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MSCA-Cofund program to foster doctoral students career in nanoscience - 14 doctoral positions

GenerationNano is a Marie-Curie Cofund doctoral programme offering exciting research at the forefront of nanoscience, full-time employment for four years, an international network of cooperation partners and a comprehensive course program. On this page you will find an overview of the information on the programme, and a list of research projects included. We recruited in total 14 doctoral students in several calls during 2020 and 2021.

GenerationNano purpose and vision

Interconnected colourful dots representing GenerationNano

Nanoscience strongly contributes to several of the key enabling technologies (KETs) identified by the European Commission. Europe’s ability to harvest the full innovative and economical potential of nanotechnology critically relies on the availability of a highly trained workforce with the right set of skills. GenerationNano has the vision to deliver tomorrow's leaders bringing nanoscience and nano-engineering from basic discovery to commercial and industrial applications.

GenerationNano recruited and trains in total 14 talented doctoral students (ESRs). Guided by the EU principles of innovative doctoral training, the ESRs will be educated in the context of a close interaction between academia, research institutes, commercial enterprises and unique large-scale research infrastructures to be able to tackle the interdisciplinary approaches needed to bring nanotechnology to the market place and to educate the workforce that will help solve the European Societal Challenges and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The GenerationNano program is supported by the European Union's H2020 COFUND scheme (GA 945378) from 2020 to 2025.

Projects in the Programme

14 doctoral students were recruited in three calls in the areas Materials Science, Quantum Physics, or Nanobiology. The students were recruited following the MSCA mobility requirements as well as the admissions requirements of Lund University. Only students fulfilling all requirements were awarded funding from GenerationNano and are, thus currently part of the programme. All other students that were recruited in these calls are being funded by other grants.  

Description of the admission requirements for GenerationNano

Below, we list all the projects that are actually part of GenerationNano.

Separation of bacteria based on their size and morphology

Microfluidic device sorting red and green particles. Photo: Bao Dang Ho

It is known that the shape of some bacteria influence their ability to infect the host and to evade the immune system. In this project, we are using novel microfluidics technology, to fractionate bacteria into subpopulations. These subpopulations will be characterized by their shape and studied phenotypically using advanced microscopy and lab on a chip technologies as they interact with host cells and with immune cells.

PhD student: Elham Akbari

Sorting of cancer cells based on their mechanical properties

The mechanical properties of cancer cells and their surrounding affects their capability to metastasize. Fundamental physical mechanisms will be studied at different relevant length scales on the single-molecule and single-cell level. For example the molecules responsible for motion and mechanical properties of the cells will be studied in detail as well as the interaction between the cells and the extracellular matrix. Microfluidics will be used to sort cells in relevant subpopulations and for trapping or confining cells for long-term observation. Superresolution and automated microscopy will be used to monitor the cells as they migrate and respond to various physical cues.

PhD student: Esra Yilmaz

Amyloid beta and GM1 interaction?

Molecular structure of a fraction of aggregated amyloid beta (Abeta)

The project aims to study solubility of amyloid beta peptide as a function of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The overarching goal addresses whether a change in peptide solubility is a cause or consequence of Alzheimer's disease. The students will use a top-down approach to study to what extent Aβ solubility is modulated by neurochemical factors. In parallel, a bottom-up approach will be used to systematically investigate the influence of various kinds of nano-structures and surfaces as well as molecular factors such as pH, salt, temperature, co-solvents and lipids as well as peptide sequence variants. Another aim is to reveal to structure of soluble peptide complexes and aggregates formed in vitro and seeded with brain material. To address these scientific questions, we plan to use several state-of-the art methodologies, including optical spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, scattering techniques, fluorescence microscopy, and electron microscopy.

PhD student: Jing Hu

Nanoparticles in the brain: multitalented drug carriers to target neurodegenerative disease

The aim of this PhD-project is to use cellular biology techniques combined with synchrotron-based spectroscopy to study early changes in brain tissue. The PhD project is part of an interdisciplinary project and the student will work in collaboration with PhD students and researchers from both the Department of Physics and the Medical Faculty at Lund University. The PhD student will study molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer's Disease pathology in the animal model.

PhD student: Radhika Thakore

Biomarker detection by optical sensing with nanowires

Principle of Single Molecule Detectionwith nanowires that emit light vertically. Graphics: Phillip Krantz

The project’s aim is to develop techniques for optical detection of single molecules using wave-guiding nanowires. The molecules can be DNA, RNA or proteins that are biomarkers, for example for cancer. The project’s focus will be to develop and improve, based on fundamental physical principles, the optical and biocompatible properties of the nanostructures, and to test them together with other scientists in the project. Methods may include growth of nanowires, modelling, fluorescence microscopy, bioanalytical or biochemical methods, chemical surface modification, and image analysis.

PhD student: Rubina Davtyan

Surfaces at the atomic scale

With the continuous downscaling of nanostructure devices, surface effects become more and more dominating. Characterization and controlled modification of surfaces at the atomic scale gets essential, though challenging. Direct access to electronic and geometric surface structure with atomic resolution is available uniquely by Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Spectroscopy (STM/S). Furthermore, we can bridge the gap between surface characterization of ideal model surfaces and device processing, by investigating semiconductor nanostructures during device operation, using our newly developed STM/S platform for operando surface studies. Complementary chemical information is obtained from X-ray spectroscopy and imaging studies at MAX IV and other synchrotron facilities.

