14/02/2022

CALL FOR RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP - CFisUC - L790610

This job offer has expired


  • ORGANISATION/COMPANY
    Universidade de Coimbra
  • RESEARCH FIELD
    Other
  • RESEARCHER PROFILE
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
  • APPLICATION DEADLINE
    02/03/2022 23:00 - Europe/London
  • LOCATION
    Portugal › Coimbra
  • TYPE OF CONTRACT
    Temporary
  • JOB STATUS
    Full-time
  • HOURS PER WEEK
    35
  • OFFER STARTING DATE
    01/04/2022

OFFER DESCRIPTION

CALL FOR RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP – LUGUS 790610

 

University of Coimbra opens a call for 5 (five) research fellowship, in the framework of the R&D Unit CFisUC - Centro de Física da Universidade de Coimbra (reference: UIDB/04564/2020), financed by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P./MCTES through national funds (PIDDAC), in the following conditions:

 

Scientific area: Physics, Physics Engineering, Biomedical Engineering.

 

Skills/Qualifications/Admission requirements: Bacherol (licenciatura) students in Physics, Physics Engineering or Biomedical Engineering.

 

Research Initiation Fellowships cannot be awarded to those who have already benefited from research fellowships directly or indirectly financed by the FCT (regardless of the type).

Furthermore, this (these) fellowship(s) can only be awarded to those who do not exceed, with the conclusion of the contract in question, including possible renewals, an accumulated period of one year in this type of fellowship, consecutive or interpolated.

 

Although the recipients must be enrolled in a cycle of studies leading to the attribution of an academic degree, at the time of application it is not necessary for the candidate to have made such an enrollment, and proof of enrollment must be presented until the fellowship is contractualized. Candidates are only required to meet the requirements to enroll in the training offer. If there are candidates already enrolled (including attending a course), they compete on an equal footing with those who are not enrolled.

 

Work plan/ Objectives:

Project 1 – Vascularization and Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition that affects between 7% and 10% of women during their lifetime. It is characterized by the presence of endometrium outside the uterus in the form of small patches. These patches bleed during menstruation, and their recurrent healing process results in the patches growing and fibrous tissue developing, sometimes leading to adhesions between internal organs. In the past, we have developed several computational models that characterize vascular growth in various pathologies. These models can be used to better understand the healing and growth processes of endometriosis patches.

Objective: the student will participate in the root development of a mathematical model that allows to simulate the neovascularization, healing and growth of endometriosis patches.

The project will have the following steps:

=> Literature search on angiogenesis processes in endometriosis.

=> Simulation of the development of vascularization and adhesion of a patch.

=> Conclusions regarding the contribution of vascular growth in the progression of the pathology.

 

Project 2 – Machine Learning in Materials Science

Machine learning (ML) methods are being widely applied in materials science to efficiently explore the enormous size of the chemical space. A range of material properties, such as bond energies and formation energies, are being accurately predicted using different ML techniques, allowing to screen huge chemical spaces without relying entirely on computationally demanding ab-initio calculations. This project aims to predict the energy distance to the hull of a material solely from the input representation of its atomic species for materials in the perovskite family. The challenge is to determine a suitable representation for the atomic species that encodes the underlying physics and maps similar atomic species to similar representations. Autoencoders will be explored (using python-based libraries) to extract different latent representations for the atomic species, which will be then used to predict the energy distance to the convex hull using different supervised ML methods.

 

