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2020


AirCapRL: Autonomous Aerial Human Motion Capture Using Deep Reinforcement Learning
AirCapRL: Autonomous Aerial Human Motion Capture Using Deep Reinforcement Learning

Tallamraju, R., Saini, N., Bonetto, E., Pabst, M., Liu, Y. T., Black, M., Ahmad, A.

IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 5(4):6678 - 6685, IEEE, October 2020, Also accepted and presented in the 2020 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS). (article)

Abstract
In this letter, we introduce a deep reinforcement learning (DRL) based multi-robot formation controller for the task of autonomous aerial human motion capture (MoCap). We focus on vision-based MoCap, where the objective is to estimate the trajectory of body pose, and shape of a single moving person using multiple micro aerial vehicles. State-of-the-art solutions to this problem are based on classical control methods, which depend on hand-crafted system, and observation models. Such models are difficult to derive, and generalize across different systems. Moreover, the non-linearities, and non-convexities of these models lead to sub-optimal controls. In our work, we formulate this problem as a sequential decision making task to achieve the vision-based motion capture objectives, and solve it using a deep neural network-based RL method. We leverage proximal policy optimization (PPO) to train a stochastic decentralized control policy for formation control. The neural network is trained in a parallelized setup in synthetic environments. We performed extensive simulation experiments to validate our approach. Finally, real-robot experiments demonstrate that our policies generalize to real world conditions.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

2020


link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Chiroptical spectroscopy of a freely diffusing single nanoparticle
Chiroptical spectroscopy of a freely diffusing single nanoparticle

Sachs, J., Günther, J., Mark, A. G., Fischer, P.

Nature Communications, 11(4513), September 2020 (article)

Abstract
Chiral plasmonic nanoparticles can exhibit strong chiroptical signals compared to the corresponding molecular response. Observations are, however, generally restricted to measurements on stationary single particles with a fixed orientation, which complicates the spectral analysis. Here, we report the spectroscopic observation of a freely diffusing single chiral nanoparticle in solution. By acquiring time-resolved circular differential scattering signals we show that the spectral interpretation is significantly simplified. We experimentally demonstrate the equivalence between time-averaged chiral spectra observed for an individual nanostructure and the corresponding ensemble spectra, and thereby demonstrate the ergodic principle for chiroptical spectroscopy. We also show how it is possible for an achiral particle to yield an instantaneous chiroptical response, whereas the time-averaged signals are an unequivocal measure of chirality. Time-resolved chiroptical spectroscopy on a freely moving chiral nanoparticle advances the field of single-particle spectroscopy, and is a means to obtain the true signature of the nanoparticle’s chirality.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Microchannels with Self-Pumping Walls
Microchannels with Self-Pumping Walls

Yu, T., Athanassiadis, A., Popescu, M., Chikkadi, V., Güth, A., Singh, D., Qiu, T., Fischer, P.

ACS Nano, September 2020 (article)

Abstract
When asymmetric Janus micromotors are immobilized on a surface, they act as chemically powered micropumps, turning chemical energy from the fluid into a bulk flow. However, such pumps have previously produced only localized recirculating flows, which cannot be used to pump fluid in one direction. Here, we demonstrate that an array of three-dimensional, photochemically active Au/TiO2 Janus pillars can pump water. Upon UV illumination, a water-splitting reaction rapidly creates a directional bulk flow above the active surface. By lining a 2D microchannel with such active surfaces, various flow profiles are created within the channels. Analytical and numerical models of a channel with active surfaces predict flow profiles that agree very well with the experimental results. The light-driven active surfaces provide a way to wirelessly pump fluids at small scales and could be used for real-time, localized flow control in complex microfluidic networks.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Scalable Fabrication of Molybdenum Disulfide Nanostructures and their Assembly
Scalable Fabrication of Molybdenum Disulfide Nanostructures and their Assembly

Huang, Y., Yu, K., Li, H., Liang, Z., Walker, D., Ferreira, P., Fischer, P., Fan, D.

Adv. Mat., (2003439), September 2020 (article)

Abstract
Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is a multifunctional material that can be used for various applications. In the single‐crystalline form, MoS2 shows superior electronic properties. It is also an exceptionally useful nanomaterial in its polycrystalline form with applications in catalysis, energy storage, water treatment, and gas sensing. Here, the scalable fabrication of longitudinal MoS2 nanostructures, i.e., nanoribbons, and their oxide hybrids with tunable dimensions in a rational and well‐reproducible fashion, is reported. The nanoribbons, obtained at different reaction stages, that is, MoO3, MoS2/MoO2 hybrid, and MoS2, are fully characterized. The growth method presented herein has a high yield and is particularly robust. The MoS2 nanoribbons can readily be removed from its substrate and dispersed in solution. It is shown that functionalized MoS2 nanoribbons can be manipulated in solution and assembled in controlled patterns and directly on microelectrodes with UV‐click‐chemistry. Owing to the high chemical purity and polycrystalline nature, the MoS2 nanostructures demonstrate rapid optoelectronic response to wavelengths from 450 to 750 nm, and successfully remove mercury contaminants from water. The scalable fabrication and manipulation followed by light‐directed assembly of MoS2 nanoribbons, and their unique properties, will be inspiring for device fabrication and applications of the transition metal dichalcogenides.

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link (url) [BibTex]

link (url) [BibTex]


Spatial ultrasound modulation by digitally controlling microbubble arrays
Spatial ultrasound modulation by digitally controlling microbubble arrays

Ma, Z., Melde, K., Athanassiadis, A. G., Schau, M., Richter, H., Qiu, T., Fischer, P.

