DTU Fysik Bygning 311

Four scientists from DTU Physics receive Villum Experiment grants

Friday 13 Sep 19


Tim Booth
Associate Professor
DTU Physics
+45 45 25 63 55


Kristoffer Haldrup
Senior Researcher
DTU Physics
+45 22 98 37 20


Juanita Bocquel
DTU Physics
+45 45 25 32 56


Thomas Olsen
Associate Professor
DTU Physics
+45 45 25 31 80
The four scientists have received Villum Experiment grants of almost 7.5 mill. DKK to perform their bold research ideas. 

Of a whopping 449 applicants who has submitted their ideas to the Villum Foundation 52 have been give grants and at DTU 21 scientists have received grants. Four of these grants has been awarded to scientists from DTU Physics and they can now test their ideas in a unique setting.

One of the researchers is Associate Professor Tim Booth who has received 2 million DKK for the project “ IonGate - Bio-inspired synthetic active transport membranes based on van der Waals heterostructures”.

“I am delighted that IonGate is amongst the ideas chosen by the VILLUM FONDEN for support. Thanks to the unique anonymous application process, Villum Experiment proposals are judged on a level playing field and researchers like me can get a chance to test our more unorthodox ideas. I’m really looking forward to getting started”, Associate Professor Tim Booth explains and continues:

“Separating out parts of a fluid mixture is critical for a huge range of human activities, from the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, to battery technologies, to the production of fresh water from seawater. Today we rely on high temperatures, passive filtration or big external pressure gradients to do this. In the IonGate project we will try to use engineered stacks of nanoporous 2D materials to copy biological life’s trick of active transport – concentrating fluid components ‘uphill’ against concentration gradients – using electrical energy.”

Senior Scientist Kristoffer Haldrup has received a grant of 1.9 mill for his project “Phonon Photography”, 1.9 mill. DKK.

“At the atomic level, materials are always vibrating; it’s what defines how they conduct heat, how they conduct electricity, and many more of their most important properties. But these vibrations – called phonons– are too fast, too small and too subtle to see directly using conventional microscopes”.

“This project proposes an unconventional microscope, powered by an x-ray laser. If successful, it would have a time resolution a trillion times better than other x-ray microscopes, allowing us to see phonons buried deep inside materials in real time. It means we could directly see how phonons move and interact to give materials some of their most fundamental properties”, Senior Scientist Kristoffer Haldrup explains.

VILLUM FONDEN awards a total of EUR 13.2 million (DKK 98.5 million) in grants to bold research ideas in the technical and natural sciences that challenge norms and have the potential to fundamentally alter approaches to important topics.

All applications are subject to a selection process in which 20 international judges assess the research idea without the possibility of taking the researchers’ CVs and academic qualifications into account.

The other two DTU Physics scientists to receive grants are:

Juanita Bocquel, Postdoc, DTU Physics, Quantum Sensing of a Biological Compass, 1.9 mill. DKK.

Thomas Olsen, Associate Professor, DTU Physics, Farming functionality: "Sowing two-dimensonal metals in ferroelectrics", 1.7 mill. DKK.