A sophisticated nanostructure renders a wafer-thin paper made of electrically conductive vanadium pentoxide fibres both tough and pliable
Scientists in Stuttgart are currently doing things to a ceramic, which would normally result in a pile of shards. They were the first to produce a paper-like material from a vanadium pentoxide ceramic which is as hard as copper, yet flexible enough to be rolled up or folded. The material is also different from other ceramics, as it is electrically conductive. In a project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the scientists from Stuttgart University, the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research produced the ceramic paper consisting of conductive nanofibres of vanadium pentoxide in a straightforward and simple way. The ceramic paper’s special mechanical properties are derived from its structure, which resembles that of mother-of-pearl. The material looks promising for applications in batteries, flat and flexible gas sensors and actuators in artificial muscles.
Preis für die beste europäische Doktorarbeit 2012 in der Robotik für ehemaligen Doktorand am MPI für Intelligente Systeme
Dr. Jens Kober´s Doktorarbeit mit dem Titel: "Learning Motor Skills: From Algorithms to Robot Experiments" (Prüfung im April 2012 an der TU Darmstadt), wurde zur besten europäischen Doktorarbeit im Forschungsgebiet der Robotik gekürt. Dafür wurde Jens Kober am 20. März 2013 während des European Robotic Network-Forums EURON mit dem Georges Giralt Award ausgezeichnet. Er ist erst der vierte deutsche Robotiker, der diesen Preis entgegen nehmen durfte.
Immunology: Researchers trap immune cells in droplets of water in oil in hopes of reprogramming them
Prestigious Award in Robotics Research for Scientist of the MPI for Intelligent Systems
Jan Peters, head of the Robotics Learning Laboratory at the Tübingen site of the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems and since 2011 Professor of Intelligent Autonomous Systems at the Technical University of Darmstadt, receives the IEEE RAS Early Career Award for his contributions to robot learning.
A metal-organic framework separates hydrogen isotopes more efficiently than previous methods
In future it may be easier for chemists, biologists and physicists to obtain the ideal substance with which to clarify numerous research issues. For the first time, a team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, Jacobs University Bremen and the University of Augsburg have been able to apply a new method to separate hydrogen and its heavier isotope deuterium more efficiently than before. To this effect, they use a metal-organic framework as a quantum sieve to separate the isotopes. Deuterium serves to determine the structure of unknown substances, for example. Chemists also use it to investigate how reactions involving hydrogen proceed and thus create the basis on which to optimise the conversion. Biologists use deuterium to analyse metabolic processes, among other things.
Electrons confined in an aluminium film of a few atomic layers thick create mechanical stress equivalent to up to one thousand times the standard atmospheric pressures
Read heads in hard drives, lasers in DVD players, transistors on computer chips, and many other components all contain ultrathin films of metal or semiconductor materials. Stresses arise in thin films during their manufacture. These influence the optical and magnetic properties of the components, but also cause defects in crystal lattices, and in the end, lead to component failure. As researchers in the department of Eric Mittemeijer at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart have now established, enormous stresses in the films are created by a quantum-mechanical mechanism that has been unknown until now, based on an effect by the name of quantum confinement. This effect can cause stresses equivalent to one thousand times standard atmospheric pressure, dependent of thickness. Knowledge of this could be helpful in controlling the optical and mechanical properties of thin-film systems and increase their mechanical stability. Additionally, very sensitive sensors might also be developed on the basis of this knowledge.
Unter den insgesamt 14 Preisträgern befinden sich vier Nachwuchswissenschaftler, die an Max-Planck-Instituten arbeiten. Mit dem vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung gestifteten Sofia Kovalevskaja-Preis zeichnet die Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Spitzenleistungen von jungen, ausländischen Forschern aus. Mit je 1,65 Millionen Euro können sie damit eigenständige Nachwuchsgruppen an deutschen Forschungsinstitutionen aufbauen. Eine der Preisträgerinnen ist Na Liu vom Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme in Stuttgart.
A method that enables scientists to grow cells on easily generated fine structures provides new insights into cell migration
Whereas a cut knee often reduces children to tears, adults are more likely to be distressed by the fear of cancer. In both cases, that is wound healing and the growth and spread of tumours, a particular characteristic of the body’s cells plays a crucial role: their capacity to move in their tissue environment. Together with colleagues from Japan, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart and the University of Heidelberg have developed a very promising method for the study of cell movement. The new method enables the examination of the collective behaviour of small groups of cells in an environment that imitates living tissue. Using this new method, the Stuttgart cooperative project was able to study the collective spreading behaviour of epithelial cells in the early stages of healing processes. The information gained from this study confirms the potential offered by the new method in generating new insights into cell migration, a process that has been under investigation for decades.
The Max-Planck-Gesellschaft has once again been successful in winning support from the European Research Council (ERC)
With seven Advanced Grants, the MPG is Germany’s top recipient of EU funding. In response to its fourth call for applications, the ERC conferred a total of 294 of these lucrative research awards, of which 52 went to German universities and research institutions.