Two researchers at Aalto University have received funding from the Academy of Finland, advancing knowledge of cellulose.
The highly-competitive, individual grants are for early-stage researchers, in this case, one Postdoctoral Researcher grant for Dr. Katja Heise (three years) and a Research Fellow grant for Dr. Miguel Caro (five years).
The SYMBIOCELL project by Dr. Heise, from Aalto’s Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, will explore synthetic tools to tailor the properties of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) with the potential to create a new generation of cellulose-based nanocomposites.
Dr. Heise’s research lies at the interface of nanocellulose materials science and organic synthesis. She works in the Materials Chemistry of Cellulose research group, led by Prof. Eero Kontturi, and is an active part of the FinnCERES community.
The NEXTCELL project by Dr. Caro, from Aalto’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation, will apply machine learning methods to realize different computational experiments on cellulose and thus better understand its chemistry and the properties of novel cellulose-based materials.
Dr. Caro works with the multidisciplinary team, Microsystems Technology, led by Prof. Tomi Laurila. The project will explore interatomic interactions in cellulose, a chemically complex material. The new machine learning based interatomic potentials will provide an accurate representation of these atomic interactions throughout longer length and time scales than is currently possible.
For an in-depth review of synthetic tailoring of CNCs, please read the 2020 article published in Angewandte Chemie co-authored by Heise.
To read more about interatomic potentials and how machine learning is used as a tool in this field, check out the 2019 article published in Physical Review B by Caro.