Highlights 2009

December 2009

The ultraviolet portion of the solar spectrum is at the origin of skin cancers. Two ranges are defined: UVB radiation is the most energetic (280-320 nm), while UVA is less powerful but at least 20 times more frequent.
In our magnetic levitation facility OLGA, in a low magnetic field, we have observed a beautiful ferrofluid behaviour of liquid oxygen, close to its critical point.   Ferrofluids are liquids loaded with magnetic colloids.
In collaboration with the Institut d’Electronique Fondamentale (Orsay) and Spintec, we have studied in detail the effect of an electric current within a magnetic nanostructure, in order to better understand the spin transfer phenomenon.

November 2009

Contact: Yoann Roupioz
Collaboration between the CNRS-LAAS in Toulouse and the CNRS-SPrAM at the CEA-Grenoble has allowed the set-up of new biochips, capable of capturing blood cells and their organization on a surface. This work paves the way to studies and analysis at the individual cell level.
Copper is a trace element, essential to all living cells. However, an excess of this metal can induce severe diseases. The SCIB has designed a sulfur-rich bio-mimetic molecule, able to selectively encapsulate copper.
One of the main characteristics of high critical temperature superconductors is the existence of an abnormally small density of electronic states at the Fermi level, in the normal state. We have just witnessed similar behaviour in a conventional, albeit very disordered, superconductor.

October 2009

Contact: Lucien Notin
In pressurized water nuclear plants, it is important to know the evolution of the mechanical properties of steel which is subjected to radiation and to temperatures around 300°C. At Areva’s request, we have resumed the elaboration of temperature indicators for future plants.
High-frequency pulse tube technology (30 ~ 50 Hz) meets space vibration and reliability requirements but, up until now, was restricted to temperatures greater than 35 K.
A neutron resonance spin echo (NRSE) option has recently been installed on the three-axis spectrometer IN22 (CRG at the ILL). This device enables a gain up to two orders of magnitude in terms of energy resolution, and permits precise measurements of dispersive excitation lifetimes.

September 2009

Contact: Pierre Terech
In order to take advantage of specific properties from nano-objects, one must be able to handle them, to deposit them wherever desired, and be able to read the information they carry.
Spintronics created magnetic memories and radio-frequency oscillators based on similar stacks of magnetic and non-magnetic layers.
The immobilization of redox compounds – which are able to gain or lose electrons – on silicon paves the way for the development of new hybrid memories.

June 2009

Contact: Eva Monroy
Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are set for a brilliant future: it is forecasted that they will one day replace all other lighting devices because they consume less power. For LEDs emitting in the near UV, the blue and the green, the active material is gallium nitride (GaN).
Contact : Roser Vallcorba
The main aim of the ITER fusion process is to generate 500 MW of heat power for a period of several minutes, from a 50 MW power input source. The indispensable condition: "proper" cooling of several tens of kilometres of superconducting windings that confine the plasma.
After more than 20 years of intense research, the nature of the phase which appears below 18 K in the compound URu2Si2 remains a mystery. Until now, no measurement using a microscopic probe has been able to directly link a physical parameter to this phase.

May 2009

Contact: Daniel Imbert
Lanthanides are metals widely used, especially for imaging. They form molecular compounds that are unfortunately labile, that is to say unstable, hindering their development.
Contact: Peter Reiss
The controlled assembly of semiconductor nanorods is a key step towards exploiting their anisotropic conductive and fluorescent properties in optoelectronic devices.  We assembled CdSe nanorods between electrodes under an electric field.
Contact : Dimitri Houssamedine
With original measurements on high quality samples, Spintec laboratory, in collaboration with Leti and Hitachi, has just revealed one of the reasons why the performance of radio frequency spin oscillators still remains limited.

April 2009

An unavoidable consequence of aerobic life is the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as superoxide anions, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radicals, which are capable of damaging numerous cellular components, including nucleic acids, proteins and lipids.
Contact: Georgios Katsaros
Starting with a self-assembled SiGe island, we have fabricated a device in which we can precisely control the number of charge carriers. Thanks to the properties of the material in use, this device provides a means to manipulate the spin of the charge carriers in an unprecedented way.
We developed new bi-functional molecules which can be “anchored” to one side of a surface, and can “recognize” a complementary molecule on the other side. This molecular recognition is achieved by weak interactions that are non-covalent and reversible.

March 2009

Contact: Michel Bardet
The Magnetic Resonance Laboratory (SCIB/LRM), in collaboration with Arc Nucléart, iRTSV and INRAP, has succeeded in explaining the origin of the excellent preservation of old leather, after having spent several centuries buried in sediments.
Contact: Gilles Gaudin
In Hard disk drives and magnetic memories, information is stored in a magnetic domain, associating magnetization direction to logic 1 and 0, up or down direction, which is written using a magnetic field.
Contact: Nicolas Pauc
The scanning electron microscope allows one to obtain nice images, or to draw nanostructures.

February 2009

Contact: Gérard Gebel
Water management is a key issue for optimizing fuel cell operations. A dry polymer membrane induces a drop in performance due to low proton conductivity. An excess of water induces a flooding of the electrodes.
Contact: Tobias Schülli
Take two reactive substances. Add them together… nothing happens. Now, add a tiny bit of magic powder. A miracle occurs! The reaction takes place. This is the mystery of catalysis.
Contact : Massimo Mongillo
Using a single silicon nanowire, we have made the first prototype of a multipurpose device which can be used as a field effect transistor, a Schottky diode or a p-n diode.


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