ERC Starting Grant for Bruno Ehrler

AMOLF group leader Bruno Ehrler has received a Starting Grant of 1.5 million Euros from the European Research Council (ERC). The ERC uses this grant to support talented early-career scientists who have already produced excellent research, and show potential to be a research leader.

Bruno Ehrler (Hybrid Solar Cells)

With the project “Synaptic Switching with Halide Perovskites” (SHAPE) Ehrler will study a peculiar effect in a novel material. This research could ultimately lead to devices mimicking the function of the human brain.
The brain, consisting of neurons that are connected by synapses, is the most efficient computing device known to us. If we could bring computers closer to the performance of the brain by emulating synapses and neurons, much lower-energy and faster computation would be possible.

The research focuses on a material that has unique properties: metal halide perovskite. This material is a semiconductor for electrons and for ions, but the electrons move much faster than the ions. It has caused a stir in the research field because it forms an excellent semiconductor for solar cells and LEDs with relatively easy and cheap processing. However, in these devices containing metal halide perovskite the migration of ions is typically undesirable and much effort has gone into suppressing it. Instead, Ehrler plans to use the ion migration to controllably imprint memory and threshold functions into semiconductor devices, which emulate the function of synapses and neurons.

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About the Author

Stefan Tabernig