Gabi Schierning receives an ERC Consolidator Grant
The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded Dr. Gabi Schierning of the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden with an ERC Consolidator Grant. The funding of 2 million Euros enables the scientist during the next five years to implement her project with the acronym MATTER. This stands for „MAcroscopic quantum transport maTERials by nanoparticle processing“.
Gabi Schierning is very successful in the field of thermoelectric materials including the development of thermoelectric devices which generate electricity from temperature differences in the environment. Many high-efficiency thermoelectric materials also belong to the class of topological insulator materials. These are quantum materials that can act both as insulators and as electrical conductors. While an electrically insulating state prevails inside the crystals, the crystal surfaces are electrically conducting. In the most important thermoelectric materials bismuth telluride and antimony telluride, due to the topological insulator properties on the surfaces of the material, there is a special type of „topologically protected“ charge carriers, which can move much better and thus reduce the resistance of the entire material. However, these charge carriers exist only on the surfaces. A proven concept in thermoelectric material optimization is the use of nanoparticles, which are characterized by an extremely high surface-to-volume ratio. This raises the question of whether the technically relevant performance of thermoelectrics is linked to the occurrence and number of these exotic topologically protected states. Gabi Schierning will deal with this thesis with the ERC Consolidator Grant. In addition to this fundamental issue, the project also aims to develop electronic devices made from these materials. If successful, the first macroscopic quantum transport devices that use the electronic properties of these surface states will result.
About the ERC: The European Research Council is a European funding organization for basic, visionary research. The scientific excellence is the decisive criterion. The ERC Consolidator Grant promotes excellent scientists in consolidating their own independent research group with up to € 2 million over a five-year period.
IFW scientists are particularly successful in the competition for the prestigious ERC grants. So far, five ERC Starting Grants, two ERC Advanced Grants and now the third ERC Consolidator Grant have been granted to IFW scientists. It is particularly positive that two of the 10 ERC grants at the IFW have now been raised by female scientists.
Dr. Gabi Schierning