The Economic Board of the Arnhem-Nijmegen region, with Wageningen, Twente Board and Oost NL are joining forces for an Artificial Intelligence strategy for the eastern part of the Netherlands. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will determine our future prosperity and well-being. Lifeport (the innovation network of the Arnhem – Nijmegen region, with Wageningen) and Twente already have an ambitious agenda in the field of AI. With this joining of forces, the Eastern Netherlands can make a substantial contribution to the Netherlands’ AI innovation strategy. It also ensures a strong national and international position, it offers opportunities to raise funds in Europe and it opens up better knowledge for the business community, so that the (Eastern) Netherlands increases its competitive position.

AI in East Netherlands news

Both regions thus contribute to the innovative AI ecosystem of the Netherlands and Europe. The collaboration focuses on two spearheads, namely AI in the manufacturing industry, to increase competitiveness through further digitization of the industry, and AI for Health, to make healthcare future-proof. Both spearheads are strategic themes of the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel.

Artificial Intelligence in the Eastern Netherlands

In the Eastern Netherlands, more than 170 companies, many of them SMEs, are actively engaged in the development of AI applications. Examples can be found in the infographic Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Eastern Netherlands. The joint formulation of an Eastern Dutch proposition and strategy in the field of AI will bring national and European resources closer, such as new EU programs Digital Europe and Horizon Europe. For example, knowledge that is available at universities and universities of applied sciences will be marketed more quickly – and it will be easier for companies (internationally) to collaborate on innovation.

The Eastern Netherlands has a great deal of knowledge when it comes to AI. Knowledge institutions such as Radboud University, Radboudumc, Wageningen University & Research and the University of Twente play a pioneering role in this. They want to jointly strengthen themselves in the field of human centered AI, AI for manufacturing and integrated AI in relation to the application areas of health, energy and agro / food. Universities, colleges and companies work together intensively. High-quality knowledge therefore has easy access to practice.

AI in the Eastern Netherlands: important for the region and innovation engine for the Netherlands and Europe.

The Economic Board of the Arnhem-Nijmegen region, together with Wageningen and the Twente Board, will further develop a widely supported AI strategy with all stakeholders, public, private and knowledge institutions, in the coming months. An important building block for this is Think East Netherlands, a collective of 24 regional partners that gives AI in the East Netherlands a clear face in a European context. East Netherlands with its powerful AI ecosystem is an important engine for AI innovations in the Netherlands and Europe. The strength of SMEs, the many spin-offs, the strong networks and field labs such as Boost Smart Industry Network and Topfit, the ICAI labs and the strong cooperation with Germany are just a few examples.

Artificial Intelligence as a key technology.

Artificial Intelligence, also known as artificial intelligence, can be described as the ability of a system to correctly interpret external data, to learn from this data, and to use these lessons to achieve specific goals and tasks through flexible adaptation.

Artificial Intelligence is seen as a key technology. Because it is widely applicable, the development of AI has an impact on many business sectors and society as a whole. This offers great economic opportunities. This makes AI a means to maintain and expand an internationally competitive position and to solve economic and social issues. The Netherlands, therefore, aims to build and maintain a strong and distinctive position in both the development and application of AI.

Source: Novio Tech Campus

By Maarten Buijs, from PhotonDelta

What are Photonic Integrated Circuits?

Electronics versus Photonics

Where electronics deals with the control of electrons on a chip, photonics does the same with photons. It covers the physics, engineering, technology and applications of light (photon) generation, detection, and manipulation through emission, transmission, modulation, signal processing, switching, amplification, and sensing. Photons travel at the speed of light and move through certain materials with almost no loss. Photonics can have a very high frequency range, resulting in high data throughput at a fraction of the energy costs of electronic circuits.

Adopting photons to carry signals over low-loss optical fiber transmission lines, and so replacing coaxial cables in telecommunication systems, led to the first significant business where photonics was applied. [1]

Integrated Photonics

Just as electronic functions can be integrated into an electronic integrated circuit (IC), photonic functions can also be integrated into a photonic integrated circuit (PIC). Building on the success of silicon (Si) as the basis of the IC revolution, silicon photonics (SiPh) has become an important part of the integrated photonics development.

