Göteborgs universitet

Projektförslag för dig som vill söka CUL-forskarskola

På den här sidan hittar du förslag på projekt där du som CUL-doktorand kan delta i forskning om didaktik och lärande inom skolämnet fysik.

Art and Science

Study of artistic and historical artifacts using spectroscopy This intrinsically interdisciplinary project will employ the tools provided by advanced spectroscopic techniques (Raman spectroscopy, LIBS) to the study of artifacts of artistic and historical relevance.


The application of advanced analytical tools to the study of artifacts of artistic and historical relevance has the potential to give new insights into how these artifacts were produced and utilized. This has the potential to provide important insight into important aspects of how these artifacts were produced and utilized. Project: The first phase of the project will be to learn the basic spectroscopic technique and implement the relevant experimental setups.
The subsequent phase of the project will be to apply these techniques to the study of several artifacts of archeological or artistic interest (in collaborations with museums and archeologists).

International collaborations

Part of the work will be done in collaboration with international groups working at ICFO – the Institute of Photonic Sciences (Barcelona, Spain), CIOp – Centro de Investigaciones Ópticas (Universidad de La Plata, Argentina), and UNAM – Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico City, Mexico).

Interdisciplinary aspects

This is a highly interdisciplinary project that will be realized in close collaboration between groups working in physics and humanities. Its results will also be of relevance to very different disciplines: its technical aspects will be relevant for physics and spectroscopy; and its more concrete results can potentially influence our understanding of history, the arts and literature.


Collective dynamics of autonomous robots in a complex environment. This project involves the development of small robots and their applications to study collective behaviors of relevance for, e.g., biology, ecosystems, and autonomous systems.


The behavior and interaction of autonomous individuals capable of sensing and reacting to their environment play a critical role in many natural phenomena and artificial systems. For example, animals organize into flocks, swarms, and colonies, and we would like to understand how their collective behaviors are coordinated. Groups of autonomous robots could potentially be organized in similar ways. Furthermore, often such systems of autonomous agents have to interact with a complex environment, where for example obstacles are present. Current research is now trying to understand and engineer these behaviors.


This project aims at studying the collective motions and behaviors of a systems of autonomous agents in a complex environment. It will in particular consider how systems of simple agents (where each agent follows very simple rules, senses only its immediate surroundings, and directly interacts only with nearby agents, without having any knowledge of an overall plan) can lead to very complex behaviors.
The project will consist of simulations with MatLab, experiments realized with Elisa-3 microrobots, and possibly the realization of new, more advanced robots. The results of this project can be used to develop teaching modules for high-school students.


  • Viswanathan, G. M., Da Luz, M. G., Raposo, E. P., & Stanley, H. E. (2011). The physics of foraging: an introduction to random searches and biological encounters. Cambridge University Press.
  • Mijalkov, M., McDaniel, A., Wehr, J., & Volpe, G. (2016). Engineering sensorial delay to control phototaxis and emergent collective behaviors. Physical Review X, 6(1), 011008.
  • Elisa-3


Nanotechnology Experimental study of critical Casimir forces. This project will focus on measuring, understanding, and engineering the interactions between nanoscopic particles. Its results will be relevant for the future development of nanoscience and nanotechnology.


Nanoscience and nanotechnology are in the process of revolutionising the way we live and do science. In some years, nanorobots may be injected in the bloodstream of patients to help diagnose and cure diseases. Functional nanoparticles may be used to discover malignant cells inside the body and destroy them. Environmental screening may be greatly enhanced by microscopic lab-on-achip devices. Hence, the study of functional nanomaterials heralds a new era for microand nanodevices with unprecedented possibilities in sensing and information processing at the nanoscale.
In the context of this drive towards the nanoscale, the specific aim of the present project is to provide new tools to harness forces and interactions at mesoscopic and nanoscopic lengthscales, such as the forces arising between several nanodevices.


This project aims at studying experimentally critical Casimir forces emerging between multiple objects, going beyond the kinds of configurations that have been studied so far. Thus, this project will elucidate what is the influence on critical Casimir forces of, e.g., three-body effects, hydrodynamic interactions and hydrodynamic synchronization; these insights will prove useful in the engineering of critical Casimir forces for realistic applications.
This study will employ an array of optical tweezers to position the particles and digital video microscopy to track the trajectories of the particles and the forces acting on them. Numerical simulations will also be employed to validate the experimental findings.


  • S. Paladugu, A. Callegari, Y. Tuna, L. Barth, S. Dietrich, A. Gamabassi & G. Volpe (2016). Nonadditivity of critical Casimir forces. Nature Communications 7, 11403.
  • F. Schmidt, A. Magazzù A. Callegari, L. Biancofiore, F. Cichos & G. Volpe (2017). Microscopic engine powered by critical demixing, arXiv 1705.03317.

Biological physics

Perturbation of Photosynthetic Organisms: Single cell analysis using laminar flow chambers, fluorescence microscopy imaging and signal processing.


This project aims in using technologies like microfluidics and image analysis to interpret the attained data together with researchers active in the field of microalgae for future biodiesel production. The metabolism (how nutritions are taken up by the algae and utilized) and its fluctuations can be followed by imaging, but in concert having control of the extracellular milieu is totally novel and never previously performed for this cell type and, hence, requires a proper interdisciplinary approach be for a successful outcome.


The PhD student’s role, will be to focus on the experimental setup and the signal processing of the attained data. The experimental setup involves the fluorescence microscope combined with a laser used as optical tweezers to manipulate the algae cells inside the microfluidic device. The optical table, pump speeds to infuse the fluid into the microfluidics and the imaging is controlled and automatized via software.

The experimental preparation involves fabricating the microfluidics and possibly alter the design to fit the application if necessary, algae culturing and cell preparation, the actual measurements and last but not least, the image analysis and signal processing. Skills and experience in MatLab is preferential.

Cross-disciplinary research

The supervisor at the dep of Physics is Caroline Beck Adiels and the collaborating partner Prof. Benoit Schoefs (at Dep of Sea Molecules & Health, France) will be co-supervisor. The student will have the opportunity to attain hands on experience on how novel technologies can be applied and utilized for research questions in another field, hence, the bridge between biology and physics is very obvious from a teaching perspective. If the appropriate candidate is found, the affiliation at the department of Physics is optimal, since here are situated the experienced teachers and students already working in the field of optics, microfluidics and metabolic signaling and this interdisciplinary research topic fits well into the strategic research fields of the department.

Potential for teaching and supervising

There is always a need at the department for pedagogical skilled persons with the appropriate experience, and since the student has experience of teaching, she/he could serve as supervisor for physics teacher students at the university.
The student could also potentially teach in the department’s course “Miljöfysik”, which fits its content. Moreover, possibly, there will also be an opportunity for the student to be involved in the didactic teaching of other PhD students enrolled at the department of physics. The leading teacher and supervisor at that level would be Jonas Enger.