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Slovensko   English2024-06-19


News Archive

At the final meeting of the INSPIRES project (EIT RawMaterials), the members of the Nanostructured Materials Department (Dr. Benjamin Podmiljšak, Dr. Tomaž Tomše and Prof. Dr. Spomenka Kobe) in the consortium of 11 partners reported on the goals achieved. In the RIS Slovenia region, we presented a successful example of a circular economy without waste. We focused on motors in household appliances and developed new automated processes for dismantling and recovering magnets. With key industrial partners (Kolektor, Gorenje, Domel, ZEOS, Surovina) we established recycling processes and tested new circular economy pathways. We analysed their sustainable performance in terms of economic and environmental life cycles. In the Slovenian region, knowledge and technologies from non-RIS regions contributed to the refinement (recycling technology was provided by the University of Pforzheim). The Brussels-based partner CEPS (Centre for European Policy Studies) effectively communicated the project results to decision-makers for further action.

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Coworkers of the Department of Complex Matter from Jožef Stefan Institute, Peter Medle Rupnik, Luka Cmok, Nerea Sebastián, and Alenka Mertelj have published a paper in the journal Advanced Functional Materials entitled Viscous Mechano-Electric Response of Ferroelectric Nematic Liquid. They report on mechano-electric transduction phenomena in ferroelectric liquid at room temperature. They show that the actuation of a cell filled with ferroelectric nematic liquid crystal causes changes in electric polarisation structure and consequently electric current is generated. As described the observed phenomena fundamentally differ from the piezoelectric effect, due to their viscous character, i.e. the polarisation changes with flow. This indicates a high technological potential since already a very soft touch leads to electric signals, which depend on the touch strength. Ferroelectric liquids are therefore promising for use in fields from tactile sensorics to energy harvesting at low actuation frequencies.

News Archive

In collaboration with co-workers from China, Germany, Australia, and Switzerland, Prof. dr. Tadej Rojac from the Electronic Ceramics Department has recently published a paper in the journal of Advanced Functional Materials titled Piezoelectric properties of BiFeO₃ exposed to high temperatures. The study reports on an unusual phenomenon in ferroelectric bismuth ferrite (BiFeO₃), which has been extensively studied in recent years due to its high Curie temperature (TC = 830°C) and therefore its potential for high-temperature piezoelectric applications. The researchers discovered that the piezoelectric response, which disappeared at temperatures above ~400°C, was recovered upon cooling of the material. In contrast to the commonly assumed explanation related to thermal depoling of the ceramics and thus permanent loss of piezoelectricity, in this case, it is a reversible phenomenon stemming from the thermally activated electrical conductivity of the ferrite. The discovery of this phenomenon has paved the way for optimizing the poling conditions of BiFeO₃, which may have practical significance in the development of BiFeO₃-related environmentally friendly lead-free piezoceramics.

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Journal Physical Review Letters published a paper Dynamics and Topology of Symmetry Breaking with Skyrmions, by Jaka Pišljar, Andriy Nych, Uliana Ognysta, Andrej Petelin, Samo Kralj and Igor Muševič, from Jožef Stefan Institute, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics UL, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering UL and Institute of Physics, Kyiv. The authors showed how the formation of the half-skyrmions-vortices from the high temperature isotropic phase dramatically changes as the chiral liquid crystal sample is confined to thickness below 100 nm. They observed unusally slow fluctuations, which represent spontanoeus formation and decay of individual half-skyrmions, also shown in the accompanying figure. The rate of such dynamics is 4 orders of magnitude slower of what was expected and is explained by the mechanism of thermal hopping between states, which become energetically accessible due to the strong confinement effects. This phenomenon is interesting from the topological point of view as well, as the experiments reveal the mechanisms of topological charge conservation at the phase transition. The paper was also highlighted in the journal Physics.

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