European forestry is fast evolving as forests could experience in the near future important changes in climate and also in management, which is moving from timber production to values such as bioenergy, carbon sequestration, biodiversity and others. These factors could change the idoneity of traditional forestry in Scots pine forests (which cover important areas in Europe). The project´s objectives are: 1) To characterize past and estimate future effects of forest management and climate change on carbon and nutrient budgets in Pinus sylvestris stands in SW Europe, to support sustainable forestry that maximizes nutrient and carbon use efficiency and therefore tree growth; 2) To develop, evaluate and apply reliable ecologically-based mathematical models that can be applied in forest management, to study interactions among elevated atmospheric CO2, tree growth and limiting nutrients and moisture. To achieve these objectives the project will be implemented in three stages: 1) Field and archival samples form experimental plots in Scot pine stands in the Pyrenees will be used to analyze connections between soil, leaf and stem nutrient status in the last 16 years. The magnitude of ecosystem biomass and nutrient pools will be estimated to calculate the historical change of nutrient use efficiency by the pines. Historical leaf NUE will be estimated through leaf area scanning combined with chemical analysis. Stem water and nutrient status will be estimated by wood scanning combined with techniques discriminating isotopes of carbon and nitrogen. 2) The ecosystem model FORECAST-Climate will be calibrated, validated, and used as a virtual lab to test the relative importance of nutrient, water, and CO2 availability on tree growth. 3) A battery of climate change (temperature, precipitation and CO2 concentration) and forest management scenarios will be simulated to assess their long-term consequences and provide guidelines on the potential consequences of each management option.
Near-zero-index (NZI) media is a family of photonic nanostructures (continuous media and/or metamaterials) characterized by a near-zero refractive index. As the refractive index approaches zero, spatial and temporal variations of the electromagnetic field decouple, giving rise of a regime of qualitatively different light-matter interactions. Therefore, NZI nanostructures exhibit a unique optical response, where a concept as basic as the geometry plays an essentially different role. Examples of the exotic wave phenomena include transmission through deformed waveguides, cavities whose resonant frequency does not depend on the geometry of their external boundary, nonradiating modes in three-dimensional open cavities, violation of effective medium theories, anomalous dispersion, nonperturbative nonlinear optics, to name a few. These unconventional effects have a high potential for technological innovation. However, the crucial challenge of transforming these basic phenomena into practical devices has not yet been addressed. In NZINATECH, we will address this challenge pushing forward the basic theoretical research on NZI media to the stage of NZI nanophotonic technologies. To this end, we have outlined an ambitious research plan that includes the experimental demonstration of NZI devices in different material platforms, including polar dielectrics, doped semiconductors and silicon photonics. This multidisciplinary research plan will combine the fields of NZI media, metamaterials, quantum optics, electron-beam spectroscopy, thermal emission and silicon photonics. Our results will also open new areas of research for NZI media, including nontrivial interactions of NZI optical modes with free-electrons and small quantum systems. Finally, by examining fundamental questions in limiting cases (i.e., extreme constitutive parameters) we will provide a better understanding of the quantum theory of light-matter interactions.
Optical lasers are extraordinary light sources that have revolutionized human lives. These are crucial for optical fibre sensor (OFS) interrogation systems. Thus, the characteristics of each source are strongly connected to its sensor system. In large monitoring systems, different OFS are multiplexed in the same optical network. Hence, it exists an increasing necessity of new and special light sources for the new networking requirements. The project aims to develop a revolutionary laser system for high performance remote multiplexing sensor networks for Sustainable Development and Smart Cities applications. The project “ReSOLeS” mainly focus on the research and development of a novel reconfigurable spectrum optical fiber laser source. It is based on the random distributed feedback (RDFB) effect. The modeless characteristic of RDFB lasers allows controlling the emitted frequencies by the internal modulation of the distributed laser cavity, which the applicant first demonstrated. To date, laser spectrum were modified only by filtering the cavity. In this project, we propose an innovative approach that uses a modulating signal to control the output spectrum. This enable higher spectral flexibility and reconfigurability speed than the traditional filtered laser cavities. To make it possible, first, we will develop a model of the system and that will be implemented by software. Next, the system will be experimentally demonstrated and two system enhancements will be tested. Finally, it will be validated in high performance optical fiber sensor networks for Smart Cities applications. This interdisciplinary project will combine the fellow’s expertise in RDFB lasers with the world-leading expertise of the host’s Smart Cities Institute in fiber lasers, OFSs and Smart Cities. In addition, “ReSOLeS” will benefit from the host’s well-established partnerships in academia and industry, and from the training and mentoring opportunities for the fellow's career development.
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