Department of Applied Physics

Research excellence

The Department of Applied Physics is recognised for its research excellence through multiple external funding awards.
Aalto-yliopisto, liput / kuvaaja: Aino Huovio

Visit Excellence in Research at Aalto for more information.

Academicians of Science

The President of Finland confers the title of Academician of Science on highly distinguished scientists and scholars from Finland and abroad. No more than sixteen Finns may bear the title at a time. 

  • Aalto-distinguished professor (emeritus) Risto Nieminen(2014-) Physics

Academy Professors

The Academy of Finland awards Academy Professorships to acknowledge demonstrated skills and competencies in research and contributions to the progress of research within their own field. The funding provides world-class scientists and scholars with the opportunity to practice research work on a fixed-term full-time basis to carry out their own research plans, lead research teams, supervise young scientists and provide training.

Academy of Finland’s Centres of Excellence

The Academy of Finland's Centres of Excellence (CoE) are the flagships of Finnish research. They are at the very cutting edge of science in their fields, paving new avenues for research, developing creative research environments, and training new talented researchers for the Finnish research system and Finnish business and industry.

A CoE is a research and training network that has a clearly defined set of research objectives and is run under joint management. Funding is provided for an eight-year term (six-year terms prior to 2018), which means that CoEs can work toward long-term plans and take risks. CoEs are jointly funded by the Academy of Finland, their host universities, research institutes, the private business sector, and many other sources.

Aalto University coordinates the Centre of Excellence in Life Inspired Hybrid Materials (LIBER) lead by Professor Markus Linder (2022-2030). LIBER consortium includes eight multidisciplinary research groups from Aalto University, VTT and Tampere University. LIBER aims to create dynamic and soft hybrid materials with capability to learn, adapt or response to the environment.

TheCentre of Excellence in Quantum Technology led by Professor Jukka Pekola(2018-2025): QTF's research paves the way to harnessing quantum phenomena in solid-state-based quantum devices and applications, built on new and improved quantum circuits and hybrid architectures.

Previously, the Department of Applied Physics at Aalto University included the following Centres of Excellence.

European Research Council funding (ERC)

ERC funding is awarded to leading researchers for pioneering work at the frontiers of science. Scientific excellence is the sole criterion on the basis of which ERC frontier research grants are awarded.

Funding awards are categorised according to professional stage: Starting Grants are for top researchers with 2 to 7 years experience after PhD, Consolidator Grants for those with 7 to 12 years experience after PhD, and Advanced Grants support established researchers known as leaders in their respective field of research. In addition, ERC grant recipients may apply for Proof of Concept funding as a recognition of the innovative potential of their ERC work and to support its commercial use.

ERC Advanced Grant funding

  • Professor Mikko Möttönen: ConceptQ (2022-2027)
  • Professor Mika Sillanpää: Probing the limits of quantum mechanics and gravity with micromechanical oscillators (2021 - 2026)
  • Professor Peter Liljeroth: Artificial designer materials (2018-2023)
  • Professor Pertti Hakonen: Quantum devices in topological matter: carbon nanotubes, graphene, and novel superfluids (2016-2021)
    • ERC Proof of Concept
  • Professor Olli Ikkala: Field-driven materials (2017-2022) | Biomimetics for functions and responses (2012-2017)
  • Professor Jukka Pekola: Superconducting quantum heat engines and refrigerators (2017-2022)
  • Professor Päivi Törmä: Condensation in designed systems (2013-2018)
    • ERC Proof of Concept
  • Professor, emeritus Grigory Volovik: From topological matter to relativistic quantum vacuum (2016-2022)

ERC Consolidator Grant funding

  • Senior scientist Mikko Möttönen: Quantum environment engineering for steered systems (2017-2022)
  • Professor Robin RasSuperslippery liquid-repellent surfaces (2017-2022)
  • Professor Mika Sillanpää: Cavity quantum phonon dynamics (2015-2020)

ERC Starting Grant funding

  • Professor Andrea Sand: Comprehensive multiscale modelling of atomistic and electronic structure of radiation-induced defects in semiconductors (2022 - 2027)
  • Professor Jaakko Timonen: Interacting with Active Particles (2019 - 2023)
  • Professor Sebastiaan van Dijken: Electric-field control of magnetic domain wall motion and fast magnetic switching: Magnetoelectrics at micro, nano, and atomic length scale (2012 – 2017)
    • ERC Proof of Concept
  • Professor Peter Liljeroth: Atomically precise nanoelectronic materials (2012 - 2017)
  • Senior scientist Mikko Möttönen: Single-photon microwave devices: Era of quantum optics outside cavities (2012 - 2016)
    • ERC Proof of Concept
  • Professor Mika Sillanpää: Electromechanical quantum coherent systems (2010 – 2014)
  • Senior Scientist Tero Heikkilä: Mesoscopic heattronics: thermal and nonequilibrium effects and fluctuations in nanoelectronics (2010-2015)
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