Seventh issue of the NCCR MARVEL industrial e-letter
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MARVEL Industrial Newsletter

November 2019

We are pleased to send you the seventh issue of the Industrial Newsletter of NCCR MARVEL, the Swiss Center on Computational Design and Discovery of Novel Materials, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.  

Please find below our latest news, features and events related to the MARVEL community.

The highlight was the launch of the Industry Sector Days with two events in the metallurgy and pharmaceutical sectors, which gave rise to lively and inspiring discussions.

Enjoy the newsletter and don’t hesitate to contact us if you want to explore possible synergies or collaboration with your company.

Nicola Marzari, Director of the NCCR MARVEL
Pascale Van Landuyt, Industrial Liaison & Tech Transfer Officer

Features

MARVEL Sector Days give industry a chance to help shape research

Research should be driven by societal issues—we need to pursue what is urgent and needed for the community at large. Just as the NCCR MARVEL seeks the guidance and expertise of a scientific advisory board in developing lines of research, we also seek insight from industry. 

MARVEL researchers, partners present work on materials for energy at Materials Science Day

NCCR MARVEL and CCMX, the Competence Centre for Materials Science and Technology, hosted their third annual Materials Science Day on October 8 to present both experimental and modeling approaches to the development of innovative new materials. The event, meant to highlight cutting-edge research and give people a chance to network, drew more than 60 people from industry and academia.

Highlights

MARVEL researchers investigate how MOF structures affect dieletric properties

The modern microelectronics industry has a huge need for highly efficient electric insulators. Structures built around the medium with the lowest possible dielectric constant, that is, a vacuum, or air, may be their best bet. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) feature, among other advantages, large pores and poorly correlated scaffolding and so may serve this purpose well. Despite the huge potential, few studies have pursued either systematic experimental measurements or simulations to estimate the dielectric constant of MOFs. This lack of data makes it difficult to link properties and performance and hinders the design of an optimal structure–property correlation. NCCR MARVEL researchers looked to fill this gap in knowledge with a study into how the atomic and electronic structures of MOFs affect their dieletric properties. The results of their work were recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. 

Machine learning approach predicts electron densities with DFT accuracy

Clémence Corminboeuf, Michele Ceriotti and colleagues at EPFL have developed a machine learning model that can predict the electron density from atomic coordinates. The approach may facilitate the characterization of non-covalent interactions, helping researchers  understand complex interactions between biomolecules and potentially assist in the design of self-assembled materials and drugs. The research was recently published in the journal Chemical Science.

Hybrid functional molecular dynamics give unprecedented view on the nature of the wet electron

The hydrated electron has been widely studied, but the atomistic mechanism leading to its formation and the nature of the precursor states remain poorly understood. One of those states, the wet electron, has been used to explain certain spectroscopic observations, but its binding energy and atomic structure have been difficult to characterize. Now, using hybrid functional molecular dynamics simulations, NCCR MARVEL researchers have unveiled the ultrafast solvation mechanism that leads to the hydrated electron. The picture gives an unprecedented view of the nature of the wet electron, instrumental to understanding the properties of this fundamental species in liquid water. The research has been published in Chemical Science.

News

Clémence Corminboeuf Featured on Swiss TV Mini-Documentary Series "Le Court du Jour"

Swiss television station RTS's « Le Court du Jour » is a series of short programs meant to provide the general public with a daily educational exploration of different domains. From culture to the environment, passing through the sciences, sport and health, “Le Court du Jour” addresses different topics with the aim of providing clear, entertaining information. Clémence Corminboeuf, professor at the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering at EPFL and a member of MARVEL's Executive Committee, recently took part in a series called "Femmes de Science".

Nicola Spaldin wins 2019 Marcel Benoist Prize for work on multiferroic materials

Nicola Spaldin, ETH Zurich professor and NCCR MARVEL project leader has been awarded the 2019 Marcel Benoist prize—the "Swiss Nobel Prize"—for her groundbreaking research on multiferroics. This new class of materials responds to both magnetic and electric fields, a combination that does not generally occur simultaneously. This unusual property makes multiferroics promising materials that could, for example, replace silicon in future computer chips. 

MARVEL Summer Camp students “had a lot of fun, while working and learning new things”

This year’s Summer Camp “Des atomes aux ordinateurs” at EPFL attracted 21 high school students — 10 women and 11 men — for a full week of lectures, exercises and lab visits built around the theme of scientific programming. With motivations ranging from a general desire to learn more about EPFL overall to a passion for the chemical properties of different materials, students came from the Romandie and other parts of Switzerland — as well as France, the U.S. and even Hong Kong — to deepen their knowledge of the programming language Python. 

Upcoming event

Psi-k conference

Aug 22, 2022, 13:00 until Aug 25, 2022, 18:00, SwissTech Convention Center, EPFL

IMPORTANT NOTICE: After first postponing the Psi-k 2020 conference to 2021, we have decided that it would still not be possible to host a successful event in person that year. Rather than hold the conference online, we feel strongly that it is worth waiting a little bit longer in order to be able to meet safely in person, as originally planned.Therefore, we now announce that the conference will be postponed by another year, to August 22-25, 2022, preserving the same format and symposia.Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to meeting you in 2022!Note: the Volker Heine Young Investigator Award ceremony will be held at a separate event in September 2021.

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