NCCR MARVEL's Marzari, partner groups receive SNSF Sinergia funding to explore all facets of hydronics

This was published on January 21, 2020

A team of researchers including NCCR MARVEL’s Nicola Marzari won a Sinergia grant worth 2.79 million Swiss francs in the SNSF’s June 2019 call, which funded 23 new projects, the majority for a four-year period. The program promotes the interdisciplinary collaboration of up to four groups proposing breakthrough research.

Carey Sargent, EPFL, NCCR MARVEL

Marzari, along with Prof. Ilaria Zardo of the University of Basel, the lead applicant on the grant, Prof. Michel Calame at Empa and the University of Basel and Dr. Bernd Gotsmann at IBM will investigate hydronics—the hydrodynamic transport of heat or charge in solids—from the perspectives of theory and simulation, experimental physics, materials science, and device engineering.

The topic has received significant attention recently because of prediction and experimental observation in low-dimensional materials and nanostructures, as well as for the potential it may offer in the development of novel devices.   

Overall, the collaboration aims to lay the foundations of hydronics by creating a theoretical framework for extracting parameters that govern hydrodynamic heat or charge transport from first principles. They will carry out experiments to measure hydrodynamic effects and quantify thermal, electrical and thermoelectric conductance as well as grow and pattern materials to explore how hydrodynamic effects can be exploited in electronic or heat-management devices. Finally, they plan to develop a basic functional demonstration of a hydronic device.

Marzari’s group at EPFL will focus on theory and simulation, looking to refine the various hydrodynamic transport regimes that have been proposed through a new approach that uses predicted viscosities to provide a bridge between existing methods. Zardo’s Nanophononics group in Basel will concentrate on experimental physics, seeking to confirm phenomena experimentally and develop techniques for hydrodynamic transport measurement. 

Calame, head of Empa’s Transport at Nanoscale Interfaces laboratory and professor at the University of Basel, will investigate the effects of defects, substrates and boundaries on the emergence of the hydrodynamic regime to understand how such materials can be cleanly fabricated. IBM’s Gotsmann will research how future, scaled devices be able to exploit hydrodynamic effects for better functionality.   

The full list of projects funded in the June 2019 call can be found on the SNSF website here.

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