MaNEP Newsletter n°40
Christian Ruegg
Dear colleagues, dear members of the Association MaNEP,

I hope that you and your families are well in these exceptional times. The coronavirus pandemic is creating a strong and lasting effect on every one of our private and our world-wide professional activities, and the Association MaNEP is no exception. However, there is a glimmer of hope that, for most institutions in Switzerland, we may resume regular, on-site research during the summer, and in autumn also our teaching activities.
The MaNEP steering committee, in full consultation with the programme and organising committees, decided to cancel this year’s SWM conference in Les Diablerets, which was scheduled for the very end of August. We now plan that this conference will go ahead in August 2021 with an updated programme. For the time being, the MaNEP Winter School remains on schedule for January 2021, and indeed registration will open very soon.

In times of crisis, we as physicists are motivated to think beyond the usual boundaries of our discipline. Many times in the past we have been able to apply methods and elements of technology, which were developed primarily for experimental or theoretical physics, to problems outside our areas of research. NMR/MRI and gene sequencing are prominent, high-impact examples in medicine and biomedical research. Successful translations often require an interdisciplinary setting, combining in some cases the most fundamental spectroscopic techniques, or methods from statistical physics, with expertise in virology and epidemiology. Gabriel Aeppli from the Paul Scherrer Institute shows some recent examples from COVID research in his scientific perspective, and together with other colleagues has proposed methods for efficient testing ( Please keep your eyes open and your minds active well beyond condensed-matter boundaries – a message especially relevant for times like the COVID pandemic, but also broadly true for all the activities and skills of the Association MaNEP.

Christian Rüegg
MaNEP President

What's new?

The LTA, a legacy platform of MaNEP, contributes to the research on the Covid-19

To achieve optimal virus detection using surface plasmon resonance (SPR), a leading SPR manufacturer is relying on glass prisms with a high-quality gold thin film sensor custom grown in the LTA laboratory.

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Crystallography helps to combat the SARS-CoV-2 virus

The crystal structure of a drug tested against Covid-19 was solved using Fox computer program, developed in the Laboratory of crystallography at the Department of quantum matter physics (DQMP), UNIGE.

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9th MaNEP Winter School
in January 2021

Winter School
In the present wave of event cancellation and postponing, we are glad to inform our members that the steering committee of the MaNEP Association has decided to keep the winter school on the usual schedule.

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SWM 2020 Conference postponed

SWM 2020
Given the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemics and in adherence to safety guidelines of the Swiss government, the organizing committee has decided to postpone the SWM2020 conference. The current plan is to hold the workshop in 2021, with dates that have still to be fixed.

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Report on the first van der Waals Materials Meeting

Van der Waals Meeting
The first in a series of ‘van der Waals Meetings’ took place in Fribourg, during the afternoon of January 24, 2020. It was organized to bring researchers in the field together so as to enhance their collaborations, stimulate new innovative ideas, and increase the competitiveness of Swiss researchers as a whole.

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Innosuisse financial support for a joint project

Matteo Alessandrini's group at Bruker BioSpin and Prof. Carmine Senatore's group at DQMP, UNIGE have been recently awarded financial support by Innosuisse for a three years project. The project "HTS superconducting joints for NMR magnets" will start in September 2020.

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Denys Sutter awarded a BRIDGE grant and a Venture Kick support

Denys Sutter has been awarded a BRIDGE grant, a joint programme conducted by the SNSF and Innosuisse. condenZero, a spin-off company of the Laboratory for Quantum Matter Research, UNIZH, that Denys Sutter co-founded wins Venture Kick’s financial and entrepreneurial support.

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Denys Sutter

Karin von Arx has won the 2019 DECTRIS Prize

Karin von Arx, University of Zurich, has won the 2019 DECTRIS Experimental Physics Prize for her master thesis "Discovery of a Collective Orbital Excitation in Ca3Ru2O7 – A Resonant X-ray Spectroscopy Study".

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Karin von Arx

Lihuan Sun obtained a Subside tremplin

Lihuan Sun in the group of Christoph Renner, UNIGE obtained a Subside tremplin. She is Post-doctorant in spin orbit interactions on graphene/transition metal dichalcogenides heterostructures using Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Spectroscopy.

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Lihuan Sun

Scientific perspective

What can quantum many-body physics and optics bring to virology?

By Prof. Gabriel Aeppli, Paul Scherrer Institut
Among the most important problems illuminated by the current COVID-19 pandemic are those of producing and measuring the immune response to the corona virus. The immune response defines the progression and lethality of the disease in an infected individual, while the idea of promoting such a response through a harmless trigger molecule or viral-like complex is at the core of vaccine development. A key challenge for both patient care as well as research is thus the metrology of the immune response.

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Scientific highlights

Simultaneous nodal superconductivity and time-reversal symmetry breaking in the noncentrosymmetric superconductor CaPtAs

Tian Shang Figure
By Tian Shang, Paul Scherrer Institute
The study of unconventional superconductors is of great interest to the physics community. Complex superconducting ground states can form the basis of novel quantum-field theories and have the potential for applications ranging from particle accelerators to quantum computers. The ongoing interest …

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Low-energy excitations in type-II Weyl semimetal Td-MoTe2 evidenced through optical conductivity

Ana Akrap figure
By Ana Akrap, University of Fribourg
Transition metal dichalcogenides are a rich and diverse family of compounds. In both bulk and few-layer form, transition metal dichalcogenides are intensely studied for many of their interesting properties: excitons, superconductivity, and band-gap tuning by thickness. They are also pursued for ...

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Highlights publications

Discover more MaNEP Network's research and innovations trough other publication highlights.
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Talk with Claude Monney
Professor, Ultrafast Spectroscopy Group, University of Fribourg

Claude Monney
Please tell us about your main research interests during these last years?
I have started my scientific career doing theory in condensed matter physics during my diploma work. Then I continued with my PhD studies learning about experimental physics with photoemission spectroscopy in Neuchâtel.

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(Photo credit: X. Ravinet - UNIGE, PSI, UNIGE, Bruker, UNIFR, UNIZH, B. Vuillemin; G. Rumo)
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