Si is transparent to infrared light with wavelengths above about 1.1 micrometers, so also to the 1.55 micrometer wavelength used by most fiber optic telecommunication systems. In addition, it has a very high refractive index, of about 3.5, much higher than that of silicon oxide (1.5), which allows strong confinement of light in Si structures embedded in silicon oxide (waveguides). These properties make Si well suited for usage in telecom. However, Si does not allow direct generation of light. Indium phosphide (InP) does not have this restriction, because it has a direct semiconductor bandgap. So, PICs based on the InP material platform became commercially very successful; InP integrated photonics has been a critical enabler for modern telecommunications.

A photonic circuit. Image: LioniX International 

InP allows for the integration of active and passive elements like high-performance amplifiers, lasers, modulators, and detectors in combination with interferometers within one chip in the 1.1 – 1.6 mm spectral window. This leads to performance advances, energy savings and cost reductions,[2] which has allowed InP integrated photonics to revolutionize data communications, precision metrology (for example LIDAR in autonomous vehicles), spectrometry, and imaging. Current state-of-the-art devices integrate hundreds of functions onto a single chip.

Another material system making strong inroads into integrated photonics is silicon nitride (SiN). It excels at passive light processing in the visible, near-infrared (NIR) and IR range thanks to among others its very low light intensity loss in the waveguide, small bend radii and adjustable polarization. Waveguides guide light on integrated devices but can also perform guiding, coupling, switching, splitting, multiplexing, and demultiplexing of optical signals.

By integrating SiN PICs with active components based on other technologies like InP, high performance photonics Systems-in-Package devices can be manufactured.

Biosensors based on the SiN platform explained

One of the photonic industries key application areas concerns biosensors based integrated photonic circuits. SiN PICs are in particular very well suited for the detection of biological molecules. They work in a very wide wavelength range from visible to near-infrared, avoiding the water absorption window of water and allowing fluorescence detection. Also, this wavelength range makes it easy to combine them with a cheap laser source.  The small bend radii possible in SiN allow the light-constraining waveguide to be ‘’rolled up” on the surface, creating a very long light path. In combination with the ultra-low loss of propagating light in SiN, this leads to a long interaction time of the light with biomolecules that are in the vicinity of the surface. Biosensors based on SiN PICs are thus highly sensitive. A very low detection limit can be achieved by using self-referencing optical structures which eliminate sources of noise like temperature variations.

Biosensors are or will be applied in a multitude of areas, like towards health-related targets (e.g. glucose monitoring in diabetes patients, early detection of the onset of cancer or of infectious diseases), environmental applications (e.g. the detection of pesticides and pollutants), and the food industry (e.g. determination of antibiotics or hormone residues in food, early detection of infectious diseases).

Benefits of photonic biosensors

Biosensors work by detecting so-called analytes, in this case, biomolecules or biomarkers, which in the case of human health care indicate whether a condition like cancer or an infection is present. Typically, the analyte is detected in a sample of bodily fluids like blood, urine, or sputum. These analytes are detected by being captured by so-called bioreceptors, which can be antibodies, nucleic acids, proteins, pathogens, or even created by biological engineering. In their turn, bioreceptors are typically bound covalently (or by the sharing of electron pairs between atoms) to the surface of the waveguide. The bioreceptors are the conjugate to a particular analyte and therefore very selective.  By applying an anti-fouling layer on the non-waveguide surface of the chip, one can assure that the bioreceptors are only bound to the SiN waveguide and not to adjacent areas of the surface. This biomarker-specific attachment to the waveguide brings the biomarkers very close to the surface of the waveguide. It also implies that additional (e.g., fluorescent) labeling of the biomarker is not needed. Being able to do label-free direct detection significantly simplifies the detection workflow.

The optical working principle of the detection is based on the fact that part of light which travels through the waveguide (at very low loss in SiN) sticks out of the waveguide, to so-called evanescent field. In the case of SiN this field contains a significant part of the total light intensity. The bioreceptor – biomarker couple on the surface of the waveguide changes the effective refractive index of the waveguide. By making use of waveguide interferometers or resonators, these refractive index changes can be translated into a quantitative assessment of the biomarker.

Also, because of the low bend radii possible in SiN, these structures can be designed very compactly and many such structures can be fitted onto the surface of a single chip. By tuning the analyte deposition, different waveguide structures can be covered with different bioreceptors, called multiplexing, so that multiple biomarkers can be detected on the same chip. This can enhance the sensitivity towards either one difficult-to-detect biomarker or towards one health condition with several characteristic biomarkers. It can also be used to measure several health conditions with one single chip.

Increasing rapid point of care testing

In the past, testing of patient samples for biomarkers was centralized at large hospitals or community laboratories in order to improve cost-effectiveness, to cope with economic pressure, and to reduce health care costs. This resulted in higher effectiveness and high-quality analytical results. However, the need for a rapid turnaround time and the “permanent” availability of local general practitioners not only during the day but also on nights and weekends has increased the need for more decentralized diagnostic approaches such as the point-of-care testing (POCT) occurring at the patients’ bedside, in operation theatres, in emergency rooms, and at accident sites.[3]

The introduction of widespread point-of-care testing of patients for diagnosis as well as screening can be significantly accelerated by combining the extreme sensitivity and selectivity of the SiN biosensor technology with the possibilities to mass produce the SiN PICs with processes, technologies and equipment derived from those used to mass manufacture electronic integrated circuits. Active components like light sources (to generate the sensing light) and detectors (to register the change of the sensing light induced by the biomolecules) cannot be made out of SiN. Therefore, integration of very small and cheap commercially available light sources (e.g. Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting (VCSEL) lasers) and detectors needs to be done as a step in the production process of the biosensor.

How The Netherlands and PhotonDelta work on accelerating development of Integrated Photonics

With two centers of excellence covering the important technologies for integrated photonics, and a long history of successful contributions to the integrated electronics industry like ASML, NXP and ASM International, the Netherlands is uniquely positioned to play a strong role in the continuously growing area. This drive is orchestrated by PhotonDelta, a Dutch public-private partnership consisting of a cohesive cluster of companies and highly qualified knowledge institutes, set up to accelerate and reduce time to market of integrated photonics products. PhotonDelta strengthens the ecosystem from within by stimulating and facilitating co-operation amongst the integrated photonic companies and knowledge institutions, developing the common business strategy, setting goals and stimulating co-operation between partners in the Netherlands and beyond. PhotonDelta acts as a growth accelerator and so helps to amplify and scale existing companies and kickstart new ones by having access to significant funding.

Notable academic centers of excellence of photonic integrated circuits in InP are the University of California at Santa Barbara, USA, and the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. In Eindhoven, the technology is commercialized through the company SmartPhotonics. Important European academic centers of excellence for SiN PiC technology include EPFL at Lausanne, Switzerland and the University of Twente in Enschede, the Netherlands. The technology is commercialized through the companies Lionix International in the Netherlands and Ligentec in Switzerland.

How the PhotonDelta ecosystem works on biosensors

With support from PhotonDelta, Lionix has teamed up with fellow Dutch company Surfix, who specialize in nanocoatings for life science applications and Qurin, diagnostics specialists to develop  SiN PIC-based biosensors for the direct detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19. The group is aiming for a quick and reliable POCT that removes the need for time-consuming lab work. Two tests are under development, one that will determine if a patient is currently infected by the virus by detecting virus receptors.  The second test will determine if a patient has already been infected by the virus by detecting antibodies – the proteins produced by the immune system in response to infection.

The biosensor will detect the receptors for the virus, detecting the virus directly rather than using the current common method which involves destroying the virus’s shell and looking for the presence of released genetic material. This direct detection means results can be returned with speed, possibly even with a few minutes. Both tests are expected to be readily available within 6-9 months. An important part of this initiative will be to set up the infrastructure for mass-producing very reliable disposable biosensors. The long-standing partnership between the key players in this initiative means the groundwork has already been laid for rapid product development and rollout. When successful, this initiative will not only contribute to the fight against COVID-19, but will also have established SiN PIC technology as a platform for the further roll-out of POCT for screening and diagnosis.


Integrated Photonics based biosensors will advance the roll-out of point-of-care diagnostics. Further development of the technology should deliver more sensitive and more accessible biosensors for rapid diagnosis. This development will be driven, in part, by strategic collaboration between industry leaders, innovators, and health care organizations.

This is one of a series of articles discussing photonics based biosensing and the work of PhotonDelta and its partners. Future articles will include reporting on the current and long-term application of the technology for tackling Covid-19 and other point of care testing applications, as well as detail PhotonDelta’s roadmap towards high volume production of disposable biosensors.

Read the original article here

Image credit Lionix International

To respond to the urgency and ambition of the European Green Deal objectives, Horizon 2020 will support additional Green Deal related research and innovation with a call worth close to €1 billion.

What the call aims to do

The Green Deal call will mobilise research and innovation to foster a just and sustainable societal transition aiming at ‘leaving nobody behind’. Projects are expected to deliver tangible and visible results relatively quickly and show how research and innovation can provide concrete solutions for the Green Deal main priorities.

This is why the call will support:

  • pilot applications, demonstration projects and innovative products
  • innovation for better governance of the green and digital transition
  • social and value chain innovation

In addition to technological development and demonstration, the call encourages experimentation and social innovation for new ways to engage civil society and empower citizens.

In relation to the current pandemic, the call will contribute to the green and digital recovery and to increasing societal resilience for example in agriculture, biodiversity acceleration of renewables, clean transport and modernisation towards a clean and circular industry.

How is the call structured?

The call contains 11 areas

Eight thematic areas reflecting the key work streams of the European Green Deal. In each area, one or more topics addresses the challenges outlined in the respective stream. Topics target specific, high-impact technological and societal innovations that can help advance the sustainable transition relatively quickly.

Three horizontal areas (strengthening knowledge; empowering citizens; and international cooperation) that cut across the eight thematic areas and offer a longer-term perspective in achieving the transformations set out in the European Green Deal.

Stakeholder survey results

A stakeholder feedback survey on the call areas ran from 19 May to 3 June. Thank you to all who took part. We received almost 6000 survey responses and 500 documents were uploaded.

You will find the survey results on each of the call area pages below. Updated topic texts will be added to the pages as they develop.

Call area 1: Increasing climate ambition: cross-sectoral challenges

Call area 2: Clean, affordable and secure energy

Call area 3: Industry for a clean and circular economy

Call area 4: Energy and resource-efficient buildings

Call area 5: Sustainable and smart mobility

Call area 6: Farm to Fork

Call area 7: Restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services

Call area 8: Zero-pollution, toxic-free environment

Call area 9: Strengthening our knowledge in support of the European Green Deal

Call area 10: Empowering citizens for transition towards a climate neutral, sustainable Europe

Call area 11: Accelerating the clean energy transition and access in partnership with Africa

Disclaimer: The presentation of draft topics and the feedback provided shall in under no circumstances bind the European Commission in the final formulation of topics for the call. The binding call text will be published following the formal decision by the European Commission on the Funding and tender opportunities portal


Fighting climate change and making Europe climate-neutral by 2050 is one of the main priorities of the European Commission. In support of this priority, the Commission is reinforcing Green Deal-related research and innovation with this dedicated call for proposals under the current research and innovation programme – Horizon 2020. Additional research and innovation initiatives will be funded under the next EU research and innovation programme – Horizon Europe.

MinacNed offers a new service to all members: to share your job opportunity on the MinacNed ‘Job opening’ page’. This page has recently gone live, to share your job opportunities on the website, twitter and MinacNed LinkedIn page.

If you have a job opening in your organization, please send an email to Aurélie Veltema, project manager at MinacNed.

What do we need for a job opening page:

  • Your vacancy text, preferably in Word doc, and not in a PDF format as we use a text only set-up
  • Your contact information
  • The link to the job opening on your own webpage
  • Media such a picture or video you would like to present on the vacancy page

Your vacancy page will be published and you will receive a link via email. The page will stay live on the website for 3 weeks. If you need to continue the vacancy, please send an email.Once a job has been filled, we can remove the application page.

MinacNed is not responsible for the jobs that are published and the team does not forward CV’s to members of MinacNed.

