NCBJ scientists awarded with NCN grants: POLONEZ BIS and SONATINA

Two NCBJ scientists were awarded grants from competitions of the National Science Center. Wenyi Huo, PhD. from the NOMATEN Center of Excellence received a POLONEZ BIS grant for a project on high entropy alloys, while PhD. Ilkka Samuli Mäkinen received a grant from the SONATINA competition for a project on loop quantum gravity.

Wenyi Huo received a grant from the current edition of the POLONEZ BIS competition for the HOT HEA project: Development of nano-twinned high-entropy alloys with superior mechanical properties and enhanced irradiation resistance, as one of 50 scientists selected from over 150 applications.

High entropy alloys (HEA) are materials that are the focus of researchers around the world. It is a new type of materials with unique microstructure and properties. HEAs are composed of four or more elements with similar molar concentrations. The high configuration entropy caused by the combination of different elements prevents the formation of brittle intermetallic phases and helps build a disordered multicomponent solid solution.

Initial experiments conducted around the world as well as simulations performed by scientists from the Complexity in Materials and Materials Informatics research groups at NOMATEN prove that high entropy alloys are characterized by high resistance to radiation, which makes them prospective materials for applications in nuclear reactors, thermonuclear fusion and space industries. The so-called nano-twinned HEA (high entropy alloys with nano-twins) is a prospective type of HEA, which is characterized by increased mechanical strength and increased resistance to ionizing radiation.

PhD. Huo studies microstructural changes and their influence on the functional properties of high entropy alloys. He works in the Functional Properties research group of prof. Łukasz Kurpaska at the NOMATEN Center of Excellence, NCBJ department, which is dedicated to research on new materials intended for work in extreme conditions.

„Our success is effective attracting to NOMATEN and NCBJ the best scientists not only from Europe, but also from the whole world” – explains prof. Kurpaska. „Wenyi joined us at the beginning of April 2022, and he has already obtained the prestigious POLONEZ BIS grant, which is co-financed by the European Commission and the National Science Center as part of the COFUND program of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions."

The summary of the project is available at:

PhD. Ilkka Samuli Mäkinen received a grant from the current edition of the SONATINA competition for the project Physical implications of gauge-fixed models of loop quantum gravity, as one of 30 scientists selected from almost 160 applications.

Loop quantum gravity is one of the main candidates for quantum gravity – a theory that aims to combine quantum mechanics and general relativity into a coherent whole. The mathematical foundations of loop quantum gravity are well established, but even today, 30 years after the theory’s inception, little is known about its physical significance. That is, how loop quantum gravity responds to specific physical issues where both quantum mechanics and gravity play an important role. For example: how does a fading star that collapses under its own gravity behave? How do quantum properties of space-time affect the movement of particles (e. g. photons) as they travel through space?

The aim of the project is to investigate the physics of loop quantum gravity using a concept known as quantum reduced loop gravity. This concept comes from the general theory of loop quantum gravity, through its interpretation in a specially selected coordinate system (the selection of such a system is referred to as the gauge determination procedure). As a result, the mathematical apparatus that is used in theory is simplified. This opens up the possibility of calculating specific physical phenomena, which would be practically impossible using the full formalism of loop quantum gravity.

„Deriving specific predictions about observable physical phenomena is an important step in the development of a new theory of physics. Only then is it possible to test the theory by confronting its predictions with experimental observations” – describes PhD. Ilkka Samuli Mäkinen, project leader. „In the case of loop quantum gravity, I believe that simplified models such as quantum reduced loop gravity, which reach a compromise between being practically doable while not deviating too much from the basic framework of the model”.

The summary of the project is available at: