Dr Sofie Cambré receives ERC Starting Grant
16 December 2015
Sofie Cambré (Physics department, Experimental Condensed Matter Physics Laboratory) received an ERC Starting Grant from the European Commission for her research on carbon nanotubes.
The ERC Starting grants are one of the most prestigious research grants for young researchers in Europe.
In the project entitled ‘ORDERin1D’, dr. Cambré will exploit carbon nanotubes to orden individual molecules into single rows inside the nanotubes, aiming for preparing materials with new properties. On a long term this could lead to various applications in nano optics and nano electronics.
Carbon nanotubes are cylinders with a wall consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms. They can be synthesized with different, very precise diameters of about one millionth of a millimeter, just large enough to fit several functional molecules. Such molecules that are aligned in a onedimensional row possess very different properties from the bulk material.
In collaboration with other researchers from the University of Antwerp, Sofie Cambré has demonstrated that these molecules in such a onedimensional row, automatically align head-to-tail, thereby strengthening their opto-electronic properties. This is for example interesting to change the wavelength of lasers. There are also ideas to use the filling of the nanotubes for the ultraselective detection and filtration on a molecular level of fluids and gasses, and, since the nanotubes are extremely long, they can also be used to transport molecules on a chip in ‘lab-on-a-chip’ applications.
Schematic representation of a nanotube