Five innovative Overijssel projects will receive a subsidy from the European OP Oost program 2014-2020. All projects come from Twente and together receive an amount of 5.7 million to develop further. MinacNed members IamFluidics, Bronkhorst, MASER and Saxion Hogeschool and are participants in various projects that were awarded European funding.

Advanced Microcarrier for culture of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

IamFluidics will participate in the “Advanced Microcarrier for culture of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells” project. This is focused on developing a new type of microcarrier suitable for the cultivation of specialized stem cells. Stem cells offer a solution for many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Stem cells can multiply themselves and be converted into specialized cell types. These cell types can for example be used to screen new drugs for these diseases.
Project partners: IamFluidics (Enschede), Scinus Cell expansion (Utrecht), River Biomedics (Enschede) en Universiteit Twente (Enschede).

Test advanced chips early’ project

What is the project? Within the ‘METEORITE’ project, new techniques are being developed to test chips with MEMS (Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems) for their functioning at an early stage. Faulty MEMS lead to great waste of materials and time. As a result, they remain relatively expensive and applications are limited. With a MEMS “chip”, it is possible to make small electronic devices with special functionalities (sensors) to, for example, detect movements, generate light and measure or analyze liquid flows. A standard chip is measured for errors at an early stage in the production process. Existing testing technology for MEMS is currently underdeveloped, wasting material and time.

Project partners: Salland Engineering (Zwolle), Bronkhorst High Tech (Ruurlo), Stichting Saxion (Enschede), University of Twente (Enschede) and Maser Engineering (Enschede).

Read more about the OP Oost projects that were awarded European funding on the newspage of RTV Oost.

Source: IamFluidics


SMART Photonics is excited to announce a €35M Series C investment from a Dutch consortium led by Innovation Industries, that will help us to accelerate growth for photonic chip manufacturing. Read the full press release here:

SMART Photonics secures €35M new funding to accelerate growth for photonic chip manufacturing

Eindhoven, The Netherlands, 30 June 2020 – SMART Photonics, the independent foundry for photonic integrated circuits, today announced a €35M Series C investment from a Dutch consortium led by Innovation Industries.

The company, founded in 2012, will use the funds to expand its capacity for wafer manufacturing at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, accelerate the development of its photonic integration technology and firmly establish the technology in the marketplace through its valued customers.

Lead investor Innovation Industries is one of Europe’s most active independent photonics investors and holds numerous investments across the photonics value chain. The funding includes a contribution from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of The Netherlands through the Brabant Development Agency (BOM), as well as participations from KPN Ventures, PhotonDelta and existing shareholders, thereby reaffirming the position of SMART Photonics as the central player in the European photonics ecosystem.

SMART Photonics’ ambition is to be the leading independent foundry for photonic integrated circuits, which provide small-scale integration and high performance combined with low energy consumption. Photonic integrated circuits will play a key role in our lives by enabling new and radically improved applications that make our world better, greener and safer. SMART Photonics’ integration technology allows its customers to design chips for a variety of next generation communication and highly accurate sensor applications in telecoms, healthcare, smart mobility and sustainable industrial processes.

Since its inception in 2012, SMART Photonics has attracted a truly global customer base, consisting of leading US, European and Asian customers as well as a range of scale-up companies that develop applications using integrated photonics.

“We are very excited to have the new consortium on board and to be able to bring our foundry to the next level thanks to this investment. This will allow us to scale up our volumes as we support our customers in bringing their first commercial products using photonic integration technology to the market” comments Chief Executive Officer, Johan Feenstra, adding: “I am very grateful for the tremendous support we received from our investors, PhotonDelta partners and our long term R&D partner the Eindhoven University of Technology in making it happen.”

Nard Sintenie, General Partner, Innovation Industries, comments: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to lead this investment in SMART Photonics, as the company is perfectly positioned as Europe’s leading independent foundry for integrated photonics through its flexible production process of photonic integrated circuits, proprietary process design kit and tremendous know-how. We are truly impressed by the quality of the team and believe that they will successfully lead the company through its next phase of growth.” He continues: “In order for Europe to maintain a leading position in the development of new technologies for the rapid-growing photonics industry, we believe it is essential to invest in infrastructure. We are confident that SMART will contribute to a strong and healthy photonics ecosystem that will drive cutting-edge technology development ensuring continued formation of exciting start- and scale-ups in this attractive industry.”

