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Two young ST researchers receive the AUFF Talent Prize

A physicist and a chemical engineer are among the recipients of the Aarhus University Research Foundation's PhD award 2019. They carry out research in high-precision measurements using quantum sensors and and flow batteries for storing green energy, respectively.

2019.05.28 | Christina Troelsen

Physicist Alexander Holm Kiilerich (left) and chemical engineer Kristina Kornung Wedege receive each a Aarhus University Research Foundation PhD Award 2019. Photo: Claus Sjödin

Alexander Holm Kiilerich


Alexander Holm Kiilerich has significantly increased the precision of measurements made using quantum sensors. His research can be used in countless areas, including cancer research.

’Due to its wave function, an atom is scattered across the room. So the atom can be both here and there at the same time. But that is only until we measure it, because once we have measured the atom, naturally it is where our measurement says it is. Within quantum mechanics this means that we as observers affect the physical condition of the atom simply by looking at it. We call this the measuring counter-effect’, says Physicist Alexander Holm Kiilerich.

In his thesis he demonstrates how you can reverse the counter-effect in practice to your own advantage, making measurements much more precise.

 ‘At this point in the technological development it is becoming increasingly relevant to understand these quantum systems and how they can be used in the development of various types of instruments. It is interesting as a theoretician to be able to develop strategies and methods that may be relevant a few years from now’, he says.

Working on his PhD project, Alexander Holm Kiilerich collaborated, among others, with an experimental research group in Paris on a test showing how quantum metrology can be used to make images from a hospital scanner much more detailed, e.g. clearly revealing dysplasia.

Kristina Korning Wedege


Kristina Korning Wedege’s research has focussed on replacing metals in large flow batteries with organic material and on how flow batteries can be combined with solar cell materials.

How can we in a cost-effective way store power from renewable energy sources in batteries that are also sustainable? Chemical Engineer Kristina Korning Wedege has sought an answer to this question in her PhD project, which is a solid piece of research on which other research groups are now building their work. The project focusses on so-called flow batteries, which are currently produced using vanadium.

‘If we replace the metal with an organic molecule, we may be able to produce flow batteries using fossil materials such as oil or plants. Such flow batteries would be fairly cheap and easier to recycle’, says Kristina Korning Wedege.

Working on her PhD project she therefore spent a lot of time in the laboratory testing molecules electrochemically.

‘We screened around 30 different materials for their battery-related qualities in flow batteries. I believe this enabled us to contribute significantly to the discussion, because although a series of tests had been made to find suitable substances, there was no practical guidance telling you which functional groups to focus on’, she explains.

Another main part of Kristina Korning Wedege’s thesis focusses on a special combined technology, where flow batteries are charged directly in sunlight using a solar cell material found within the actual battery.

Recognition of five PhDs

This year is the 17th time the research foundation awards its PhD prize to highly talented researchers who have conducted research at an impressively high level. The five PhDs receive the DKK 50,000 prize in recognition of their research and dissemination hereof. Read about all five prize winners

The awards will be presented 29 May at the award ceremony for the Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research. Read more about the award ceremony.

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