Project 3 – Non-radial oscillation modes in hybrid stars

Neutron stars (NS) are exciting cosmic laboratories to study the behavior of matter at extreme densities. The properties of neutron stars not only open up many possibilities related to composition, structure and dynamics of cold matter in the observable universe but also throws light on the interaction of matter at fundamental level. The core of the neutron star can, in principle, supports various possible exotic phases of quantum chromodynamics (QCD). While perturbative QCD predicts deconfined quark matter at large densities, their applicability is rather limited in the sense that these conclusions are applicable only to very large baryon densities i.e. ρB ≥ 40ρ0, ρ0 = 0.158 fm−3 being the nuclear matter saturation density. The most challenging region to study theoretically is, however, at intermediate densities i.e. few times nuclear matter density which is actually relevant for the matter in the core of neutron stars. Many effective models predict possibilities of various exotic phases of quark matter at such intermediate densities. The GW170817 event explored the constraints on the EOS using tidal deformability extracted from the phase of the gravitational waveforms during the late stage of inspiral merger. Though not conclusive, it is quite possible that one or both the merging neutron stars could be hybrid stars i.e. the stars with a core of quark matter or a mixed phase core of quark and hadronic matter and a crust of hadronic matter. Within the current observational status, it is difficult to distinguish between a canonical neutron star without a quark matter core from a hybrid star with a core of pure quark matter or a core of quark matter in a mixed phase with hadronic matter. This calls for exploring other observational signature to solve this “masquerade” problem.

In this context, the study of the non-radial oscillation modes of neutron stars can have the possibility of providing the compositional information regarding the matter in the interior of the neutron stars. The non-radial oscillation modes can be studied within the framework of general relativity. Here the fluid perturbation equations can be decomposed into spherical harmonics leading to two classes of oscillations depending upon the parity of the harmonics. The even parity oscillations produce the spheroidal(polar) deformation while the odd parity produce toroidal one. The polar quasi-normal modes can further be classified into different kinds of modes depending upon the restoring force that acts on the fluid element when it gets displaced from its equilibrium position. These oscillations couple to the gravitational wave and can be diagnostic tools for studying the phase structure of the matter inside the neutron stars. The important modes for this are the pressure (p) modes, fundamental (f) modes and gravity (g) modes. It is to be noted that the origin of the g modes is due to the discontinuity in the energy density as a result of the first order hadron-quark phase transition at finite density.

Tasks to be developed:

• The student first needs to understand the theoretical background of non-radial oscillation modes of compact stars. We will consider the perturbation equations for the non-radial oscillations of the spherically symmetric neutron star and understand the framework for studying the perturbation within general relativity.

• The student will develop an open source package to solve numerically the perturbation equations for obtaining different non-radial oscillations modes of NS.

 

Project 4 – Delta neutron stars

Neutron stars are composed of neutrons, protons, electrons and muons at densities close to the saturation density and above. However, at sufficiently high densities other baryons besides protons and neutrons may appear. In fact, as baryons are fermions, the appearance of heavy baryons will reduce the pressure created by the neutrons, which is the particle present in the largest percentage in the star. One of the heavy baryons that could appear are Delta resonances. Within the scope of a relativistic middle-field formalism, it is proposed that the region of the Delta coupling space be determined such that the following conditions are met:

- it is possible to form stars with 2 solar masses

- the effective mass of nucleons does not vanish for densities below the central density of the most massive star.

- the conditions of Wehrberger et al. 1989, NPA504, 797, are satisfied

- the conditions imposed by the observations of NICER and XMM-Newton are satisfied

The DD2 model is considered for the study, which is a model that satisfies a large number of currently accepted nuclear properties. This model features density-dependent coupling constants. We intend to keep the isoscalar channel fixed and study how an acceptable variation of the isovectoral properties affects the presence of hyperons.

Starting from codes already written in Fortran, the project requires that small python programs be used to study the effect of varying the different parameters of the model. It will be necessary to integrate the Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkoff equations and to represent the results in suitable graphs.

Requirements: programming in python or another language

 

Project 5 – Microwave spectroscopy: molecular handshakes through the looking glass

A handshake: usually a right-hand meets another right-hand, and it fits. At the molecular scale, this apparently simple pairing has dramatic implications on how life came to be. The concept known as chiral molecular recognition, that is, the ability of a chiral molecule to distinguish between the two enantiomers of another molecule, is critical in many natural processes involving aggregation and assembly of large biomolecules. While a definite answer to the origin of biological homochirality still eludes us, the rules of engagement for chiral molecules are slowly evolving beyond the static ``three-point” interaction picture. Models where weak intermolecular interactions compete and have a decisive act in establishing the molecular fit are the new travel guides to chirality recognition. Moreover, molecules with dominant aromatic substructures foresee more unconventional intermolecular contact schemes, given their delocalized electron distribution. This notion is valid for planar and helical motifs, as is the case of the smallest polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) with a screw sense, tetra helicene. PAHs were recently detected in space (via their microwave spectral signatures) and are thought as potential sources to explain diffuse interstellar bands (DIBs). In the laboratory, we perform gas-phase spectroscopy studies on virtually isolated molecular clusters prepared via supersonic jet expansions. In this scope, the startup microwave spectroscopy group at CFisUC is currently performing broadband high-resolution rotational spectroscopy experiments on chiral complexes in collaboration with DESY (German Electron Synchrotron) in Hamburg. The project is highly interdisciplinary, at a clear frontier between physics and chemistry, where the student will work jointly with a team of researchers. The workflow includes setting up ab initio calculations, performing data analysis, fitting and interpretation of high-resolution microwave spectra.

 

Project 6 – Benchmark of XC Functionals for Atoms

The success of modern density-functional theory lies greatly on its accuracy. This accuracy was achieved thanks to the ingenious development of very good approximations to the exchange-correlation functional. Currently several hundreds of such approximations exist, but only a few of them see daily use. There are several reasons for these choices, but unfortunately quality of results is not always one of them, as the community generally lacks large scale unbiased benchmarks to attest for the quality of the xc-functionals.

The goal of this project is to battle this lack of information, by benchmarking the ionization energies (and possibly other quantities) of a very large set of atoms for the highest number of exchange-correlation functionals. To do this you will (i) learn the basis of and how to use a real space atomic code to solve the Schrödinger equation for atoms (Atomic Pseudopotential Engine), (ii) be introduced to large scale computing, (iii) perform (lots - hundreds of thousands) of calculations and (iv) analise (lots) of data.

The emphasis of this project lies on performing calculations and writing scripts for data analysis and database management. There is no code/theory development associated. Being comfortable with Linux systems and Python is recommended.

 

Project 7 – New material’s computational discovery

Finding new materials is a key component of technological development. However, this is not at all an easy task to perform experimentally: reagents and equipment are expensive, synthesis is slow and characterization tricky. Fortunately, it is nowadays possible to bypass this problem using computers. This is one of the many examples where theory and computation play well with experiment: because we are not limited by apparatus, we can help in discovering the structure of these new compounds. How do we discover a new material? Since nature likes to minimize the energy we can map the problem of finding a new material to “just” finding minima of the energy as a function of the atomic coordinates! This is not a trivial task, but we have specialized methods to search for the lowest energy structure of a given composition, an approach called crystal structure prediction.

The goal of the project is to use crystal structure prediction methods to find new materials for interesting chemical compositions. To do this you will (i) get a brief introduction to use a density-functional theory code, (ii) learn the basics about crystal structure prediction, namely using the Minima Hopping Method.

These tasks are mostly of a numerical nature, with none to very little code development, along with some scripting. Being comfortable with Linux systems and Python is recommended.

 

Project 8 – Computational search for new 2D materials

Ever so often researchers find a type of material that defines the research landscape for years and sometimes decades. After fullerenes and nano-tubes, we currently live in the age of research on two-dimensional (2D) materials. Thanks to their reduced size, quantum effects not seen in their bulk counterparts are observed, some of which are of technological interest. Unfortunately, research in 2D systems is hindered by the difficult experimental conditions associated with them. Fortunately, it is nowadays possible to bypass this problem using computers. This is one of the many examples where theory and computation play well with experiment: because we are not limited by apparatus we can help in discovering the structure of these new compounds. How do we discover a new material? Since nature likes to minimize the energy, we can map the problem of finding a new material to “just” finding minima of the energy as a function of the atomic coordinates. This is not a trivial task, but we have specialized methods to search for the lowest energy structure of a given composition, an approach called crystal structure prediction. In this case a constrained version of these algorithms must be used, to ensure the right dimensionality of the found materials.

The goal of the project is to use crystal structure prediction methods to find new materials for interesting chemical compositions. To achieve this goal, the project comprises the following tasks:

(i) brief introduction to use a density-functional theory code, (ii) learn the basics about constrained crystal structure prediction, namely using the Minima Hopping Method, (iii) run the code and interpret the results.