Miriam Dragstra, CCO of the Brabant Development Agency (BOM), which played an important role in the deal sourcing, emphasizes the strategic importance of the deal: “Recognized as one of Europe’s key enabling technologies, Photonics has the potential to drive economic growth and provide solutions to some of the most pressing societal and environmental challenges of our time. SMART Photonics allows Dutch technology companies to play a leading role in the development of this promising technology. Therefore, BOM is committed to supporting the financial and strategic development of this game changer.”

PhotonDelta CEO Ewit Roos explains: “SMART Photonics fulfils a key function within our growing European photonics ecosystem and are of utmost importance as the fabrication of photonic integrated circuits enables innovative products in many application domains. Thus, the growth of SMART Photonics has a profound impact as it leverages the scale of activity and innovation of the entire supply chain of integrated photonics in Europe. We are thrilled to participate in this round as the national growth accelerator for the Dutch integrated photonics industry.”

Samir Ahmad, Investment Director at KPN Ventures explains the strategic value for KPN: “In order to keep up with the immense amount of data generated at a very high speed by advancing technologies like IoT, AI, augmented reality and autonomous driving, there is a need for a new generation of photonic integrated circuits that can transport data faster, cost-effective and more sustainable (less energy consumption). Therefore, we see a unique, strategic opportunity for KPN to be closely involved in the development of photonic integration technology with SMART Photonics to continue to serve our customers in an optimal way.”

Source: News SMART Photonics

In June, the board of NWO Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences has granted 43 projects within the Open Technology Programme and Take-off.

Open Technology Programme

In June, the board of NWO Domain AES granted 7 research projects within the Open Technology Programme (OTP). The projects range from coastal defense to propellers and cancer treatment, among other things.

The Open Technology Programme is open to excellent research aimed at the possible implementation of the results. The programme offers companies and other organisations an easily accessible way of becoming involved in scientific research that leads to usable knowledge.

These are the seven awarded projects, in order of project number:


Take-off is a funding instrument aimed at stimulating and supporting business activity and entrepreneurship originating in science.

In Take-off’s spring 2020 round, 27 feasibility studies were given the green light. Nine young starters also receive a loan from Take-off: the early-stage funding offers them a maximum amount of 250,000 euros. These capital injections will benefit a.o. AI safety solutions, coronary artery disease, wireless e-bike charging and a dialogue trainer. Take-off’s new round is open for applications on mid-july 2020.

Overview of granted projects
Feasibility studies (phase 1), wo
Feasibility studies (phase 1), TO2
Early stage route (phase 2)

Source: NWO News

(Nanowerk News) Researchers from Basel, Bochum and Copenhagen have gained new insights into the energy states of quantum dots. They are semiconductor nanostructures and promising building blocks for quantum communication. With their experiments, the scientists confirmed certain energy transitions in quantum dots that had previously only been predicted theoretically: the so-called radiative Auger process. For their investigations, the researchers in Basel and Copenhagen used special samples that the team from the Chair of Applied Solid State Physics at Ruhr-Universität Bochum had produced.
The researchers report their results in the journal Nature Nanotechnology (“Radiative Auger process in the single-photon limit”).

Lock up charge carriers

In order to create a quantum dot, the Bochum researchers use self-organizing processes in crystal growth. In the process, they produce billions of nanometer-sized crystals of, for example, indium arsenide. In these they can trap charge carriers, such as a single electron. This construct is interesting for quantum communication because information can be encoded with the help of charge carrier spins.
For this coding, it is necessary to be able to manipulate and read the spin from the outside. During readout, quantum information can be imprinted into the polarization of a photon, for example. This then carries the information further at the speed of light and can be used for quantum information transfer.

