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Freidrich Schiller's Gräfe Receives €1.9M ERC Grant

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JENA, Germany, Feb. 20, 2018 — Stefanie Gräfe from the Friedrich Schiller University has received a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant.

Gräfe is the first woman at the university to receive this research funding award. She plans to invest the approximately €1.9 million ($2.3 million) in funding in eight new positions for young researchers in the research area of nonlinear optics. Dealing with ultrafast time- and space-resolved dynamics in molecular-plasmonic hybrid systems, her project QUEM-CHEM aims to provide fundamentals and new theories in the next five years in order to subsequently be able to develop potential applications for devices such as highly sensitive sensors.

Gräfe and her team want to carry out research into nano-related fundamental fields, including investigating what happens on the interface of metallic solids and molecules after light interaction.

"There has not been any sound theory about it, yet," Gräfe said.

The research in Gräfe's research group will focus on computer simulation first. Their aim is to calculate the plasmonic dynamics, in other words, light-induced movements of electrons in metal. In addition, by applying quantum-chemical methods, the molecular structure will be calculated. Last but not least, both rather different methods should be combined. As a result, chemical reaction mechanisms of light and metallic molecular systems may be clarified. The Jena researcher plans a cooperation with the related experimental research group under professor Volker Deckert to be able to compare the theory developed with practice.

The project aims to develop something that may function beyond laboratory-specific conditions into other basic research and applied research. In anticipation of being able to detect and classify chiral molecules in five years, Gräfe already sees potential for spectroscopy, biophotonics, nanophotonics and in research on sensors.

"We have already carried out studies into this area successfully," Gräfe said. "Having received the ERC grant, I can start the research with additional personnel support."

The ERC Consolidator Grants are meant for outstanding young researchers who produce distinctive publications after having finished their doctorate and having conceived a risky but potentially high-impact research proposal.
Feb 2018
BusinessStefanie GräfeFriedrich Schiller UniversityEuropean Research CouncilConsolidator GrantERCpeopleSensors & DetectorsopticsawardsEurope

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