Nature Communications, 11(4537), September 2020 (article)

Abstract
Acoustic waves, capable of transmitting through optically opaque objects, have been widely used in biomedical imaging, industrial sensing and particle manipulation. High-fidelity wavefront shaping is essential to further improve performance in these applications. An acoustic analog to the successful spatial light modulator (SLM) in optics would be highly desirable. To date there have been no techniques shown that provide effective and dynamic modulation of a sound wave and which also support scale-up to a high number of individually addressable pixels. In the present study, we introduce a dynamic spatial ultrasound modulator (SUM),which dynamically reshapes incident plane waves into complex acoustic images. Its trans-mission function is set with a digitally generated pattern of microbubbles controlled by a complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) chip, which results in a binary amplitude acoustic hologram. We employ this device to project sequentially changing acoustic images and demonstrate the first dynamic parallel assembly of microparticles using a SUM.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Characterization of active matter in dense suspensions with heterodyne laser Doppler velocimetry
Characterization of active matter in dense suspensions with heterodyne laser Doppler velocimetry

Sachs, J., Kottapalli, S. N., Fischer, P., Botin, D., Palberg, T.

Colloid and Polymer Science, August 2020 (article)

Abstract
We present a novel approach for characterizing the properties and performance of active matter in dilute suspension as well as in crowded environments. We use Super-Heterodyne Laser-Doppler-Velocimetry (SH-LDV) to study large ensembles of catalytically active Janus particles moving under UV illumination. SH-LDV facilitates a model-free determination of the swimming speed and direction, with excellent ensemble averaging. In addition, we obtain information on the distribution of the catalytic activity. Moreover, SH-LDV operates away from walls and permits a facile correction for multiple scattering contributions. It thus allows for studies of concentrated suspensions of swimmers or of systems where swimmers propel actively in an environment crowded by passive particles. We demonstrate the versatility and the scope of the method with a few selected examples. We anticipate that SH-LDV complements established methods and paves the way for systematic measurements at previously inaccessible boundary conditions.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


3D Morphable Face Models - Past, Present and Future
3D Morphable Face Models - Past, Present and Future

Egger, B., Smith, W. A. P., Tewari, A., Wuhrer, S., Zollhoefer, M., Beeler, T., Bernard, F., Bolkart, T., Kortylewski, A., Romdhani, S., Theobalt, C., Blanz, V., Vetter, T.

ACM Transactions on Graphics, 39(5), August 2020 (article)

Abstract
In this paper, we provide a detailed survey of 3D Morphable Face Models over the 20 years since they were first proposed. The challenges in building and applying these models, namely capture, modeling, image formation, and image analysis, are still active research topics, and we review the state-of-the-art in each of these areas. We also look ahead, identifying unsolved challenges, proposing directions for future research and highlighting the broad range of current and future applications.

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project page pdf preprint DOI [BibTex]

project page pdf preprint DOI [BibTex]


Analysis of motor development within the first year of life: 3-{D} motion tracking without markers for early detection of developmental disorders
Analysis of motor development within the first year of life: 3-D motion tracking without markers for early detection of developmental disorders

Parisi, C., Hesse, N., Tacke, U., Rocamora, S. P., Blaschek, A., Hadders-Algra, M., Black, M. J., Heinen, F., Müller-Felber, W., Schroeder, A. S.

Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz, 63, pages: 881–890, July 2020 (article)

Abstract
Children with motor development disorders benefit greatly from early interventions. An early diagnosis in pediatric preventive care (U2–U5) can be improved by automated screening. Current approaches to automated motion analysis, however, are expensive, require lots of technical support, and cannot be used in broad clinical application. Here we present an inexpensive, marker-free video analysis tool (KineMAT) for infants, which digitizes 3‑D movements of the entire body over time allowing automated analysis in the future. Three-minute video sequences of spontaneously moving infants were recorded with a commercially available depth-imaging camera and aligned with a virtual infant body model (SMIL model). The virtual image generated allows any measurements to be carried out in 3‑D with high precision. We demonstrate seven infants with different diagnoses. A selection of possible movement parameters was quantified and aligned with diagnosis-specific movement characteristics. KineMAT and the SMIL model allow reliable, three-dimensional measurements of spontaneous activity in infants with a very low error rate. Based on machine-learning algorithms, KineMAT can be trained to automatically recognize pathological spontaneous motor skills. It is inexpensive and easy to use and can be developed into a screening tool for preventive care for children.

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pdf on-line w/ sup mat DOI [BibTex]

pdf on-line w/ sup mat DOI [BibTex]


Learning Variable Impedance Control for Contact Sensitive Tasks
Learning Variable Impedance Control for Contact Sensitive Tasks

Bogdanovic, M., Khadiv, M., Righetti, L.

IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters ( Early Access ), IEEE, July 2020 (article)

Abstract
Reinforcement learning algorithms have shown great success in solving different problems ranging from playing video games to robotics. However, they struggle to solve delicate robotic problems, especially those involving contact interactions. Though in principle a policy outputting joint torques should be able to learn these tasks, in practice we see that they have difficulty to robustly solve the problem without any structure in the action space. In this paper, we investigate how the choice of action space can give robust performance in presence of contact uncertainties. We propose to learn a policy that outputs impedance and desired position in joint space as a function of system states without imposing any other structure to the problem. We compare the performance of this approach to torque and position control policies under different contact uncertainties. Extensive simulation results on two different systems, a hopper (floating-base) with intermittent contacts and a manipulator (fixed-base) wiping a table, show that our proposed approach outperforms policies outputting torque or position in terms of both learning rate and robustness to environment uncertainty.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


Walking Control Based on Step Timing Adaptation
Walking Control Based on Step Timing Adaptation

Khadiv, M., Herzog, A., Moosavian, S. A. A., Righetti, L.

IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 36, pages: 629 - 643, IEEE, June 2020 (article)

Abstract
Step adjustment can improve the gait robustness of biped robots; however, the adaptation of step timing is often neglected as it gives rise to nonconvex problems when optimized over several footsteps. In this article, we argue that it is not necessary to optimize walking over several steps to ensure gait viability and show that it is sufficient to merely select the next step timing and location. Using this insight, we propose a novel walking pattern generator that optimally selects step location and timing at every control cycle. Our approach is computationally simple compared to standard approaches in the literature, yet guarantees that any viable state will remain viable in the future. We propose a swing foot adaptation strategy and integrate the pattern generator with an inverse dynamics controller that does not explicitly control the center of mass nor the foot center of pressure. This is particularly useful for biped robots with limited control authority over their foot center of pressure, such as robots with point feet or passive ankles. Extensive simulations on a humanoid robot with passive ankles demonstrate the capabilities of the approach in various walking situations, including external pushes and foot slippage, and emphasize the importance of step timing adaptation to stabilize walking.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Learning and Tracking the {3D} Body Shape of Freely Moving Infants from {RGB-D} sequences
Learning and Tracking the 3D Body Shape of Freely Moving Infants from RGB-D sequences

Hesse, N., Pujades, S., Black, M., Arens, M., Hofmann, U., Schroeder, S.

IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (TPAMI), 42(10):2540-2551, 2020 (article)

Abstract
Statistical models of the human body surface are generally learned from thousands of high-quality 3D scans in predefined poses to cover the wide variety of human body shapes and articulations. Acquisition of such data requires expensive equipment, calibration procedures, and is limited to cooperative subjects who can understand and follow instructions, such as adults. We present a method for learning a statistical 3D Skinned Multi-Infant Linear body model (SMIL) from incomplete, low-quality RGB-D sequences of freely moving infants. Quantitative experiments show that SMIL faithfully represents the RGB-D data and properly factorizes the shape and pose of the infants. To demonstrate the applicability of SMIL, we fit the model to RGB-D sequences of freely moving infants and show, with a case study, that our method captures enough motion detail for General Movements Assessment (GMA), a method used in clinical practice for early detection of neurodevelopmental disorders in infants. SMIL provides a new tool for analyzing infant shape and movement and is a step towards an automated system for GMA.

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pdf Journal DOI [BibTex]

pdf Journal DOI [BibTex]


Biocompatible magnetic micro‐ and nanodevices: Fabrication of FePt nanopropellers and cell transfection
Biocompatible magnetic micro‐ and nanodevices: Fabrication of FePt nanopropellers and cell transfection

Kadiri, V. M., Bussi, C., Holle, A. W., Son, K., Kwon, H., Schütz, G., Gutierrez, M. G., Fischer, P.

Adv. Mat., 32(2001114), May 2020 (article)

Abstract
The application of nanoparticles for drug or gene delivery promises benefits in the form of single‐cell‐specific therapeutic and diagnostic capabilities. Many methods of cell transfection rely on unspecific means to increase the transport of genetic material into cells. Targeted transport is in principle possible with magnetically propelled micromotors, which allow responsive nanoscale actuation and delivery. However, many commonly used magnetic materials (e.g., Ni and Co) are not biocompatible, possess weak magnetic remanence (Fe3O4), or cannot be implemented in nanofabrication schemes (NdFeB). Here, it is demonstrated that co‐depositing iron (Fe) and platinum (Pt) followed by one single annealing step, without the need for solution processing, yields ferromagnetic FePt nanomotors that are noncytotoxic, biocompatible, and possess a remanence and magnetization that rival those of permanent NdFeB micromagnets. Active cell targeting and magnetic transfection of lung carcinoma cells are demonstrated using gradient‐free rotating millitesla fields to drive the FePt nanopropellers. The carcinoma cells express enhanced green fluorescent protein after internalization and cell viability is unaffected by the presence of the FePt nanopropellers. The results establish FePt, prepared in the L10 phase, as a promising magnetic material for biomedical applications with superior magnetic performance, especially for micro‐ and nanodevices.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Interface-mediated spontaneous symmetry breaking and mutual communication between drops containing chemically active particles
Interface-mediated spontaneous symmetry breaking and mutual communication between drops containing chemically active particles

Singh, D., Domínguez, A., Choudhury, U., Kottapalli, S., Popescu, M., Dietrich, S., Fischer, P.

Nature Communications, 11(2210), May 2020 (article)

Abstract
Symmetry breaking and the emergence of self-organized patterns is the hallmark of com- plexity. Here, we demonstrate that a sessile drop, containing titania powder particles with negligible self-propulsion, exhibits a transition to collective motion leading to self-organized flow patterns. This phenomenology emerges through a novel mechanism involving the interplay between the chemical activity of the photocatalytic particles, which induces Mar- angoni stresses at the liquid–liquid interface, and the geometrical confinement provided by the drop. The response of the interface to the chemical activity of the particles is the source of a significantly amplified hydrodynamic flow within the drop, which moves the particles. Furthermore, in ensembles of such active drops long-ranged ordering of the flow patterns within the drops is observed. We show that the ordering is dictated by a chemical com- munication between drops, i.e., an alignment of the flow patterns is induced by the gradients of the chemicals emanating from the active particles, rather than by hydrodynamic interactions.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


General Movement Assessment from videos of computed {3D} infant body models is equally effective compared to conventional {RGB} Video rating
General Movement Assessment from videos of computed 3D infant body models is equally effective compared to conventional RGB Video rating

Schroeder, S., Hesse, N., Weinberger, R., Tacke, U., Gerstl, L., Hilgendorff, A., Heinen, F., Arens, M., Bodensteiner, C., Dijkstra, L. J., Pujades, S., Black, M., Hadders-Algra, M.