This is why scientists are interested, for example, in what exactly happens in the quantum dot when energy is irradiated from outside onto the artificial atom.

charged exciton

Schematic representation of a charged exciton, i.e. an excited state consisting of two electrons and one hole within a quantum dot. (Image: Arne Ludwig)

Special energy transitions demonstrated

Atoms consist of a positively charged core which is surrounded by one or more negatively charged electrons. When one electron in the atom has a high energy, it can reduce its energy by two well-known processes: in the first process the energy is released in the form of a single quantum of light (a photon) and the other electrons are unaffected.
A second possibility is an Auger process, where the high energy electron gives all its energy to other electrons in the atom. This effect was discovered in 1922 by Lise Meitner and Pierre Victor Auger.
About a decade later, a third possibility has been theoretically described by the physicist Felix Bloch: in the so-called radiative Auger process, the excited electron reduces its energy by transferring it to both, a light quantum and another electron in the atom.

A semiconductor quantum dot resembles an atom in many aspects. However, for quantum dots, the radiative Auger process had only been theoretically predicted so far.
Now, the experimental observation has been achieved by researchers from Basel. Together with their colleagues from Bochum and Copenhagen, the Basel-based researchers Dr. Matthias Löbl and Professor Richard Warburton have observed the radiative Auger process in the limit of just a single photon and one Auger electron. For the first time, the researchers demonstrated the connection between the radiative Auger process and quantum optics.
They show that quantum optics measurements with the radiative Auger emission can be used as a tool for investigating the dynamics of the single electron.


An electron inside a quantum dot is raised by a photon (green waveform) to a higher energy level. The result is a so-called exciton, an excited state consisting of two electrons and one hole. By emitting a photon (green waveform), the system returns to the ground state (green path). In rare cases, a radiative Auger process takes place (red arrow): an electron stays in the excited state, while a photon of lower energy (red waveform) is emitted. (Image: Arne Ludwig)

Applications of quantum dots

Using the radiative Auger effect, scientists can also precisely determine the structure of the quantum mechanical energy levels available to a single electron in the quantum dot. Until now, this was only possible indirectly via calculations in combination with optical methods. Now a direct proof has been achieved. This helps to better understand the quantum mechanical system.
In order to find ideal quantum dots for different applications, questions such as the following have to be answered: how much time does an electron remain in the energetically excited state? What energy levels form a quantum dot? And how can this be influenced by means of manufacturing processes?

Different quantum dots in stable environments

The group observed the effect not only in quantum dots in indium arsenide semiconductors. The Bochum team of Dr. Julian Ritzmann, Dr. Arne Ludwig and Professor Andreas Wieck also succeeded in producing a quantum dot from the semiconductor gallium arsenide. In both material systems, the team from Bochum has achieved very stable surroundings of the quantum dot, which has been decisive for the radiative Auger process. For many years now, the group at Ruhr-Universität Bochum has been working on the optimal conditions for stable quantum dots.

Source: Ruhr-Universität-Bochum via Nanowerk news

Niet alleen de longen ondervinden ernstige schade door COVID-19, bij een deel van de patiënten ook het hart. De oorzaak is nog niet duidelijk. Door hartweefsel op een ‘organ-on-chip’ bloot te stellen aan het virus én aan de medicatie die wordt gebruikt, ontstaat een snel en gepersonaliseerd beeld van de oorzaken, en mogelijk ook de remedies. Het ‘Organ-on-Chip Center Twente’ van de Universiteit Twente trekt daarvoor samen op met het Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum en de ondernemingen River Biomedics en NCardia, om deze kennis snel beschikbaar te maken.

Organ-on-chip systemen bieden de mogelijkheid om een miniatuurversie van een orgaan te bouwen. Dit mini-orgaan, meestal gevormd vanuit stamcellen, functioneert in een omgeving die lijkt op het echte lichaam dankzij een stelsel van vloeistofkanaaltjes en -reservoirs. Via die weg zijn ook andere stoffen toe te voegen, zoals medicatie. Voor het hart zijn er intussen modelsystemen die gebaseerd zijn op human pluripotent stem cells. Die kunnen volgens de onderzoekers ook ingezet worden voor tests met COVID-19 medicatie. En met modellen van het virus zélf: wat is het – tot nu toe onbegrepen – effect van het virus op het hart?