PhD student: Rohit Yadav

Coherent Bragg Imaging of Nanoparticles with Unknown Rotation

Bragg coherent diffraction X-ray imaging (BCDI) is a promising technique to measure the three-dimensional strain of crystalline nanoparticles. However, it is difficult to perform BCDI experiments on very small sized nanoparticles due to the unpredictable rotations raised by the local heating or radiation pressure, as they rotate too fast to get enough data. We are developing a method to collect enough valid data from a bunch of BCDI experiments on identical nanoparticles, and to reconstruct the shape and strain of the particle from these data.

PhD student: Huaiyu Chen

Time-resolved photoemission electron microscopy

Measuring principle of charge-carrier dynamics in porphyrine with PEEM

The interdisciplinary project encompasses spatially-resolved studies of electronic excitations and charge carrier dynamics in molecular as well as semiconductor and plasmonic systems. The simultaneous temporal and spatial resolution is achieved by combining multidimensional femtosecond spectroscopy with photoemission electron microscopy. The goal is to “see” what happens to excitations and electrons in molecules and nanostructures after they are excited by light. The understanding of the processes gained in the project will be important for designing future technologies based on nanomaterials.

PhD student: Chandni Babu

Coherent spectroscopy for new quantum solar energy solution

The project is about coherent spectroscopy of new quantum materials. The weight here is on spectroscopy while the materials will be made in collaboration with other groups. We will apply multi-pulse ultrafast spectroscopy and make use of the coherence between the pulses. We will also investigate the possibilities how to use quantum light (entangled photons) in spectroscopy.

PhD student: Edoardo Amarotti

Nanowire/perovskite solar cell integration

The project aims to develop tandem solar cells by combining III-IV semiconductor nanowires with perovskites. The goal is to increase the efficiency by better matching the solar spectrum and reduce thermal losses. The project aims to study this new type of integrated tandem solar cell with respect to material composition, heterostructural interface and electro-optical quality. Tandem solar cells that combine nanowire and perovskite solar cells will be manufactured, characterized and optimized.

PhD student: Matteo Tirrito

Engineered Self-Assembled Magnetic Nanochains

Magnetic nanoparticles under the microscope

The goal of the project is to produce and characterize functional magnetic materials with tailored nanoscale composition and morphology through controlled self-assembly of nanoparticles generated using a physical technique. The generated materials will be characterized using electron microscopy, magnetometry, and synchrotron-based spectroscopy and microscopy techniques at the MaxIV laboratory and other large-scale facilities in Europe.

PhD student: Mehran Sedrpooshan

Production of novel multifunctional hybrid nanomaterials based on aerosol-generated nanoparticles

The goal of the project is combining techniques to produce novel multifunctional hybrid nanomaterials, including magnetic materials, based on aerosol-generated nanoparticles and to use processing techniques to create templates for guiding the self-assembly of the nanoparticles into 1D, 2D and 3D structures. Self-assembled magnetic nanostructures could find use in a wide range of applications such as high-density data storage, magnetic memories, magnetic cooling, catalysis, electromagnetic absorption, cancer treatment, and as building blocks in future high-performing magnets for green technologies. The main focus of the project will be development of multifunctional mixed-metal nanoparticles but the project will also include advanced characterization of the individual nanoparticles as well as the self-assembled structures. This will be done by electron microscopy, x-ray-based characterization techniques and measurements of the magnetic properties using a magnetometer equipped with a superconducting quantum interference device. Hence, the doctoral student will gain comprehensive experience in several important key production and characterization tools for nanomaterials, in addition to forward the knowledge on new types of multifunctional nanomaterials and nanoparticle formation via aerosol routes.

PhD student: Pau Ternero

Designing catalytic chips based on GaP nanowires and Pd particles

This project is focused on using nanoscale processing to design an stable an recyclable catalyst consisting of both gallium phosphide (GaP) nanowires, i.e. the support, and catalytically active palladium (Pd) nanoparticles. This new catalyst aims to replace widely known lead-poisoned catalysts which are used in catalytic reactions such as reduction of phenylacetylene to styrene (a highly attractive commodity chemical in polymer industry). The nanowire support is grown by particle-assisted CVD, whereas the catalytically active nanoparticles are produced by an aerosol generation method called spark ablation.

PhD student: Marie Bermeo Vargas

Charge diffusion induced nanowire LEDs

The main idea of this project is to exploit the advantages of III-V semiconductor nanowires to pursue novel charge diffusion induced LEDs with high emission efficiency as a game changer in the traditional design of LEDs.

PhD student: Yue Zhao


EU-flag, blue with ring of yellow stars

The GenerationNano project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 945378

Positions in the 2nd call

The call was open from 25 June to 25 August 2020. Six PhD students were recruited, among them five are eligible for GenerationNano funding. Three of the GenerationNano students have recently started their employment and the two remaining will start soon.

Position in the 3rd Call

The call was open from 11 February to 25 March 2021. One PhD student was recruited and started his employment in June 2021.