Early Human Development, 144, May 2020 (article)

Abstract
Background: General Movement Assessment (GMA) is a powerful tool to predict Cerebral Palsy (CP). Yet, GMA requires substantial training hampering its implementation in clinical routine. This inspired a world-wide quest for automated GMA. Aim: To test whether a low-cost, marker-less system for three-dimensional motion capture from RGB depth sequences using a whole body infant model may serve as the basis for automated GMA. Study design: Clinical case study at an academic neurodevelopmental outpatient clinic. Subjects: Twenty-nine high-risk infants were recruited and assessed at their clinical follow-up at 2-4 month corrected age (CA). Their neurodevelopmental outcome was assessed regularly up to 12-31 months CA. Outcome measures: GMA according to Hadders-Algra by a masked GMA-expert of conventional and computed 3D body model (“SMIL motion”) videos of the same GMs. Agreement between both GMAs was assessed, and sensitivity and specificity of both methods to predict CP at ≥12 months CA. Results: The agreement of the two GMA ratings was substantial, with κ=0.66 for the classification of definitely abnormal (DA) GMs and an ICC of 0.887 (95% CI 0.762;0.947) for a more detailed GM-scoring. Five children were diagnosed with CP (four bilateral, one unilateral CP). The GMs of the child with unilateral CP were twice rated as mildly abnormal. DA-ratings of both videos predicted bilateral CP well: sensitivity 75% and 100%, specificity 88% and 92% for conventional and SMIL motion videos, respectively. Conclusions: Our computed infant 3D full body model is an attractive starting point for automated GMA in infants at risk of CP.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


Learning Multi-Human Optical Flow
Learning Multi-Human Optical Flow

Ranjan, A., Hoffmann, D. T., Tzionas, D., Tang, S., Romero, J., Black, M. J.

International Journal of Computer Vision (IJCV), (128):873-890, April 2020 (article)

Abstract
The optical flow of humans is well known to be useful for the analysis of human action. Recent optical flow methods focus on training deep networks to approach the problem. However, the training data used by them does not cover the domain of human motion. Therefore, we develop a dataset of multi-human optical flow and train optical flow networks on this dataset. We use a 3D model of the human body and motion capture data to synthesize realistic flow fields in both single-and multi-person images. We then train optical flow networks to estimate human flow fields from pairs of images. We demonstrate that our trained networks are more accurate than a wide range of top methods on held-out test data and that they can generalize well to real image sequences. The code, trained models and the dataset are available for research.

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pdf DOI poster link (url) DOI [BibTex]

pdf DOI poster link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Spectrally selective and highly-sensitive UV photodetection with UV-A, C band specific polarity switching in silver plasmonic nanoparticle enhanced gallium oxide thin-film
Spectrally selective and highly-sensitive UV photodetection with UV-A, C band specific polarity switching in silver plasmonic nanoparticle enhanced gallium oxide thin-film

Arora, K., Singh, D., Fischer, P., Kumar, M.

Adv. Opt. Mat., March 2020 (article)

Abstract
Traditional photodetectors generally show a unipolar photocurrent response when illuminated with light of wavelength equal or shorter than the optical bandgap. Here, we report that a thin film of gallium oxide (GO) decorated with plasmonic nanoparticles, surprisingly, exhibits a change in the polarity of the photocurrent for different UV bands. Silver (Ag) nanoparticles are vacuum-deposited onto β-Ga2O3 and the AgNP@GO thin films show a record responsivity of 250 A/W, which significantly outperforms bare GO planar photodetectors. The photoresponsivity reverses sign from +157 µA/W in the UV-C band under unbiased operation to -353 µA/W in the UV-A band. The current reversal is rationalized by considering the charge dynamics stemming from hot electrons generated when the incident light excites a local surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) in the Ag nanoparticles. The Ag nanoparticles improve the external quantum efficiency and detectivity by nearly one order of magnitude with high values of 1.2×105 and 3.4×1014 Jones, respectively. This plasmon-enhanced solar blind GO detector allows UV regions to be spectrally distinguished, which is useful for the development of sensitive dynamic imaging photodetectors.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Investigating photoresponsivity of graphene-silver hybrid nanomaterials in the ultraviolet
Investigating photoresponsivity of graphene-silver hybrid nanomaterials in the ultraviolet

Deshpande, P., Suri, P., Jeong, H., Fischer, P., Ghosh, A., Ghosh, G.

J. Chem. Phys., 152, pages: 044709, January 2020 (article)

Abstract
There have been several reports of plasmonically enhanced graphene photodetectors in the visible and the near infrared regime but rarely in the ultraviolet. In a previous work, we have reported that a graphene-silver hybrid structure shows a high photoresponsivity of 13 A/W at 270 nm. Here, we consider the likely mechanisms that underlie this strong photoresponse. We investigate the role of the plasmonic layer and examine the response using silver and gold nanoparticles of similar dimensions and spatial arrangement. The effect on local doping, strain, and absorption properties of the hybrid is also probed by photocurrent measurements and Raman and UV-visible spectroscopy. We find that the local doping from the silver nanoparticles is stronger than that from gold and correlates with a measured photosensitivity that is larger in devices with a higher contact area between the plasmonic nanomaterials and the graphene layer.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


A High-Fidelity Phantom for the Simulation and Quantitative Evaluation of Transurethral Resection of the Prostate
A High-Fidelity Phantom for the Simulation and Quantitative Evaluation of Transurethral Resection of the Prostate

Choi, E., Adams, F., Gengenbacher, A., Schlager, D., Palagi, S., Müller, P., Wetterauer, U., Miernik, A., Fischer, P., Qiu, T.