The computational tasks are mostly of a numerical nature, with none to very little code development, along with some scripting. Being comfortable with Linux systems and Python is recommended.

 

Project 9 – Characterization of neutral and charged muonium in dielectric oxides used in microelectronics and in photovoltaics

This project aims to analyze data collected during an experience of implantation of positive muons in the Swiss installation Paul Scherrer Institut, in 2021. Strong transverse field measurements in Al2O3 will be analyzed. The objective is to characterize the muonium states Mu0 and Mu+ and Mu- as experimentally accessible analogs of the isolated H0, H+ and H- states of the hydrogen impurity and to understand the processes of formation of these muonium states.

 

Projet 10 – H2O2 sinalization in a blood vessel

In the human body, the blood vessels that supply tissue must supply the amount of oxygen and nutrients that the cells require. With this objective, the vessels are able to change their diameter in order to control the blood flow in all tissue regions.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is an agent that regulates this process. The dominant hypotheses about the mechanisms of this signaling point to the importance of how the concentration of intracellular H2O2 varies inside cells.

However, in light of new evidence that has emerged recently, H2O2 may also be essential as a vehicle for communication between endothelial cells, leading them to respond to stimuli in a concerted manner.

Objective: In this project the student will computationally explore the relevance of proposed mechanisms for H2O2-mediated signaling in vascular endothelial cells.

 

Project 11 - Study of dielectric permittivity and pyroelectric current in ferroelectric and multiferroic materials at low temperature and high magnetic fields

In recent years, we observe a growing interest in multiferroic materials, where more than one “ferroic” property, such as ferromagnetism and ferroelectricity, coexists in a certain temperature range. These materials can be used in numerous applications, with emphasis on sensors and devices for the storage and processing of digital data. For the characterization of these materials, it is necessary to study in great detail their magnetic and electrical properties and characterize the associated phase transitions. The student will participate in the development of a system for measuring dielectric permittivity and pyroelectric current in multiferroic materials based on a "Lock-in amplifier” for small electrical signal detection to operate at cryogenic temperatures (up to 1.7 K) and fields high magnetic (up to 9T), which will be installed in a PPMS-Dynacool/Quantum Design system. Among the tasks to be carried out, there is also the writing of software (in Python) for piloting the instrument and analyzing and processing the data.

 

Regime: The attribution of the fellowship does not generate or entitle a relation of a legal-labour nature, and the fellowship is undertaken in an exclusive dedication regime. The fellowship holder is awarded the Fellowship Statute of the UC, in its current wording, according to the Research Fellowship Holder Statute , and according to the Regulation for Research Fellowships of the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., both in their current wording.

 

Location: Centre for Physics of the University of Coimbra (CFisUC) - Department of Physics,

Faculty of Science and Technology at the University of Coimbra.

 

Duration: 5 months.

 

Renewal: Eventually renewable.

 

Scientific orientation:

Project 1 – Vascularization and Endometriosis

Target: Students enrolled in Degrees in Physics, Physical Engineering or Biomedical Engineering

Scientific orientation: Professor Doutor Rui Travasso

 

Project 2 – Machine Learning in Materials Science

Target: Students enrolled in Degrees in Physics

Scientific orientation: Professor Doutor Márcio Ferreira e Professor Doutor Tiago Cerqueira

 

Project 3 – Non-radial oscillation modes in hybrid stars

Target: Students enrolled in Degrees in Physics

Scientific orientation: Doutor Tuhin Malik

 

Project 4 – Delta neutron stars

Target: Students enrolled in Degrees in Physics or Physics engineering

Scientific orientation: Professora Doutora Constança Providência

 

Project 5 – Microwave spectroscopy: molecular handshakes through the looking glass

Target: Students enrolled in Degrees in Physics, Physical Engineering or Biomedical Engineering

Scientific orientation: Professor Doutor Sérgio Miguel Rosa Domingos e Professor Doutora Manuela Ramos Marques da Silva

 