Snel en gepersonaliseerd

De grote voordelen zijn dat de resultaten snel beschikbaar zijn en dat zelfs het effect op de individuele patiënt zichtbaar wordt, bij gebruik van diens eigen cellen en bloed. Een gepersonaliseerde behandeling is dan mogelijk. De basis van het systeem is nu al beschikbaar, daar kan naar verwachting vlot op worden voortgebouwd. Doordat organ-on-chip systemen direct met menselijk weefsel werken, is een voordeel ook dat minder proefdieren nodig zijn.

In het project ‘MONACO-sprint’, modeling and attacking COVID-19 with Organs-on-Chips werken onderzoekers van het nieuwe Organ-on-Chip Center van de UT samen. Dit is een samenwerking van het TechMed Centre en het MESA+ Instituut van de UT.  De onderzoekers werken ook samen met collega’s van het Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum (LUMC). Partners uit het bedrijfsleven zijn de UT-spin-off River Biomedics en de in Leiden gevestigde onderneming NCardia. Het project wordt financieel ondersteund door Health~Holland.

Bron: nieuws University of Twente

Derde kwartaal 2020 absoluut dieptepunt

Uit onderzoek van FME blijkt dat in het derde kwartaal van dit jaar ondernemers een economisch absoluut dieptepunt bereiken; 72% van de bedrijven krijgt te maken met een fikse omzetdaling. Ook volgend jaar ziet er slecht uit. In 2021 heeft 53% van de bedrijven in de technologische industrie nog steeds te maken met flinke omzetdalingen. Het betreft hier vooral bedrijven in de midden- en kleine industrie (mki). Vraaguitval is de belangrijkste oorzaak.

Het herstel van de industrie zal nog lange tijd op zich laten wachten. Hoewel bedrijven er alles aan doen om ontslagen te voorkomen, zijn personele maatregelen waarschijnlijk niet te vermijden. Dat gaat in eerste instantie om het afbouwen van de flexibele schil en het niet verlengen van tijdelijke contracten.

Uit de crisis innoveren

Er is maar één weg uit de crisis: innovatie. “Bedrijven moeten zich letterlijk uit de crisis innoveren. Maar door de langdurige omzetdaling en de verder verslechterende liquiditeitspositie, dreigt driekwart van de bedrijven noodgedwongen op de innovatieve rem te trappen. Dat is op langere termijn zeer slecht voor hun concurrentiepositie en die van heel Nederland”, zegt FME-voorzitter Ineke Dezentjé.

Daarom roept FME de overheid op om de Wet Bevordering Speur- en Ontwikkelingswerk (WBSO) flink te verruimen. De WBSO is een loonkostensubsidie, waarbij lagere loonheffing voor medewerkers die R&D-werk verrichten en nieuwe innovatieve producten en productieprocessen ontwikkelen, betaald hoeft te worden.

Groeifonds snel inzetten

Daarnaast moet het vorig jaar opgetuigde ‘Groeifonds’, waarmee het kabinet innovatie wil stimuleren, snel ingezet worden. Sinds de coronacrisis staat het fonds ‘on hold’, dat is funest. In omringende landen zoals Duitsland en Frankrijk zijn ze volop bezig met grootschalige investeringen in talent en innovatie. Dezentjé: “We kunnen echt niet achter blijven. Dan krijgen we na de crisis nóg een klap, omdat onze concurrentiepositie enorm is aangetast. Met name de midden- en kleine industrie (mki) heeft een duw in de rug hard nodig.”

Uit het onderzoek van FME blijkt dat een groot deel van de ondernemers de overheid vraagt hen te helpen bij de mogelijkheid tot innoveren. Ook moet alles gedaan worden om talent binnenboord te houden en medewerkers waarvoor tijdelijk minder werk is, bij- en om te scholen. Dat kan via een verlenging van de NOW-regeling en daarna een Deeltijd WW.

FME houdt binnenkort een inspirerende webinar voor haar bedrijven, over hoe ze zich uit de crisis kunnen innoveren. FME laat hierbij zien waarom innovatie nu belangrijk is en wat je kunt doen. Samen met onze leden willen wij kansen creëren en mogelijkheden benutten om met je bedrijf en je medewerkers sterker uit de crisis te komen.

Bron: FME Nieuws
Foto credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash