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Rolf Tarrach Prize 2017 for research on multifunctional materials

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Published on Wednesday, 12 July 2017

The physicist Mads Christof Weber wins the Rolf Tarrach Prize 2017 for his outstanding doctoral thesis in physics and material science.

The award for the best doctoral thesis in Luxembourg comes with a prize money of 10,000 euros and is bestowed by the Amis de l'Université. Mads Weber received the prize at a ceremony chaired by Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, president of the Amis, on 11 July 2017 at the Chamber of Commerce of Luxembourg.

From left: Rolf Tarrach, Mads Christof Weber and Erna Hennicot-Schoepges, © Michel Brumat / University of Luxembourg, 2017

Application-oriented research

Mads Weber worked on his PhD entitled Electronic and structural properties of bismuth and rare-earth ferrites from 2013 to 2016 at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) and the Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication of the University of Luxembourg. His research focuses on functional properties of a number of materials that can be used in technical applications. Examples for such properties are light-induced effects, magnetism or ferroelectricity, which means that materials are magnetic or have an electric polarisation that can be reversed by a magnetic or electronic field, respectively.

For his PhD, supervised by Prof. Jens Kreisel of the LIST, Mads Weber concentrated on so-called multifunctional materials, which have several such properties at once that are often coupled. “Multifunctional materials have many potential applications in areas such as microelectronics, sensor technology, and medical technology. They could be used to engineer components that can perform several tasks in parallel, such as a single computer chip that at the same time stores and processes data,” the researcher explains. In order to better understand the physical causes behind these phenomena, he applied a new method to study interactions between light and matter and the influence of magnetism on the atomic structure.

Now a postdoc in Switzerland

The 31-year-old Weber who in March 2017 started to work as postdoctoral researcher at the ETH Zürich in Switzerland is very pleased with receiving the award. “I feel deeply honored to receive the Rolf Tarrach Prize. The prize is the highest possible recognition of the value of scientific outcome of my thesis and my competences as researcher. Having moved from Luxembourg, the prize affirms my feeling as a representative of the young researcher generation of Luxembourg, who got their formation in Luxembourg,” he said.

By awarding the best doctoral award each year, the Amis de l'Université aim to reward excellence in the field of research and to promote the international reputation of the University of Luxembourg.

Other nominees for the 2017 awards were:

  • Stanisław Tosza from the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance (FDEF) who addressed the legal question of criminal liability of managers for excessive risk-taking; and,
  • Susanne Backes of the Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education with her research on heterogeneity in Luxembourg’s education system.
Square photo: Mads Christof Weber, © Michel Brumat / University of Luxembourg, 2017