German Research Foundation (DFG) grants for research into new materials and space weather

17 May 2023

Chemist Simon Kloß and space plasma physicist Elena Kronberg have been awarded DFG research grants through the Emmy Noether and Heisenberg programs.

Transition metal nitrides and energetic ions in space are at the heart of projects by LMU researchers Simon Kloß and Elena Kronberg, which have been awarded funding by the German Research Foundation (DFG) through its Emmy Noether and Heisenberg programs.

Manufacturing new materials at high pressures

Dr. Simon Kloß | © privat

Chemist Dr. Simon Kloß heads a working group in the Inorganic Chemistry research area at the Department of Chemistry. For his research, he has been awarded funding of 1.7 million euros by the German Research Foundation through the Emmy Noether Programme.

Special nitrogen compounds known as transition metal nitrides are a highly promising class of materials for numerous applications, such as semiconductors for photovoltaics, superconductors, and ferroelectrics for 5G technology. Their potential has not been exhausted, however, as access to this class of materials is very limited with conventional synthesis methods.

In his project “Functional Transition Metal Nitrides”, Simon Kloß wants to develop modern high-pressure synthesis methods on basis of large-volume-presses as well as diamond anvil cells. Pressures in the gigapascal range, that is to say, several tens of thousands of bars, enable the preparation of new and particularly nitrogen-rich materials. Kloß will then use solid-state physics methods to investigate the characteristics of these materials, such as their magnetic properties and conductivity. “It’s surprising how little we currently know about transition metal nitrides, even though they’re the nearest relatives of the widely used transition metal oxides,” says Kloß. “Our new approach gives us the opportunity to systematically investigate highly oxidized systems for the first time. We want to explore very fundamental questions – such as what the highest obtainable oxidation levels are – but also to research materials with potential applications such as the nitride perovskites.”

The Emmy Noether Programme supports exceptionally qualified early career researchers and gives them the chance to qualify for the post of professor at a university by leading an independent junior research group.

Improving space weather forecasting

Dr. Elena Kronberg | © Nadine Lieder Photography

Dr. Elena Kronberg is a space plasma physicist in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences/Geophysics at LMU’s Faculty of Geosciences. She was recently awarded funding for her research through the Heisenberg Programme.

A variety of radiations and particles whizz through the emptiness of space. Some of them can endanger and damage satellites and pose other risks. High-energy ions belong to this category.

As part of her Heisenberg project entitled “Energetic Ions in Space”, Elena Kronberg wants to shed new light on the dynamics of these energetic charged particles. To this end, she will use theoretical approaches and space observations. “Understanding the ion dynamics in space is important for protecting satellites from hazardous particles,” says Kronberg. Combining space observations, models based on artificial intelligence, and global space weather simulations, the project aims to bring space weather predictions to a new level.

The Heisenberg Programme funds outstanding scientists who meet all the conditions for appointment to a permanent professorship. In this way, the researchers can prepare for a scientific leadership function and simultaneously work on further research topics.

What are you looking for?