Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems receive more than 3 Million Euro ERC Starting Grants
ERC Starting Program granted by the European Research council for the next 5 years
January 20, 2015
Stuttgart / Tübingen. Five years of basic research is secured: The physicist Dr. Laura Na Liu and the computer scientist Dr. Ludovic Righetti, both from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, receive an ERC Starting Grant of 1,5 Million Euro, respectively. Prof. Jan Peters, head of the robot learning group at the institute (while mainly active as full professor at the TU Darmstadt) will invest part of his ERC starting grant into his research group at the institute. The researchers have won against 3.273 applicants - only 10 per cent of the submitted project appraisals receive the requested award, granted by the European Research Council (ERC).
Because of the intense competition, the grants grade up the curriculum vitae of the researchers and enable young scientists in Europe, which are in their second to seventh year after graduation to develop their own career towards an independent scientist.
Innovative Nano-Research in Stuttgart
Dr. Laura Na Liu submitted her project with the title „dynamic nanoplasmonics“ and suceeded finally at the interview stage in front of an international expert panel in Brussels. Only 30% of applicants survive this last hurdle.
“The ERC grant provides a significant opportunity for me to engage with other pioneering scientists in the field, which helps me gain ideas and motivation for furthering my research career. The accomplishment of this research proposal will be an invaluable asset to my career as an expert in the field of nanophotonics and biochemistry. The long-term endeavor of my group is to gain a leading role in this cutting-edge research field and to continue to pursue excellence” states Dr. Laura Na Liu.
The project „dynamic nanoplasmonics“ got approval by the expert pannel and independant research is now secure for the next 5 years.
Laura Na Liu`s group works at the nanometer scale, where chemistry, biology, and materials sciences converge. The subtopic of nanoplasmonics deals with localization and manipulation of light in a nanometer volume. The key material component for plasmonics is metals. The optical properties of metal nanoparticles have been an object of fascination since ancient times. When light interacts with a metal nanoparticle (for example a gold colloid in a stained church window), collective oscillations of conduction electrons known as particle plasmons are excited.
Functionalized metallic nanoparticle assemblies with well-designed configurations enable intriguing optical properties and offer a helpful hand for understanding profound biochemical behavior. The group focuses on developing sophisticated and smart plasmonic nanostructures for answering structural biology questions and catalytic chemistry questions in local environments.