UG Professor of Photophysics and Optoelectronics Maria Antonietta Loi has received the Physics Prize 2018 on 13 April. The prize is for excellent physics research by a physicist working in the Netherlands.
In winning the prize Loi joins the ranks of Nobel laureates Klaus von Klitzing, Gerard ’t Hooft , Martinus Veltman, astronomer Ewine van Dishoeck and famous physicists such as Robbert Dijkgraaf. Loi joined the UG in 2006 and was appointed Professor of Photophysics and Optoelectronics in 2011. This field of research relates to converting light to electricity or vice versa, as with LEDs and solar panels. Loi works at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (ZIAM) at the Faculty of Science and Engineering.
In her research Loi makes creative use of new combinations of materials, organic molecules with anorganic nanocrystals, for instance. These new combinations sometimes yield materials with surprising properties. A recent example is her work with hybrid perovskites. These are crystals that can be used to make efficient solar cells. She recently discovered a special hybrid perovskite that promises an even higher output. Another perovskite proved to work well as an X-ray detector.
Loi also conducts research in other areas. This includes work on a special type of semiconductor, quantum dots. These are small crystals whose properties relate to their size. She has also developed a technique that uses a polymer to extract different types of carbon nanotube from a solution. She can place the right nanotubes from the solution straight onto golden contacts, thus creating minuscule transistors. She conducted this research with partners including IBM Germany.
Maria Loi has also directed her efforts at the teaching of physics in Groningen, within and outside the Faculty of Science and Engineering, for example, leading the creation of the Science programme for the UG/University College. She inspires students, PhD students and postdocs in her group and has a good eye for individual talent. Outside Groningen, Loi has been a member of various groups and committees in the field of materials and energy research.
Maria Loi gave the traditional Physica lecture on 13 April in Utrecht during Fysica 2018, the annual conference of the NNV.
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