In the proposed project “Spin-Orbit Coupling at Interfaces from Spintronics to new Superconducting effects” (SOCISS) the experienced researcher Dr. Juan Borge and the scientist in charge Prof. Angel Rubio, Head of the Nano-Bio Spectroscopy (NBS) group at the university of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), aim at stablish a complete description of interfacial spin-orbit coupling. This understanding will allow us to describe many transport, both electrical and spin, phenomena, and to include the effect of this interaction in normal and superconducting alloys. This study will be done following two different approaches; a theoretical description using effective kinetic equations, and through simulations performed with a computational platform combining recent theoretical developments in density functional theory and many body physics.SOCISS responds to two different purposes, the implementation of its results into the realization of new devices, and contribute to a deeper understanding on the fundamental relations in quantum mechanics. On one hand interfacial spin-orbit coupling looks one of the best alternatives to heavy atoms in the research of new materials with high values of the spin Hall and Edelstein conductivities. On the other hand SOCISS provides the perfect opportunity to gain some insight into the relation between the spin and the charge of the electron in equilibrium and non-equilibrium situations. The skills the researcher will acquire in computational methods and superconductivity will be essential in order to advance its career as an independent investigator.
The photocatalytic conversion of CO2 into valuable chemicals such as CO is a promising solution to mitigate both the health and environmental impact from green house gases. The photocatalytic field faces several challenges towards their industrial deployment under competitive scale. Several knowledge gaps exist in the design and understanding of photo-active materials mimicking the organic reactions catalysed by nature. The training tasks in PHOCAT, under the supervision of Prof. Arias (Host, EHU, Spain) and a 4-month secondment period with Prof. Ravelli (UNIP, Italy) will provide the researcher with new skills in chemical reaction engineering, material science and operando spectroscopy. PHOCAT will explore new chemical engineering concepts, related to photocatalyst design, catalysis, spectroscopy and engineering in order to enhance CO productivity from CO2 and H2O reactants. Specifically, PHOCAT will tailor the electronic and redox features in C3N4 materials, tested under unprecedented capillary solvation methods and operando synchrotron XAS. This scientific approach will contribute to design innovative photocatalytic process with potential industrial application. This MSCA-PF will certainly contribute the researcher to be trained in new scientific and transferable skills, enhancing the career perspectives to become an independent and mature researcher in the EU in the near future.
Modern plant varieties have been bred to grow and increase production under non limiting soil conditions and have consequently lost their ability to capture resources efficiently. Designing an efficient fertiliser requires optimising bioavailability and mobility of nutrients. Unfortunately, bio-availability and mobility are often antagonistic. Traditional fertilisers, which package soluble mineral elements into granules, are easily acquired by plant roots but have been linked to excessive loss to the environment and pollution. Slow release fertilisation has been proposed to slow down the diffusion of nutrients to the soil, including the use of nanotechnology, but slowing down the diffusion of nutrients excessively affects root uptake. Biological fertilisation is inspired from known mechanisms observed in soil, but maintaining efficient colonisation of the root by beneficial microbes is challenging. New approaches must be developed to better control the associations taking place between plants and beneficial microbes, since fundamental knowledge to achieve this target is nowadays lacking. Roots exude a huge diversity of biomolecules, and their role in maintaining adequate beneficial microbes are mostly unknown and rarely studied. The aim of the RhizoSheet project is to apply cutting-edge microfluidic techniques based on hybrid paper-polymer technology for device fabrication. Optical sensors and novel functional materials will be applied as biochemical sensors to gain knowledge on the location of compounds secreted by roots and on the response of roots over time, when interacting with soil microbes. The acquired knowledge will be highly beneficial for the scientific and agricultural community and finds the interest of the EU in soil and food safety, the RhizoSheet project meets the interest of the Horizon Europe - the next research and innovation framework programme in particular the natural resources in Pillar 1.
Saturn’s moon Titan is the only world in the Solar System besides Earth where rains reach the surface. Due to the cryogenic temperatures, these rains are not made of water but of methane. It accumulates in polar lakes and mud terrains, which seasonally evaporate, producing a methane hydrological cycle. Cloud localisations and precipitation events unveiled by recent missions are still not well understood. Climate models would help this endeavor, but they are currently missing crucial physical descriptions (especially air-surface interactions). The T’LALOC project aims to solve Titan’s complex methane cycle by developing a model to address the currently open key questions: (Q1) the influence of lakes and wetlands; (Q2) seasonal effects; and, (Q3) methane storm impacts. We will obtain an unprecedented next-generation Titan global climate model by incorporating and improving building blocks from three existing regional models developed at SwRI, LMD and UPV/EHU. Each of these models individually specializes in one of the issues above (Q1-2-3). Upon completion we will obtain the first advanced model able to reproduce the hydrological cycle and interpret observations of clouds and rain events. The project will start at a strategic timing: close to the end of the Cassini-Huygens mission (2004-2017), at the first light of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST, 2022), during the preparation of the Dragonfly mission (launch in 2026) and at the definition of a future EU mission. The large set of data by Cassini and the new data by JWST have to be exploited in urgency to improve our current atmospheric models and to be able to simulate weather conditions at the surface, which impacts the Dragonfly rotorcraft operations and science return. This project brings together world leaders in Titan climate modelling from the US and EU, sows the seeds for collaboration on future missions to Titan, and positions the fellow and the host EU teams as references in Titan climate modelling.