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Increasing the scientific excellence and innovation capacity in Advanced Scintillation Materials of the Institute of Physics from the Czech Academy of Sciences

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ASCIMAT (Increasing the scientific excellence and innovation capacity in Advanced Scintillation Materials of the Institute of Physics from the Czech Academy of Sciences)

Reporting period: 2017-04-01 to 2018-12-31

The overall aim of the ASCIMAT project was to boost the scientific excellence and technology-transfer capacity in advanced scintillating materials of the Institute of Physics from the Czech Academy of Sciences (FZU) by creating a network with the high-quality Twinning partners: European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Institut Lumière Matière - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (UCBL-ILM), Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca (UNIMIB), and Intelligentsia Consultants (Intelligentsia). To achieve this aim, the 3 year project was built upon the existing strong research and innovation base of FZU and its Twinning partners. To boost their scientific excellence and technology transfer capacity in advanced scintillating materials, the partners implemented a research and innovation strategy focused on three sub-topics:

1. Radiation damage and timing characteristics of scintillation materials,
2. Material dimensionality influence and characteristics under different excitation modes, and
3. Defect influence on the transfer stage of scintillation mechanisms.

The research and innovation strategy took into account FZU's SWOT analysis from the start of the project and had the following objectives:

Objective 1: Strengthen FZU’s research excellence in advanced scintillating materials;
Objective 2: Enhance the research and innovation capacity of FZU and the Twinning partners; Objective 3: Raise the research profile of FZU and the Twinning Partners;
Objective 4: Contribute to the SMART Specialisation Strategy of the Czech Republic;
Objective 5: Support research and innovation on a European level.
WP1: Short Term Staff Exchanges
11.4 travel-months of visits by FZU’s experts to CERN.
8.2 travel-months of visits by CERN’s experts to FZU.

The visits, training and education of FZU researchers going to CERN were focused on fast timing and radiation damage. In the former, the role of Mg codoping in Ce-doped garnet crystals and energy transfer in superfast ZnO:Ga-Polystyren composites was measured and discussed. Also, the change of optical and scintillation characteristics - after irradiation by gamma or proton beams - was studied for garnet crystals. Meanwhile, the CERN researchers visiting FZU were introduced to scintillation preparation methods based on nanoparticles (radiation method at Czech Technical University), thin films (nitride quantum wells using a metal organic vapor phase epitaxial system, MOVPE) and bulk approaches (micropulling down technique) as well as methods of time-resolved luminescence spectroscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance available in FZU’s labs.

10.6 travel-months of visits by FZU’s experts to UCBL-ILM.
8.5 travel-months of visits by UCBL-ILM’s experts to FZU.

Regarding education in optical physics on the nanoscale and quantum size effects, during his visit to FZU, the UCBL-ILM professor gave two excellent seminars on the basics of optical properties, luminescence and scintillation in nanoscaled solid state. All visitors from UCBL-ILM were introduced to the radiation method of preparing nanoparticles in the collaboration laboratory of the Czech Technical University and to the preparation of nitride quantum wells using a MOVPE system recently purchased from Aixtron. Meanwhile, the FZU researchers learnt about the details of nanoparticle preparation using laser ablation in the labs of UCBL-ILM as well as about bulk crystal growth from the melt using Czochralski and micropulling down methods.

16.8 travel-months of visits by FZU’s experts to UNIMIB.
9.8 travel-months of visits by UNIMIB’s experts to FZU.

FZU researchers received training in wavelength-resolved TSL, Raman and other optical spectroscopy techniques during extended visits to the UNIMIB labs. For example, TSL measurements on PbMoO4-based single crystals were successfully correlated with EPR experiments made in Prague to reveal qualitative and quantitative features of trapping states actively participating in scintillation mechanism. Based on these results, two joint papers for high impact journals are currently under preparation.

UNIMIB researchers were trained at FZU in time-resolved luminescence experiments. Moreover, a systematic participation in Electron Paramagnetic Resonance experiments substantially contributed to a broadening of experimental skills in this new field. The relationship between electron/hole trapping and delayed radiative recombination processes was especially studied. The potential application of metal-based scintillating nanoparticles to deep-tissue photodynamic therapy is being considered for these nanoscintillators.

WP2: Training Workshops, Conferences and Summer Schools
During Period 1, UNIMIB hosted a summer school in September 2016 attended by 16 young researchers and students from the consortium partners as well as the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering of the Czech Technical University, Charles University, Crytur, National Centre for Nuclear Research in Otwock – Swierk, Poland, Middle East Technical University – Ankara, and St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University. FZU hosted a winter school in December 2016 attended by 16 young researchers and students from the consortium partners and the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering of the Czech Technical University.

During Period 2, CERN hosted a summer school in September 2017 attended by 34 young researchers and students from the consortium partners and other international institutions. Also, FZU hosted a summer school in September 2018 attended by 35 young researchers and students from the c
The impacts achieved by the project included:

Impact 1. Improvement in the scientific excellence and innovation capacity of FZU in advanced scintillation materials (e.g. +25% increase in the average h-index for staff of FZU’s Dept of Optical Materials);
Impact 2. Increase in international collaboration on a European level of FZU in advanced scintillation materials (e.g. +470% increase in number of FZU co-authored publications involving European counterparts);
Impact 3. Increase in the research profile of FZU in advanced scintillation materials (e.g. +40% increase in number of presentations given by staff of FZU’s Dept of Optical Materials at international conferences);
Impact 4. Contribution to the SMART Specialisation Strategy of the Czech Republic via advanced scintillation materials (e.g. +4 increase in R&D projects involving regional and national organisations).
ASCIMAT Logo
ASCIMAT Summer School - Sept 2016 - UNIMIB
ASCIMAT Outreach Efforts - Meet Me Tonight - Sept 2018 - UNIMIB
LUMDETR international conference - Sept 2018 - FZU
ASCIMAT Kick-Off Meeting