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04-05-2017 | Portrait: © QuTech | Illustration: Laser setup. Lasers are used to control and readout the electron in the defect center in diamond. The electron serves as an interface between nuclear spins and photons.© Klapstuk Studio 2 mins read

Critical challenges in quantum applications

After the birth of quantum mechanics in the early 20th century, this branch of physics evolved from being primarily the conceptual framework for the description of subatomic particle phenomena to providing inspiration for new technological applications. New hybrid architecture of quantum systems is now being developed in order to foster the implementation of cutting-edge quantum technologies.

22-02-2017 | © picture and illustration: Utrecht University, The Netherlands 3 mins read

Controlled catalysis for ultra-clean fuels

Catalysts are essential for a lot of chemical production processes, accelerating and enhancing chemical reactions to produce plastics, medicines and fuels more efficiently. Now, thanks to EU-funded research, catalysts are being made more precise and effective with potentially significant benefits for industry and the environment, not least through the development of ultra-clean fuels.

15-03-2016 | © picture 2 mins read

ERC-funded result amongst top 10 physics discoveries of the last decade

In physics, scientists can predict the existence of a particle which is eventually, soon after or considerably later, observed experimentally. The Higgs boson is one of the most striking recent examples. ERC grantee Leo Kouwenhoven has recently made such a demonstration proving the existence of the “Majorana fermion”, a particle theorised in the 1930s. Detecting Majorana’s particles is not only exciting for particle physicists; thanks to their properties they could prove useful as stable “quantum bits” of information that could make quantum computers a reality.

19-08-2015 | © picture 2 mins read

China and the Historical Sociology of Empire

How can we explain the continuity of Chinese empires? Dr Hilde De Weerdt with her project "Chinese Empire" revisits this big question in world history.

23-04-2015 | Image: © www.istockphoto.com 3 mins read

What cosmic rays tell us about thunderstorms on Earth

When Prof. Heino Falcke obtained an ERC grant to study and identify the sources of ultra-high energy cosmic rays, back in 2008, he could not imagine that his research would provide an important clue to better understand lightning and thunderclouds much closer to us. His team indeed realized that cosmic rays, originating in outer space and striking the Earth from all directions, can provide a near instantaneous 'picture' of the electric fields in clouds. The unexpected finding, to be published this week in Physical Review Letters, is the result of a fruitful collaboration between astronomers, particle physicists and geophysicists. The measurements were performed with the LOFAR radio telescope, located in the Netherlands, and partly funded by the ERC.