Vici for Valeria Garbin, Simon Gröblacher and Atsushi Urakawa

News - 23 February 2023 - Communication TNW

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded Delft researchers Valeria Garbin, Simon Gröblacher and Atsushi Urakawa a Vici grant of up to 1.5 million euros. This will enable the laureates to develop an innovative line of research and further expand their own research group for a period of five years. Vici is one of the largest personal scientific grants in the Netherlands and is aimed at advanced researchers.

Go with the flow – Understanding the flow physics of novel multiphase reactors 
Dr. V. Garbin

The quest for more sustainable chemical processes leads to more complex reactions involving multiple chemicals (organic, inorganic) in different phases (solid/liquid/liquid). Scaling these reactions up to industrial scale requires total control over them, which in turn requires a full understanding of the underlying flow physics. However, the interplay of multiple components and phases as they react makes this aspect extremely complex. Researchers combine the latest insights and techniques from fluid mechanics, colloid & interface science, and soft matter to describe the flow physics of multicomponent, multiphase systems containing complex interfaces with unprecedented precision.

It is an honor to receive this grant, which enables my group to combine our expertise in fluid dynamics with multiphase reactions, to explore a new research direction in sustainable chemical conversion.

Valeria Garbin

Controlling mechanical motion through individual spins
Prof. dr S. Gröblacher

Does quantum mechanics we know from the nanoscale still work with macroscopic objects? Creating quantum states of large mechanical systems can answer this intriguing question, but the larger the system, the more difficult it becomes to do so. As a new approach, researchers will directly couple a quantum system, in this case the spin of a single erbium ion, to the motion of a mechanical oscillator, in order to create complex quantum states at macroscopic scales. This will open up a path to full quantum control of mechanical motion and to testing quantum theory like never before.

I am very humbled and excited to receive the prestigious NWO Vici grant. It will allow my group to set up a new research direction where we will use a two-level quantum system to create complex quantum states of mechanical oscillators.

Simon Gröblacher

Operando description of catalytic activity from the reactor-scale gradients 
Prof. dr. ir. A. Urakawa

Catalysis is the enabler of future sustainable and circular technologies. This research develops novel analytical tools to gain unprecedented insights about catalytically active sites and species as well as fluid concentration under working, operando conditions. Together with complementary analytical tools, reactorscale gradients such as fluid concentration, temperature, surface active sites and species, electronic states of catalysts will be elucidated. This research aims at uncovering reaction mechanisms and kinetics at the highest accuracy to accelerate rational development of next-generation catalytic processes and their commercialisation.

The Vici grant will help me develop fundamental research tools and apply them to precisely understand and describe catalytic reactions. I am very excited about this privileged opportunity to bring the R&D methodologies in catalysis engineering to the next level and accelerate the transition towards more sustainable use and production of chemicals and fuels!

Atsushi Urakawa

About Vici
The Vici grant, together with the Veni and Vidi grants, is part of the NWO Talent Programme. Vici is aimed at senior researchers who have demonstrated the ability to successfully develop their own innovative line of research. In doing so, they have supervised young researchers. Researchers who are awarded a Vici grant further develop their research group, often in anticipation of a structural professorial position, if they do not already have one.


Read the press release by NWO here

Dr. Valeria Garbin

Prof. Simon Gröblacher

Department of Quantum Nanoscience
Kavli Institute of Nanoscience
Delft University of Technology

Prof. Atsushi Urakawa

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