Project 6 – Benchmark of XC Functionals for Atoms

Target: Students enrolled in Degrees in Physics or Physics engineering

Scientific orientation: Doutor Tiago Cerqueira e Professor Doutor Fernando Nogueira

 

Project 7 – New material’s computational discovery

Target: Students enrolled in Degrees in Physics or Physics engineering

Scientific orientation: Doutor Tiago Cerqueira e Doutor Pedro Borlido

 

Project 8 – Computational search for new 2D materials

Target: Students enrolled in Degrees in Physics or Physics engineering

Scientific orientation: Doutor Tiago Cerqueira e Doutor Pedro Borlido

 

Project 9 – Characterization of neutral and charged muonium in dielectric oxides used in

microelectronics and in photovoltaics

Target: Students enrolled in Degrees in Physics or Physics engineering

Scientific orientation: Professor Doutor Rui Vilão e Professora Doutora Helena Alberto

 

Project 10 – H2O2 signaling mechanisms in a blood vessel

Target: Students enrolled in Degrees in Physics, Physical Engineering or Biomedical Engineering

Scientific orientation: Professor Doutor Rui Travasso e Professor Doutor Armindo Salvador

 

Project 11 - Study of dielectric permittivity and pyroelectric current in ferroelectric and multiferroic materials, at low temperature and high magnetic fields

Target: Students enrolled in Degrees in Physics or Physics engineering

Scientific orientation: Professor Doutor José António de Carvalho Paixão .

 

Financial conditions: The amount of the fellowship is € 486,12 corresponding to the monthly compensation stipulated in the FCT table (https://www.fct.pt/apoios/bolsas/valores.phtml.en), plus personal accidents insurance. The payment will be made by bank transfer. This amount will not be increased during the entire period of the fellowship duration.

 

Selection methods: Curricular Evaluation (100%).

 

Selection criteria: The selection criteria to be used will be as follows:

- Curriculum vitae - (50%);

- Academic elements (list of classifications in all subjects) - (20%);

- Motivation letter identifying and justifying the project you would like to develop - (30%)..

 

Jury responsible for selection: Professor Doutor José António de Carvalho Paixão, Professora Doutora Maria Constança Mendes Pinheiro da Providência Santarém e Costa, Professor Doutor João Carlos Lopes Carvalho e Professor Doutor Fernando Manuel Silva Nogueira

Formalization of application: Applications must be formalized by sending the following documents:

Curriculum Vitae, Motivation Letter that should list by order of preference up to three projects, Relevant documents, including a digital copy (PDF format) of the list of subjects taken.

 

Declaration on the honor of the candidate(s) with the indication of the fellowship(s) of the typology to which the contest was held and the respective duration(s).

 

Applicants with academic degrees obtained abroad will be required to present a Certificate of Recognition in accordance with applicable law. This document is mandatory only in the contractualization phase.

 

Applications submission: The applications should be sent to the email jap@uc.pt, with copy to blc@uc.py, with the text " Bolsas de Iniciação à Investigação CFisUC 2021/2022" in the subject, and with the documents indicated above attached..

 

Submission of applications: Between 16/02/2022 and 02/03/2022.

 

Submission deadline date: 02/03/2022.

 

Additional information: The evaluation results will be announced within 90 working days after the end of the applications submission deadline, by notifying the applicants via email. After the announcement of the results, candidates are considered automatically notified to, if they wish to do so, comment on the results on a preliminary hearing period within 10 days after that date. After this, the selected candidates will have to declare in writing their acceptance. Unless a justification worthy of consideration is presented, if the declaration is not submitted within the referred period, it is considered that the candidate waivers the fellowship. In case of resignation or withdrawal of the selected candidate, the next candidate with the highest evaluation score will be notified immediately.

Once the selection process is completed, the fellowship contract will be drawn up in accordance with the draft contract provided by the FCT.

After the contracted period, the fellowship holder and supervisor must prepare the final report in accordance with the respective assessment criteria that were established.

 

Selection reserve list: n/a

Work location(s)
5 position(s) available at
Universidade de Coimbra
Portugal
Coimbra
Rua Larga

EURAXESS offer ID: 742869

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