Annals of Biomed. Eng., 48, pages: 437-446, January 2020 (article)

Abstract
Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) is a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure that requires experience and skill of the surgeon. To permit surgical training under realistic conditions we report a novel phantom of the human prostate that can be resected with TURP. The phantom mirrors the anatomy and haptic properties of the gland and permits quantitative evaluation of important surgical performance indicators. Mixtures of soft materials are engineered to mimic the physical properties of the human tissue, including the mechanical strength, the electrical and thermal conductivity, and the appearance under an endoscope. Electrocautery resection of the phantom closely resembles the procedure on human tissue. Ultrasound contrast agent was applied to the central zone, which was not detectable by the surgeon during the surgery but showed high contrast when imaged after the surgery, to serve as a label for the quantitative evaluation of the surgery. Quantitative criteria for performance assessment are established and evaluated by automated image analysis. We present the workflow of a surgical simulation on a prostate phantom followed by quantitative evaluation of the surgical performance. Surgery on the phantom is useful for medical training, and enables the development and testing of endoscopic and minimally invasive surgical instruments.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Interactive Materials – Drivers of Future Robotic Systems
Interactive Materials – Drivers of Future Robotic Systems

Fischer, P.

Adv. Mat., January 2020 (article)

Abstract
A robot senses its environment, processes the sensory information, acts in response to these inputs, and possibly communicates with the outside world. Robots generally achieve these tasks with electronics-based hardware or by receiving inputs from some external hardware. In contrast, simple microorganisms can autonomously perceive, act, and communicate via purely physicochemical processes in soft material systems. A key property of biological systems is that they are built from energy-consuming ‘active’ units. Exciting developments in material science show that even very simple artificial active building blocks can show surprisingly rich emergent behaviors. Active non-equilibrium systems are therefore predicted to play an essential role to realize interactive materials. A major challenge is to find robust ways to couple and integrate the energy-consuming building blocks to the mechanical structure of the material. However, success in this endeavor will lead to a new generation of sophisticated micro- and soft-robotic systems that can operate autonomously.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]


Real Time Trajectory Prediction Using Deep Conditional Generative Models
Real Time Trajectory Prediction Using Deep Conditional Generative Models

Gomez-Gonzalez, S., Prokudin, S., Schölkopf, B., Peters, J.

IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 5(2):970-976, IEEE, January 2020 (article)

ei ps

arXiv DOI [BibTex]

arXiv DOI [BibTex]


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Effect of the soft layer thickness of magnetization reversal process of exchange-spring nanomagnet patterns

Son, K., Schütz, G., Goering, E.

{Current Applied Physics}, 20(4):477-483, Elsevier B.V., Amsterdam, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]


{Creating zero-field skyrmions in exchange-biased multilayers through X-ray illumination}
Creating zero-field skyrmions in exchange-biased multilayers through X-ray illumination

Guang, Y., Bykova, I., Liu, Y., Yu, G., Goering, E., Weigand, M., Gräfe, J., Kim, S. K., Zhang, J., Zhang, H., Yan, Z., Wan, C., Feng, J., Wang, X., Guo, C., Wei, H., Peng, Y., Tserkovnyak, Y., Han, X., Schütz, G.

{Nature Communications}, 11, Nature Publishing Group, London, 2020 (article)

Abstract
Skyrmions, magnetic textures with topological stability, hold promises for high-density and energy-efficient information storage devices owing to their small size and low driving-current density. Precise creation of a single nanoscale skyrmion is a prerequisite to further understand the skyrmion physics and tailor skyrmion-based applications. Here, we demonstrate the creation of individual skyrmions at zero-field in an exchange-biased magnetic multilayer with exposure to soft X-rays. In particular, a single skyrmion with 100-nm size can be created at the desired position using a focused X-ray spot of sub-50-nm size. This single skyrmion creation is driven by the X-ray-induced modification of the antiferromagnetic order and the corresponding exchange bias. Furthermore, artificial skyrmion lattices with various arrangements can be patterned using X-ray. These results demonstrate the potential of accurate optical control of single skyrmion at sub-100 nm scale. We envision that X-ray could serve as a versatile tool for local manipulation of magnetic orders.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


{Tuning the magnetic properties of permalloy-based magnetoplasmonic crystals for sensor applications}
Tuning the magnetic properties of permalloy-based magnetoplasmonic crystals for sensor applications

Murzin, D. V., Belyaev, V. K., Groß, F., Gräfe, J., Rivas, M., Rodionova, V. V.

{Japanese Journal of Applied Physics}, 59(SE), IOP Publishing Ltd, Bristol, England, 2020 (article)

Abstract
Miniature magnetic sensors based on magnetoplasmonic crystals (MPlCs) exhibit high sensitivity and high spatial resolution, which can be obtained by the excitation of surface plasmon polaritons. A field dependence of surface plasmon polaritons' enhanced magneto-optical response strongly correlates with magnetic properties of MPlCs that can be tuned by changing spatial parameters, such as the period and height of diffraction gratings and thicknesses of functional layers. This work compares the magnetic properties of MPlCs based on Ni80Fe20 (permalloy) obtained from local (longitudinal magneto-optical Kerr effect) and bulk (vibrating-sample magnetometry) measurements and demonstrates an ability to control sensors' performance through changing the magnetic properties of the MPlCs. The influence of the substrate's geometry (planar or sinusoidal and trapezoidal diffraction grating profiles) and the thickness of the surface layer is examined.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Specific isotope-responsive breathing transition in flexible metal-organic frameworks

Kim, J. Y., Park, J., Ha, J., Jung, M., Wallacher, D., Franz, A., Balderas-Xicohténcatl, R., Hirscher, M., Kang, S. G., Park, J. T., Oh, I. H., Moon, H. R., Oh, H.

