24.07.2020: Nano Innovation Award 2020
On July 24, the Nano Innovation Award 2020 was presented at the Center for NanoScience (CeNS) of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich. Three graduate students from Würzburg and Munich received the award for promising, application-oriented results as part of their thesis in nanosciences. The Bavarian-wide prize is endowed with €7,500 and is awarded by a jury of experts from science and business.
In the last decades, nanoscientific research has led to many technical applications - with great economic impact. Therefore, the Nano Innovation Award focuses specifically on innovative work with promising application potential in technology or biomedicine by junior researchers in Bavaria.
Into the blue – perovskite nanocrystals for next-generation LEDs
The first prize, endowed with €3,500, went to Dr. Bernhard Bohn from the group of Prof. Jochen Feldmann at LMU Munich. His work constitutes a technological breakthrough in producing perovskite nanocrystal light emitters with an unprecedented quantum yield in the blue, a wavelength range that was not accessible previously in such systems. The results open a very wide range of potential applications, for example by enabling white all-perovskite LEDs, a comparatively cost effective technology to implement. The success of the work is built on the scientific insight gained from understanding light emission dynamics in such nanostructures that in turn allowed an optimization of the nanocrystals towards the desired very high emission yield.
DNA Nanotechnology for sensitive diagnostics
Linh Nguyen from the group of Prof. Tim Liedl at LMU Munich was the winner of the second prize, endowed with €2,500. She came up with an ingenious but simple idea of a one-pot reaction to synthesize highly stable silver nanorods and nanoparticles coated with a wide range of hydrophilic anchor groups, including DNA. Her method solves the long-standing problem that silver nanoparticles with any coating thus far degraded fast in aqueous environments. Since silver is an excellent material for plasmonic studies and applications, this opens a wide range of possible applications, for instance in diagnostics. Linh was able to produce impressive results with lateral flow assays where her silver-coated particles provide higher detection sensitivity than standard gold nanoparticles. Linh Nguyen has already filed a patent application on her innovative approach, and together with a fellow postdoc, she currently works on commercializing their ideas by starting their own company.
Unprecented precision: single-crystal gold platelets for nano-photonics
The third winner came from the group of Prof. Bert Hecht at the University of Würzburg: Enno Krauss developed a simple but clever method to optimize the manufacturing process of plasmonic nanostructures by making use of single-crystal gold platelets, enabling him to produce extremely precise arrays of gold wires. In the future, these results could open up a broad range of applications in nano-photonics and new applications in quantum information processing. Enno Krauss is part of a team that already has received an EXIST grant for the start-up “NanoStruct”, to bring their idea of commercial large-scale production of homogeneous metallic nanostructures to the next level.
An institution boosting careers
The LMU Center for NanoScience awarded the Nano Innovation Award 2020 together with three companies that are originally spin-offs from CeNS: attocube systems, Nanion Technologies, and NanoTemper Technologies. “All three companies were born from the special blend of top science and technology that grew out of CeNS. The Nano Innovation Award aims at keeping that tradition alive, namely building bridges between science and technology on the topic of nano. It also serves boosting careers at the interface between the academic and industry worlds and brings awareness of the complementarity of both. Great science, but also entrepreneurial opportunities are the reward for our society.” says Prof. Khaled Karrai, scientific director of attocube and member of the jury.
The Center for NanoScience (CeNS) is a scientific institution of LMU Munich, which promotes and coordinates interdisciplinary research in the field of nanosciences. CeNS spans various disciplines such as physics, chemistry, medicine and pharmacy. In addition to working groups from LMU, CeNS also cooperates with groups from the Technical University of Munich, the University of Augsburg, the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry and other institutions in the Munich area.