The Department of Macromolecular Physics was established as the Department of Polymers in 1974. At present, our department is conducting research in the fields of physics of nanomaterials, physics of polymers and macromolecular solids and theoretical physics.
Marco Tosca, Ph.D. student from the group of Prof. Shukurov, won the Best Poster competition at the 3rd International Workshop on Proton-Boron Fusion held in Prague and Dolní Břežany, Czech Republic. Marco was awarded the first prize for the poster ‘Nanoparticles of Plasma Polymerized Hexane Targets for Laser- Driven Proton-Boron Fusion’.
Our warmest congratulations!
An original system for the effective preparation of bi-metallic nanoparticles was developed at our department, which uses a cylindrical post magnetron. The results of the study of this new source of nanoparticles have just been accepted in the journal Vacuum.
Details can be found here.
The mechanism of formation of nanoparticles in gas aggregation sources is still the subject of controversy. In the just-published article in Surface and Coatings Technology, prepared in close collaboration with the University of South Bohemia, we show that dimers sputtered from the magnetron target play an important role in the initial stages of the formation of nanoparticles.
Since the 1st of October, a new international GAČR project has been running in our department under the leadership of Dr. Ryabov. This joint project with Osnabrück University is focused on the study of cluster-mediated driven transport in highly populated periodic structures.
Members of our department participated in large numbers in the 11th International Workshop on Functional Nanocomposites held in Plön, Germany. Besides other oral and poster presentations given by our department members, Dr. J. Kousal delivered an invited talk entitled "Exploration of the gap between classical and plasma polymers: fundamental and applied science opportunities".
When large numbers of active Brownian particles swim towards the same place, they get stuck and form a colloidal crystal. However, what happens if these particles see their target with a time delay? Our paper published in EPL shows that in such a case, the crystal with increasing delay undergoes several unexpected and fascinating dynamical phases, which you can see here.
We heartily congratulate our students on the successful defense of their bachelor's, master's and dissertation theses.
We wish them success not only in the field of science but also in daily life!
Is it possible to controllably change the shape of niobium nanoparticles produced using a gas aggregation source? We tried to answer this question experimentally and theoretically in the article A multi-timescale model predicts the spherical-to-cubic morphology crossover of magnetron-sputtered niobium nanoparticles, which was just published in the journal Applied Surface Science.
Our article Challenges in the deposition of plasma polymer nanoparticles using gas aggregation source: Rebounding upon impact and how to land them on a substrate has just been accepted for publication in the journal Plasma Processes and Polymers, in which we demonstrate that during the deposition of nanoparticles (especially plasma polymer ones), reflection of these nanoparticles may occur. We show under what conditions this phenomenon takes place, how to avoid reflection if needed and how to ensure that the nanoparticles adhere to the substrate. These results pave the way for broader utilization of plasma polymer nanoparticles.
Jan Prokeš participated in the development of a new method for determining the electrical conductivity of powders under defined pressure which is suitable for characterizing materials that cannot be compressed into standard tablets. In cooperation with other Czech research institutes, this method was used to study carbonized leather waste. This research, on the basis of which a series of articles has been published (#1, #2, #3, #4), opens up the possibility of processing leather waste into useful conductive materials with high application potential, for example as material in the electrodes of supercapacitors used for energy storage.
Our Ph.D. student Kateryna Biliak won the Best Poster Award for her contribution at the Cluster Meeting held on June 18-23, 2023 in Prague.
Hearty congratulations to Kataryna!!
The group of Prof. Shukurov participated in the prestigious conference of EMRS Spring Meeting 2023 in Strasbourg. Despite the large number of participants (> 2500), all team members received oral talks in recognition of the high quality of the research abstracts submitted. Our warmest congratulations go to Kateryna Biliak, who won a Young Researcher Award and Maria Protsak, who won a Best Presentation Award.
A PhD position is available in the area of nonequilibrium statistical and condensed matter physics with a focus on particle transport in strongly crowded periodic environments.
Details, requirements and contacts can be found here.
Following the success of the publication in Communication Physics, Marco Tosca has won a grant from the Grant Agency of Charles University on the related topic of ‘Plasma-assisted synthesis of boron/hydrocarbon polymer nanomaterials as targets for laser-driven proton-boron fusion’. He will investigate such nanomaterials for their interaction with high-power lasers, with the main objective of finding correlations between the material structure, composition, order vs. disorder, and alpha-particle yield. The project will contribute to the field of clean energy generation and may also prove feasible in other fields of science, including alpha particle-based cancer therapy and nondestructive material diagnostics.
In the journal Materials Chemistry and Physics, we have just published an article summarizing the results of the study of heat-induced morphogenesis of vanadium nanoparticle films prepared using the gas aggregation source of nanoparticles. These results pave the way for the preparation of highly porous coatings of vanadium and its oxides with well-controlled physical properties.
What is the history, present and future of plasma-based gas aggregation sources of nanoparticles? What prevents their further development and wider application? These are the topics we tried to answer in the review article "Plasma-assisted gas-phase aggregation of clusters for functional nanomaterials", which was published in the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology A.
Semitransparent nanostructured TiO2 coatings are used in a wide range of modern applications, such as energy production, gas sensors, biodetectors and photocatalysis. In our just-published article, we presented a simple method that enables the coat and time efficient preparation of such nanomaterials without the need to use chemical solvents, precursors or linkers.
The group led by prof. Shukurov developed customized targets based on C:H plasma polymer coatings on boron nitride. In collaboration with colleagues from other facilities, we used these targets in experiments on laser-driven proton-boron fusion to show, for the first time, that such fusion is possible even using a compact tabletop laser. The discovery, published in Communication Physics, offers an alternative to nonthermal fusion, showing a clean, safe, and reliable route for various applications, including sustainable electricity generation, radiobiology, and cancer treatment.
Daniil Nikitin received a grant funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports to support the mobility of students and young researchers between our department and the Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany.
The goal of this bilateral project, which follows on from our long-term research in the field of nanomaterials development, will be to gain new knowledge about resistive switching in nanofluids.
When groups of birds or fishes form fantastic formations, one often speaks of swarm intelligence. Our study of artificial active Brownian particles suggests that the roots of these behaviors could be much more prosaic. When we steered a group of tiny spheres in a water container with a laser beam to reach a common target, they exhibited an unexpectedly complex, coordinated circular motion. We explain these observations by the presence of a time delay in our feedback apparatus and argue that it is likely that similar mechanisms are omnipresent in nature.