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Material design: START Prize for TU Graz physicist

06/25/2018 | Planet research | FoE Advanced Materials Science | TU Graz news | Research

By Birgit Baustädter

TU Graz physicist Oliver Hofmann has been awarded the renowned START Prize for his work in the field of material design. He aims to make production of materials with certain properties easier.

Oliver Hofmann won the START Prize of the Austrian Science Fund FWF in 2018. © Baustädter – TU Graz
Many material properties depend upon the internal structure of a material. The internal structure can in turn be influenced by the production process. What conditions need to prevail during the production process in order to confer certain properties on the material is valuable knowledge not easily won. This is where Oliver Hofmann’s MAP DESIGN project, which was awarded the START Prize, comes in. Its aim is to simulate conditions by means of quantum-mechanical computer calculations which can lead to the production of materials with precisely defined properties. The START-Price is awarded by the Austrian Science Fund every year to five or six projects selected by an international expert jury. The research funds amount to between 880,000 and 1.2m euros and each project runs for six years. The most recent person to bring a START Prize to TU Graz was mathematician Christoph Aistleitner in 2015. Aistleitner introduces his current project on ‘Probabilistic methods in analysis and number theory’ on Planet research.

International cooperation for improved solar cells

Oliver Hofmann, together with colleagues from USA, Germany and Finland, has spent several years producing efficient materials which should ultimately improve energy production from solar cells. The solid state physicist gives an insight into his research in the article ‘Improved “energy harvest” in solar cells’ on Planet research. The MAP DESIGN project funded by the START Prize is related to this and it is hoped that work on more effective solar cells and the improvement of many other materials for a wide variety of purposes should be brought a big step nearer.

This project is anchored in the FoE Advanced Materials Science“ one of TU Graz' five strategic areas of research.
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