Journal of the American Chemical Society, 142(31):13278-13282, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Element-resolved study of the evolution of magnetic response in FexN compounds

Chen, Y., Gölden, D., Dirba, I., Huang, M., Gutfleisch, O., Nagel, P., Merz, M., Schuppler, S., Schütz, G., Alff, L., Goering, E.

{Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials}, 498, NH, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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The role of temperature and drive current in skyrmion dynamics

Litzius, K., Leliaert, J., Bassirian, P., Rodrigues, D., Kromin, S., Lemesh, I., Zazvorka, J., Lee, K., Mulkers, J., Kerber, N., Heinze, D., Keil, N., Reeve, R. M., Weigand, M., Van Waeyenberge, B., Schütz, G., Everschor-Sitte, K., Beach, G. S. D., Kläui, M.

{Nature Electronics}, 3(1):30-36, Springer Nature, London, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Magnetic flux penetration into micron-sized superconductor/ferromagnet bilayers

Simmendinger, J., Weigand, M., Schütz, G., Albrecht, J.

{Superconductor Science and Technology}, 33(2), IOP Pub., Bristol, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Demonstration of k-vector selective microscopy for nanoscale mapping of higher order spin wave modes

Träger, N., Gruszecki, P., Lisiecki, F., Groß, F., Förster, J., Weigand, M., Glowinski, H., Kuswik, P., Dubowik, J., Krawczyk, M., Gräfe, J.

Nanoscale, 12(33):17238-17244, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Direct observation of spin-wave focusing by a Fresnel lens

Gräfe, J., Gruszecki, P., Zelent, M., Decker, M., Keskinbora, K., Noske, M., Gawronski, P., Stoll, H., Weigand, M., Krawczyk, M., Back, C. H., Goering, E. J., Schütz, G.

Physical Review B, 102(2), American Physical Society, Woodbury, NY, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Bandgap-adjustment and enhanced surface photovoltage in Y-substituted LaTaIVO2N

Bubeck, C., Widenmeyer, M., De Denko, A. T., Richter, G., Coduri, M., Salas-Colera, E., Goering, E., Zhang, H., Yoon, S., Osterloh, F. E., Weidenkaff, A.

Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 8(23):11837-11848, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Fabrication and temperature-dependent magnetic properties of large-area L10-FePt/Co exchange-spring magnet nanopatterns

Son, K., Schütz, G.

{Physica E: Low-Dimensional Systems And Nanostructures}, 115, North-Holland, Amsterdam, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Research trend of metal-organic frameworks for magnetic refrigeration materials application

Kim, S., Son, K., Oh, H.

Korean Journal of Materials Research, 30(3):136-141, Materials Society of Korea, Seoul, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


Magnetic Anisotropy in Thin Layers of (Mn,Zn)Fe2O4 on SrTiO3 (001)
Magnetic Anisotropy in Thin Layers of (Mn,Zn)Fe2O4 on SrTiO3 (001)

Denecke, R., Welke, M., Huth, P., Gräfe, J., Brachwitz, K., Lorenz, M., Grundmann, M., Ziese, M., Esquinazi, P. D., Goering, E., Schütz, G., Schindler, K., Chassé, A.

Physica Status Solidi (b), 257(7):1900627, 2020 (article)

Abstract
Herein, a ferrimagnetic manganese zinc ferrite (Mn0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4) film with a thickness of 200 nm is prepared without a buffer layer on strontium titanate (001) (SrTiO3) using pulsed laser deposition. Its magnetic properties are investigated using superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID), X-ray absorption spectroscopy with subsequent X-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) and magneto-optic Kerr effect (MOKE). Hysteresis loops derived from SQUID exhibits bulk-like properties. This can further be confirmed by bulk-like XMCD spectra. In remanent magnetization, an in-plane magnetization with basically no out-of-plane component is found. The magnetic moments derived by the sum rule formalism from the XMCD data are in good agreement to the magnetization observed by SQUID and MOKE. XMCD as well as MOKE reveal an in-plane angular fourfold magnetic anisotropy with the easy direction along [110] for (Mn0.5Zn0.5)Fe2O4 on SrTiO3. The element-specific magnetic moments from XMCD show a stronger contribution of Fe to the anisotropy than of Mn and distinct contributions of the orbital moments.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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In situ x-ray diffraction and spectro-microscopic study of ALD protected copper films

Dogan, G., Sanli, U. T., Hahn, K., Müller, L., Gruhn, H., Silber, C., Schütz, G., Grévent, C., Keskinbora, K.

ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 12(29):33377-33385, American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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How to functionalise metal-organic frameworks to enable guest nanocluster embedment

King, J., Zhang, L., Doszczeczko, S., Sambalova, O., Luo, H., Rohman, F., Phillips, O., Borgschulte, A., Hirscher, M., Addicoat, M., Szilágyi, P. A.

{Journal of Materials Chemistry A}, 8(9):4889-4897, Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Magnetic and microstructural properties of anisotropic MnBi magnets compacted by spark plasma sintering

Chen, Y., Gregori, G., Rheingans, B., Huang, W., Kronmüller, H., Schütz, G., Goering, E.

{Journal of Alloys and Compounds}, 830, Elsevier B.V., Lausanne, Switzerland, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Biocompatible magnetic micro- and nanodevices: Fabrication of FePt nanopropellers and cell transfection

Kadiri, V. M., Bussi, C., Holle, A. W., Son, K., Kwon, H., Schütz, G., Gutierrez, M. G., Fischer, P.

Advanced Materials, 32(25), Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Metal organic frameworks as tunable linear magnets

Son, K., Kim, R. K., Kim, S., Schütz, G., Choi, K. M., Oh, H.

Physica Status Solidi A, 217(12), Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Generation and characterization of focused helical x-ray beams

Loetgering, L., Baluktsian, M., Keskinbora, K., Horstmeyer, R., Wilhein, T., Schütz, G., Eikema, K. S. E., Witte, S.

Science Advances, 6(7), American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2020 (article)

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Generation and characterization of focused helical x-ray beams link (url) DOI [BibTex]

Generation and characterization of focused helical x-ray beams link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Materials for hydrogen-based energy storage - past, recent progress and future outlook

Hirscher, M., Yartys, V. A., Baricco, M., Bellosta von Colbe, J., Blanchard, D., Bowman Jr., R. C., Broom, D. P., Buckley, C. E., Chang, F., Chen, P., Cho, Y. W., Crivello, J., Cuevas, F., David, W. I. F., de Jongh, P. E., Denys, R. V., Dornheim, M., Felderhoff, M., Filinchuk, Y., Froudakis, G. E., Grant, D. M., Gray, E. M., Hauback, B. C., He, T., Humphries, T. D., Jensen, T. R., Kim, S., Kojima, Y., Latroche, M., Li, H., Lotostskyy, M. V., Makepeace, J. W., M\oller, K. T., Naheed, L., Ngene, P., Noréus, D., Nyg\aard, M. M., Orimo, S., Paskevicius, M., Pasquini, L., Ravnsbaek, D. B., Sofianos, M. V., Udovic, T. J., Vegge, T., Walker, G. S., Webb, C. J., Weidenthaler, C., Zlotea, C.

{Journal of Alloys and Compounds}, 827, Elsevier B.V., Lausanne, Switzerland, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


{Thermal nucleation and high-resolution imaging of submicrometer magnetic bubbles in thin thulium iron garnet films with perpendicular anisotropy}
Thermal nucleation and high-resolution imaging of submicrometer magnetic bubbles in thin thulium iron garnet films with perpendicular anisotropy

Büttner, F., Mawass, M. A., Bauer, J., Rosenberg, E., Caretta, L., Avci, C. O., Gräfe, J., Finizio, S., Vaz, C. A. F., Novakovic, N., Weigand, M., Litzius, K., Förster, J., Träger, N., Groß, F., Suzuki, D., Huang, M., Bartell, J., Kronast, F., Raabe, J., Schütz, G., Ross, C. A., Beach, G. S. D.

{Physical Review Materials}, 4(1), American Physical Society, College Park, MD, 2020 (article)

Abstract
Ferrimagnetic iron garnets are promising materials for spintronics applications, characterized by ultralow damping and zero current shunting. It has recently been found that few nm-thick garnet films interfaced with a heavy metal can also exhibit sizable interfacial spin-orbit interactions, leading to the emergence, and efficient electrical control, of one-dimensional chiral domain walls. Two-dimensional bubbles, by contrast, have so far only been confirmed in micrometer-thick films. Here, we show by high resolution scanning transmission x-ray microscopy and photoemission electron microscopy that submicrometer bubbles can be nucleated and stabilized in ∼25-nm-thick thulium iron garnet films via short heat pulses generated by electric current in an adjacent Pt strip, or by ultrafast laser illumination. We also find that quasistatic processes do not lead to the formation of a bubble state, suggesting that the thermodynamic path to reaching that state requires transient dynamics. X-ray imaging reveals that the bubbles have Bloch-type walls with random chirality and topology, indicating negligible chiral interactions at the garnet film thickness studied here. The robustness of thermal nucleation and the feasibility demonstrated here to image garnet-based devices by x-rays both in transmission geometry and with sensitivity to the domain wall chirality are critical steps to enabling the study of small spin textures and dynamics in perpendicularly magnetized thin-film garnets.

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


{Real-space imaging of confined magnetic skyrmion tubes}
Real-space imaging of confined magnetic skyrmion tubes

Birch, M. T., Cortés-Ortuño, D., Turnbull, L. A., Wilson, M. N., Groß, F., Träger, N., Laurenson, A., Bukin, N., Moody, S. H., Weigand, M., Schütz, G., Popescu, H., Fan, R., Steadman, P., Verezhak, J. A. T., Balakrishnan, G., Loudon, J. C., Twitchett-Harrison, A. C., Hovorka, O., Fangohr, H., Ogrin, F., Gräfe, J., Hatton, P. D.

Nature Communications, 11, pages: 1726, 2020 (article)

Abstract
Magnetic skyrmions are topologically nontrivial particles with a potential application as information elements in future spintronic device architectures. While they are commonly portrayed as two dimensional objects, in reality magnetic skyrmions are thought to exist as elongated, tube-like objects extending through the thickness of the host material. The study of this skyrmion tube state (SkT) is vital for furthering the understanding of skyrmion formation and dynamics for future applications. However, direct experimental imaging of skyrmion tubes has yet to be reported. Here, we demonstrate the real-space observation of skyrmion tubes in a lamella of FeGe using resonant magnetic x-ray imaging and comparative micromagnetic simulations, confirming their extended structure. The formation of these structures at the edge of the sample highlights the importance of confinement and edge effects in the stabilisation of the SkT state, opening the door to further investigation into this unexplored dimension of the skyrmion spin texture.

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link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


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Current-induced dynamical tilting of chiral domain walls in curved microwires

Finizio, S., Wintz, S., Mayr, S., Huxtable, A. J., Langer, M., Bailey, J., Burnell, G., Marrows, C. H., Raabe, J.

