A new Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship at FZU

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The results of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship (MSCA IF) 2018 were announced at the end of February. Gizem Sengör, PhD, a member of Dr Constantinos Skordis’ team at the FZU and the new MSCA fellow, will start working on her project in the autumn of 2019. She will be joining two MSCA fellows at FZU, Ladislav Straka and Ondřej Hort, and two recipients of the MSCA IF Mobility, Enrique Montes Muñoz, MSc., PhD and John Mangeri, PhD. The Institute has so far hosted ten MSCA IF projects.

The MSCA fellowships are given to scientists at various stages of their scientific career for the duration of two years, with the lower eligibility limit set to at least four years of research (PhD training included). The fellowship is aimed at career development, transfer of knowledge and acquisition of new skills and the development of scientists in all their potential roles - as researchers, lecturers, popularisations as well as managers.

Gizem Sengör’s project, entitled “Symmetries and Degrees of Freedom in Cosmic Epochs of Accelerated Expansion”, succeeded in the competition of 847 projects from all around the world. In the Physics Standard Fellowship panel, her project received 91 points out of 100. The funding limit was 90,8. Two other projects submitted by scientists from the FZU were ranked closely below the minimum limit (90,2 and 90,6 points); they are now on a reserve list. Both projects will, in any case, receive a Seal of Excellence that is awarded to projects with over 85 points. Close to the limit of 85 points was also one 3-year MSCA IF – Global Fellowship project on research to be partially conducted in a non-EU country (92 submitted applications in the GF category, with the funding limit of 90,2 points). And finally, two other projects from FZU were ranked above the 80 points threshold - these may be funded by the MEYS’ MSCA IF Mobility programme.

Gizem Sengör studied physics at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, she received her PhD in 2018 at Syracuse University, New York, USA. She has completed an internship at the University of Amsterdam. Since February 2019, she has worked in the CEICO cosmology group at FZU. In her work, she will concentrate on the description of fields in cosmic epochs of accelerated expansion. According to observations, there are two such eras that take place in the history of the universe. First of these is the rapid expansion of the universe shortly after it was formed and this era is called the “inflation period”. The second period began around five billion years ago and has continued to exist until today as a result of the dominance of dark energy. The research will be based on the symmetries of an ideal rapidly expanding spacetime. It will study how deformations of such symmetries change the properties of the spacetime and the fields that can be considered as effective degrees of freedom of this spacetime, using what is referred to as the “holographic principle”. The project is to enable a better understanding of the accelerated expansion of the universe at a fundamental level.

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The history of the universe as drawn by Gizem Sengör. The rate of the expansion at any moment t is proportional to the value of instantaneous Hubble constant H(t). The fastest expansion took place during the inflation period after which H(t) decreased. The drop stopped with the beginning of the era of dark energy domination. The vertices denoted by "dS" correspond to de Sitter spacetime which is the ideal description of an acceleratingly expanding spacetime. "O" denotes the operators we wish to study such that they cause deviations away from or towards the ideal case. With this project we want to understand how these operators correspond to matter fields and their properties at the early and late time universe.

Ladislav Straka, the researcher at the Department of Magnetic Measurements and Materials, has examined physics behind the functionality of materials with magnetic shape memory. His FUNMAH project, running from 2017 to 2019, aims at the exploration of new material functionalities by controlling magnetic hysteresis as recently discovered by the researcher. These results pave the way for a deeper understanding of new effects associated with magnetic shape memory phenomenon. Their application is foreseeable in medicine in the form of actuators, in microfluidics and in energy generators.

Ondřej Hort has examined the coherent amplification and parametric generation of extreme ultraviolet radiation (XUV). He seeks to create much stronger pulses than those we are able to generate today. Such pulses might then be used in many applications in atomic physics and physical chemistry. The CHAMPAGNE project has been running from 2018 to 2020 at the ELI Beamlines laser workplace.

Enrique Montes Muñoz has worked on the improvement of molecular interaction models in the framework of his project entitled MOLECOR, implemented at the Department of Thin Films and Nanostructures. The code he develops represents an accurate description of the energy states of not only isolated molecules but also of multiple molecule clusters capable of strong mutual interaction. This research topic plays an important role in molecular surface science and molecular transport simulations.

John Mangeri from the Department of Dielectrics has worked on the modelling of the GaV4S8 multiferroic material. Multiferroics have a number of unique properties which can be altered by applying external action. They have a range of application for example in nanotechnologies. In the construction of micron- and smaller-sized devices (millionths of a meter) however, phenomena related to the motion of molecules and quantum physics occur. Thus, the objective of the GVSLGD project is to improve the understanding of the GaV4S8 multiferroic material and to develop an open-source software which allows scientists to predict the properties of similar multiferroics.