Junior academic staff in Elite Program success

Three researchers from the University of Stuttgart are to receive funding from the Baden-Württemberg Foundation’s Elite Program.

The three projects to be rewarded by the Elite Program are in the fields of water and environmental protection, mathematics and physics. They will receive up to a maximum of 120,000 euros over a period of up to three years. The University of Stuttgart will also contribute an additional 10 percent of the funding for the proposed projects. The Baden-Württemberg Foundation’s Elite Program for postdocs supports excellent scientists on the path towards becoming professors.

“We’re happy that three early career researchers from the University of Stuttgart have been included in the latest intake of the Baden-Württemberg Foundation’s Elite Program. This emphasizes the research strength of the university. The funding will support the researchers in achieving their scientific objectives”, explains Prof. Monilola Olayioye, Vice Rector for Young Researchers and Diversity.

The project by Dr. Stefan Haun from the Institute for Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems deals with the accumulation of microplastics in stored water and behind dams and the hazards that result. Dr. Frederik Marks from the Institute of Algebra and Number Theory wants to build new bridges between localization and silting theory, and in so doing combine two fundamental areas of mathematical research. Dr. Ece Uykur, from the Institute of Theoretical Physics I, is researching new types of semiconductor materials for use in electronics, optoelectronics and quantum computers. As well as being supported by the Elite Program, Uykur is also receiving funding from the Margarete von Wrangell program run by the state of Baden-Württemberg.

Descriptions of the projects

Water and environmental protection, Dr. Stefan Haun

Plastic pollution is becoming an increasing problem for marine and freshwater ecosystems. Research into microplastics and their effects on ecosystems is currently almost exclusively focused on the oceans. However, they are transported to the oceans via rivers and streams. If the flow properties of rivers are disturbed due to anthropogenic influences, these particles sink to the bottom and accumulate. This therefore means that dams become depositories for sediment, pollutants and microplastics. The aim of the project is firstly to gain an insight into the occurrence of microplastics based on selected dams, and secondly into the effects of microplastics on the resistance of sediment deposits to erosion. This new understanding forms the basis for a risk assessment and should help to avoid an increased risk for the ecosystem.

Mathematics department, Dr. Frederik Marks

His project pursues the aim of combining two fundamental areas of mathematical research and showing that a solid joint theory can be developed for both fields despite the need to specialize in terms of content. On the one hand he deals with the algebraic concept of localization, which is used in a number of branches of modern mathematics, such as in representation theory, category theory or topology. On the other hand, he focuses on the new, and very active field of research into silting theory, which combines traditional representation theory with combinatorial cluster theory and algebraic geometry. Dr. Frederik Marks wants to use his project to show that silting objects generally induce an abundance of localizations that can be explicitly described, and that in many cases all localizations of certain algebraic structures can be classified using silting objects.

Physics department, Dr. Ece Uykur

All materials used in the semiconductor industry today, such as silicon or gallium arsenide, have parabolic energy bands with a more or less large effective mass of the charge carriers. For some years, the focus of solid state research has been on materials with linear energy bands and particular topological features. These so-called three-dimensional topological Dirac and Weyl semimetals are therefore of interest for use in electronics, optoelectronics and quantum computers.

Ece Uykur first wants to use her project to research different properties of the new class of materials which relate to the fundamental issues of physics. The low-energy excitations of Dirac and Weyl semimetals bring the systems in line with relativistic Dirac fermions, in stark contrast to conventional semiconductors with parabolic bands. Weyl semimetals break the time reversal invariance and inversion symmetry. This means that Weyl semimetals are very robust against external disturbances, unlike Dirac systems. Uykur intends to research the different optical and transport properties of the special topological phases of the new types of semiconductors.

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