also be used to divert and dispose of potentially dangerous near-earth objects or to measure their composition remotely.

Scientists at Charles University and the Institute of International Relations have developed a theoretical model of future global collaboration in the development, construction and operation of an extremely powerful laser directly with Breakthrough Initiatives scientists. The aim will be to discuss the possibilities of inclusive global cooperation between governments, private institutions and international organizations. The ideal goal would be to establish an international research consortium such as CERN or ITER with adequate global legitimacy.

Space and laser technologies represent 1/3 of the perspective areas of the Czech Republic's Innovation Strategy 2019–2030. Moreover, Czech politicians could play an absolutely crucial role in a similar initiative, following the humanistic tradition of Czech foreign policy. In addition, the Czech Republic will host the EU Agency for Space Program, which can fundamentally help deepen international confidence in building such secure and sensitive technology.

As RNDr. Martin Ferus, Ph.D., from J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry said: “It might seem that widespread application of powerful laser systems is still in the far future. But the opposite is true. At present, our team together with Dr. Krůs from the PALS laser department is working on the related determination of laser parameters for space applications. HiLASE's leading infrastructure has also been involved in the research. On a global scale, the Czech Republic has fundamental and exceptional scientific equipment, including some of the world's most powerful lasers. Our teams use these lasers to investigate extreme states of matter and plasma.

In addition to the development of space technology, Czech power lasers literally make impossible possible for us – by blasting gases, meteorites and liquids we mimic the extreme conditions that exist when asteroids or just small meteoroids enter the atmosphere and when they impact. We study the physical and chemical effects of this event, and we can, for example, assess whether they may have contributed to the processes leading to life on Earth.” We wish the Czech and foreign scientists much success on the road to such important scientific goals, and although the idea of accelerating small 1-gram research space craft sounds a bit like science fiction at the moment, as Dr. Lubin said : "It is currently the only plan for interstellar travel that is relatively technologically easy to implement."

Acknowledgement: We would like to express our thanks to GACR, Project 18-27653S and TAČR, Project TL01000181.

obr_4.jpg
Description
Obr. 3. Major Czech and foreign scientists presented basic physical concepts for the use of large lasers. In the section on the left, there is Dr. Philipp Lubin, on the right Dr. Nikola Schmidt, head of the related political study, in the middle (from right to left), there are Dr. Miroslav Krůs (in the background), Dr. Tomáš Mocek, Dr. Martin Ferus and Bc. Anna Křivková, who works on interaction experiments with large power lasers.

Scientists have contributed to the development of a new material for mobile network of the 5th generation

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While existing mobile networks use frequencies up to 2.5 GHz, network of the 5th generation (5G) will work in the frequency range from 24 to 72 GHz. It will allow data transfer speed up to 20 gbps (gbps is the abbreviation of gigabits per second). Filters for such high frequencies require among others materials tuning of the permittivity using high electric field and low dielectric losses.

The research team of Stanislav Kamba, in collaboration with American and German colleagues, succeeded in developing a new material with such properties. It consists of a succession of atomic layers of SrTiO3, BaTiO3 and SrO (see figure below).

The layers were deposited using molecular beam epitaxy on DyScO3 substrate, which induces a mechanical strain of about 1%. Today’s best microwave tunable dielectric parameters were achieved in films of (SrTiO3)5(BaTiO3)SrO. The Czech team participated mainly in the characterization of the thin films in the terahertz (1012 Hz) frequency range, in the explanation of the low dielectric losses and of the high tunability of the permittivity. Results were published on 23rd December 2019 in the journal Nature Material.

Schema of crystal structures of investigated (SrTiO3)n-1(BaTiO3)1SrO films and their view in scanning transmission electron microscope. The best microwave and terahertz properties were achieved in the films with n = 6. Yellow octahedra depict TiO6 layers, green and red points mark atoms of Sr and Ba.

Contact:

Stanislav Kamba,

Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences

kamba [at] fzu [dot] cz,

tel. +420 266 052 957,

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4699-869X

Authors:

N.M. Dawley, E.J.Marksz, A.M. Hagerstrom, G.H. Olsen, M.E. Holtz, V. Goian, C. Kadlec, J. Zhang, X. Lu, J.A. Drisko, R. Uecker, S. Ganschow, C.J. Long, J.C. Booth, S. Kamba, C.J. Fennie, D.A. Muller, N.D. Orloff and D.G. Schlom, Nature Materials, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-019-0564-4

GLORIA projects makes the world-wide network of robotic telescopes to all Internet users

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GLORIA project (GLObal Robotic telescope Intelligent Array for e-science) offers an opportunity to use professional observatories to study night sky to all Internet users. Four telescopes which can perform astronomical observation in a real-time already for several months will now be joined by nine others. Newly involved telescopes use a central planner which will enable those interested observations to enter a requirement which is processed usually in several days and the photos of the sky are taken by the most suitable, automatically selected telescope.

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Description

The Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences operates a robotic telescope FRAM at Pierra Augera Observatory in Argentina. In the night photo, the telescope keeps observing while a storm is coming on the horizon.

As part of the project (http://gloria-project.eu(link is external)), which started in October 2011, the first completely freely accessible network of telescopes was built which will enable anyone in the world to participate in scientific research. At present thirteen telescopes are part of the network: five in Spain, three in Chile, two in the Czech Republic, one in Argentina, one in South Africa and one in Russia.