Applied Physics Letters, 116(18), American Institute of Physics, Melville, NY, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Highly effective hydrogen isotope separation through dihydrogen bond on Cu(I)-exchanged zeolites well above liquid nitrogen temperature

Xiong, R., Zhang, L., Li, P., Luo, W., Tang, T., Ao, B., Sang, G., Chen, C., Yan, X., Chen, J., Hirscher, M.

Chemical Engineering Journal, 391, Elsevier, Lausanne, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Ferrimagnetic skyrmions in topological insulator/ferrimagnet heterostructures

Wu, H., Groß, F., Dai, B. Q., Lujan, D., Razavi, S. A., Zhang, P., Liu, Y. X., Sobotkiewich, K., Förster, J., Weigand, M., Schütz, G., Li, X. Q., Gräfe, J., Wang, K. L.

Advanced Materials, 32(34), Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]


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Room temperature ferromagnetism driven by Ca-doped BiFeO3 multiferroic functional material

Marzouk, M., Hashem, H. M., Soltan, S., Ramadan, A. A.

{Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics}, 31(7):5599-5607, Springer, Norwell, MA, 2020 (article)

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DOI [BibTex]

DOI [BibTex]

2018


Role of symmetry in driven propulsion at low Reynolds number
Role of symmetry in driven propulsion at low Reynolds number

Sachs, J., Morozov, K. I., Kenneth, O., Qiu, T., Segreto, N., Fischer, P., Leshansky, A. M.

Phys. Rev. E, 98(6):063105, American Physical Society, December 2018 (article)

Abstract
We theoretically and experimentally investigate low-Reynolds-number propulsion of geometrically achiral planar objects that possess a dipole moment and that are driven by a rotating magnetic field. Symmetry considerations (involving parity, $\widehat{P}$, and charge conjugation, $\widehat{C}$) establish correspondence between propulsive states depending on orientation of the dipolar moment. Although basic symmetry arguments do not forbid individual symmetric objects to efficiently propel due to spontaneous symmetry breaking, they suggest that the average ensemble velocity vanishes. Some additional arguments show, however, that highly symmetrical ($\widehat{P}$-even) objects exhibit no net propulsion while individual less symmetrical ($\widehat{C}\widehat{P}$-even) propellers do propel. Particular magnetization orientation, rendering the shape $\widehat{C}\widehat{P}$-odd, yields unidirectional motion typically associated with chiral structures, such as helices. If instead of a structure with a permanent dipole we consider a polarizable object, some of the arguments have to be modified. For instance, we demonstrate a truly achiral ($\widehat{P}$- and $\widehat{C}\widehat{P}$-even) planar shape with an induced electric dipole that can propel by electro-rotation. We thereby show that chirality is not essential for propulsion due to rotation-translation coupling at low Reynolds number.

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link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]

2018


link (url) DOI Project Page [BibTex]


Optical and Thermophoretic Control of Janus Nanopen Injection into Living Cells
Optical and Thermophoretic Control of Janus Nanopen Injection into Living Cells

Maier, C. M., Huergo, M. A., Milosevic, S., Pernpeintner, C., Li, M., Singh, D. P., Walker, D., Fischer, P., Feldmann, J., Lohmüller, T.

Nano Letters, 18, pages: 7935–7941, November 2018 (article) Accepted

Abstract
Devising strategies for the controlled injection of functional nanoparticles and reagents into living cells paves the way for novel applications in nanosurgery, sensing, and drug delivery. Here, we demonstrate the light-controlled guiding and injection of plasmonic Janus nanopens into living cells. The pens are made of a gold nanoparticle attached to a dielectric alumina shaft. Balancing optical and thermophoretic forces in an optical tweezer allows single Janus nanopens to be trapped and positioned on the surface of living cells. While the optical injection process involves strong heating of the plasmonic side, the temperature of the alumina stays significantly lower, thus allowing the functionalization with fluorescently labeled, single-stranded DNA and, hence, the spatially controlled injection of genetic material with an untethered nanocarrier.

pf

link (url) DOI [BibTex]

link (url) DOI [BibTex]


A swarm of slippery micropropellers penetrates the vitreous body of the eye
A swarm of slippery micropropellers penetrates the vitreous body of the eye

Wu, Z., Troll, J., Jeong, H. H., Wei, Q., Stang, M., Ziemssen, F., Wang, Z., Dong, M., Schnichels, S., Qiu, T., Fischer, P.

Science Advances, 4(11):eaat4388, November 2018 (article)

Abstract
The intravitreal delivery of therapeutic agents promises major benefits in the field of ocular medicine. Traditional delivery methods rely on the random, passive diffusion of molecules, which do not allow for the rapid delivery of a concentrated cargo to a defined region at the posterior pole of the eye. The use of particles promises targeted delivery but faces the challenge that most tissues including the vitreous have a tight macromolecular matrix that acts as a barrier and prevents its penetration. Here, we demonstrate novel intravitreal delivery microvehicles slippery micropropellers that can be actively propelled through the vitreous humor to reach the retina. The propulsion is achieved by helical magnetic micropropellers that have a liquid layer coating to minimize adhesion to the surrounding biopolymeric network. The submicrometer diameter of the propellers enables the penetration of the biopolymeric network and the propulsion through the porcine vitreous body of the eye over centimeter distances. Clinical optical coherence tomography is used to monitor the movement of the propellers and confirm their arrival on the retina near the optic disc. Overcoming the adhesion forces and actively navigating a swarm of micropropellers in the dense vitreous humor promise practical applications in ophthalmology.

pf

Video: Nanorobots propel through the eye link (url) DOI [BibTex]

Video: Nanorobots propel through the eye link (url) DOI [BibTex]