At HFML-FELIX we strive to leave our mark on both society and the scientific community. We do this by conducting groundbreaking research resulting in the discovery of new practical applications or the furthering of knowledge in our respective fields. Alongside these efforts, we also aim to impact and improve the world through or work in education and outreach.
The research at HFML-FELIX often has the potential to have tremendous societal impact. Most of these studies can be categorized under three overarching themes: health, energy, and smart materials.
The development of new methods in health and life sciences is an important task where our unique infrastructure plays a distinctive role.
FELIX light to identify metabolic biomarkers
We're working with Radboudumc on the discovery of new biomarkers for metabolic diseases. Taking advantage of the selectivity and sensitivity when combining FELIX infrared ion spectroscopy and mass spectrometry, we can provide a structural fingerprint of small molecules in biological samples, like blood or urine.
Targeted drug delivery
Using specially designed nanomotors, sensitive to a magnetic field, we are attempting to develop a new form of targeted drug delivery in which nanoparticles loaded with drugs are sent to the right place in the body. This should minimize both negative side effects and damage to healthy tissue, whilst reducing necessary medicine intake.
Reducing global warming will require a number of innovative solutions, including finding ways to produce energy from clean and renewable sources and learning to use energy in the most effective way.
Low-cost solar power
Solar power offers great promise, but its current form is expensive. Therefore, we're researching low-cost, easy-to-fabricate solar cells with high efficiency. A promising new concept in solar power is singlet fission, which can be explored by studying it at high-field pulsed electron-spin-resonance within the HFML-FELIX combination.
Revolutionizing data storage efficiency
To reduce the energy consumption for data storage, we study alternative ways to manipulate, process and store data. We aim to achieve low-energy, all-optical switching of magnetic bits using free-electron laser light. This could lead to magnetic memory devices that use six to eight orders of magnitude less energy.
Innovative technologies that make modern digital society possible are linked to breakthroughs in controlling the electrical properties of materials. To study the properties of new materials, intense THz radiation and high magnetic fields are essential.
Solving the mystery of high-temperature superconductivity
Room temperature superconductivity remains a holy grail for physicists. The combination of strong magnets and intense light has the potential to allow researchers to finally gain access to this terra incognita. This might unlock the key ingredients for the design of yet more robust and higher-performance superconducting materials.
Graphene and other 2D materials
Research with strong magnets and intense laser light uncovers the properties of new emergent materials, which can be crucial in designing new devices and technology. Key examples are two-dimensional materials (such as graphene), topological materials and novel types of superconductors.
HFML-FELIX performs cutting-edge research, both fundamental and applied, contributing to the advancement of science. This might happen through the discovery of properties of new materials with strong technological potential, like graphene, for which professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics back in 2010. In other cases, results can be as fundamental as the furthering of scientific knowledge, creating a foundation for future research and theories.
Besides this, HFML-FELIX is also a driving force in the development of innovative instrumentation, stimulating technical development programs together with private partners and educating the next generation of engineers and leading scientists. It provides a significant Dutch contribution to the portfolio of worldwide open-access research infrastructures, which become increasingly important to push the boundaries of exploration.
We're not alone
Of course, we do not achieve all of these things in splendid isolation. To get the best possible results, and ensure a free flow of knowledge and information between peers, we work closely with multiple partner organizations and institutes like EMFL, LEAPS, ARIE, FELs of Europe and Laserlab Europe. For more information, check out our Users & Partners page.
Education & Outreach
HFML-FELIX is one of the few international open-acces user facilities on Dutch soil and through our unique infrastructure, we attract many top researchers and young scientific talent from all over the world. We value the transfer of knowledge and our staff continuously shares their insights through talks, seminars, lectures, classes and tours. We educate young researchers and technicians through PhD positions and internships and facilitate visiting scientists to use our instruments. Most of our staff also teaches students at the Faculty of Science.
Besides sharing information with peers and students, HFML-FELIX also welcomes third parties and promotes science and technology to society and the general public. Our staff regularly provides guided tours and a large number of people have visited our facility – excluding guest researchers. This audience represents a wide variety; from scientists and politicians to schoolchildren, students and business partners.