The philosophy of the project is the principle of collective intelligence and the division of risks: the more eyes observe the sky the bigger chance there is that the respective observation will be successful and the more we can thus learn. In the prepared experiments users can observe the activity of the Sun or the variables of a star. They can also propose their own experiments which will use the infrastructure of the robotic telescopes network. Experiments are available at the web address https://users.gloria-project.eu(link is external).

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Description

Two telescopes of the GLORIA network are operated by the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Ondřejov – telescope D50 (on the left) and BART (on the right).

During the project solution big emphasis is put on the increase in interest in astronomy, mainly among young people and children. The GLORIA project broadcast live several important astronomical events, such as the passage of Venus in 2012, the total eclipse of the Sun in 2013 or the total eclipse of the Moon in 2014.

The GLORIA project is a three-year project funded by the EU in the 7th framework programme under the ref. number 283783, in which workers from 12 institutions from seven countries – Spain, Czech Republic, Chile, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Russia – take part. In the Czech Republic the following institutions participate in the project: Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Czech Technical University. The Astronomical Institute operates two of the robotic telescopes involved in the world wide telescope network, telescopes D50 and BART, which are located in Ondřejov. The Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences operates a robotic telescope FRAM at Pierra Augera Observatory in Argentina. More information about the partners of the project can be found at http://gloria-project.eu/about/partners.


More information about the project and its results will be provided by:
doc. RNDr. René Hudec, CSc., Astronomical Institute of the CAS, rene [dot] hudec [at] asu [dot] cas [dot] cz
doc. Mgr. Petr Páta, Ph.D.,Czech Technical University, pata [at] fel [dot] cvut [dot] cz
RNDr. Michael Prouza, Ph.D., Institute of Physics of the CAS, prouza [at] fzu [dot] cz

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Calculation cluster Dorje has finished its operation

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Cluster Dorje was bought in November 2008 as new computing capacity for demanding scientific calculations in the area of solid states physics. At its time it was one of the most powerful supercomputers in the Czech Republic. Its theoretical power was 5.1 TeraFlops and the real measured one 4.2 TeraFlops.

It was a highly powerful system based on the GI Altix ICE 8200 system which was provided by SILICON GRAPHICS, s.r.o. The original set consisted of 64 compute nodes and 3 service servers. Each compute node was fitted with 2 four-core processors of Intel Xeon E5420 type, 2.50 GHz and 8 GB memory. Altogether 512 compute cores were available for scientific computations. Compute nodes were interconnected in InfiniBand network of 4x DDR type at the speed of 20 Gbit/s and as disc-less they shared one central disk space SGI InfiniteStorage220 of the 6 TB size. In the first three years the cluster was further extended by 1 TB memory and by further data field SGI InfiniteStorage5000 with 4 TB storage space.

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Description

Dorje Cluster

The Cluster ran under the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server operating system with the software extension SGI ProPack and SGI Foundation Software. The whole system was administered using the SGI Tempo tool.

After installation and tests the cluster was ceremonially put to operation in the spring of 2009. It worked without big problems and almost non-stop until the end of September 2018 when its operation was officially ended. It was definitely switched off on 30 January 2015 to free space of a new cluster.

 

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Description

Participants in the concluding seminar enjoyed cake in the shape of Dorje.

For the duration of its operation 180 thousand tasks was started which means 22.5 thousand tasks a year on average, i.e. 1900 tasks a month. More than 15.5 million hours of machine time was used for computing, i.e. 650 thousand days, 1 783 years. The detailed statistics of the use was described in publication [1].

Dorje cluster was used to solve a number of problems from the area of solid states physics, e.g. Looking for new materials for future applications in the so called spin electronics, studies of magnetic properties of artificially prepared thin layers and nanostructures, studies of galvano-magnetic properties of magnetic materials with a complicated grid structure, the research of electron structure, magnetic and optical properties of solids, computations of electron and atom structure of surfaces and atom clusters including the simulation of the interaction of the microscope probe with the studied surface, or the study of magneto-crystalline anisotropy of monolayers and absorbed atoms on precious metal surfaces. The results of the computations were published in more than 110 scientific articles and were presented at a number of conferences, workshops and seminars.

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Description

Jiří Chudoba handed over a Commemorative Certificate to the supplier’s representative

The purchase of the cluster was financed by the Grant Agency of the Czech Academy of Sciences as part of the Nanotechnologies for the Society programme of the “Functional Hybrid Nanosytsems of Semiconductors and Metals with Organic Substances” project (KAN400100701) and by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic, “Impurities and Defects in Magnetit” (202/08/0541). The cluster operation was supported by the funds of the FZU.

The successor of the Dorje cluster was Luna2013 cluster purchased in December 2013. The new cluster is integrated to the MetaCentrum environment. It consists of 47 compute nodes of the SuperMicro SuperServer 6017R‑NTF type. Each compute node is fitted with 2 eight-core processors Intel Xeon E5‑2650 v2, 2.6 GHz, 96 GB memory and local disc of the 800 GB size. The compute nodes are interconnected by InfiniBand network of 4x QDR type with the speed of 40 Gbit/s. Altogether 752 compute cores were available for scientific computations and 4.5 TB of memory. The theoretical power of the whole cluster is 15.6 TeraFlops, which means three times the power of the Dorje cluster. Users have been using Luna2013 cluster since January 2014.


Links:
[1] Klastr Dorje: SGI Altix ICE 8200, J. Uhlířová a J. Chudoba (editoři), [online] http://www.fzu.cz/sites/default/files/klastr_Dorje_2008-2014.pdf, ISBN 978-80-905962-0-7 201