Publié le 25 août 2021 Mis à jour le 27 août 2021

Cinq jeunes docteurs recevront un Solvay Award pour leur thèse de doctorat le 12 septembre lors du 17e Solvay Public Event à Flagey.

Frederic Colomer Martinez, Chloë Hebborn, Glenn Grauwels, Maurice Retout (PhD 2020) et Zhiyi Li (PhD 2019) remportent chacun un Solvay Award. Chaque année, ce prix honore les docteurs et brillants esprits de l'ULB et de la VUB pour leurs recherches révolutionnaires en chimie et en physique.

Les lauréats seront récompensés le 12 septembre prochain lors du 17e Solvay Public Event des Instituts Solvay à Flagey. 

Li Zhiyi : Sub-grid models for Large Eddy Simulation of non-conventional combustion regimes. Promoteur: Alessandro Parente

Li Zhiyi


My doctoral thesis presents the development of finite-rate combustion models for the numerical modelling of a novel combustion technology named MILD combustion with low emissions and high efficiency. The two models, PaSR and EDC are the main focus. They were first tested with
the fast RANS approach and extended to LES further with lab-scale burner which emulates MILD condition. Satisfactory agreement with the experimental data is achieved with the developed models. Furthermore, the advanced post-processing tools based on computational singular
perturbation theory are applied on the high-fidelity data obtained from LES, to investigate the distinct features of MILD combustion.

MILD --- Moderate or Intense Low oxygen Dilution
PaSR --- Partially Stirred Reactor
EDC --- Eddy Dissipation Concept
RANS --- Reynolds Averaged Navier Stokes
LES --- Large Eddy Simulation

Frederic Colomer Martinez : Theoretical study of halos and neutron skins through nuclear reactions and electroweak probes. Promoteurs : Pierre Capel et Marc Vanderhaeghen

Frédéric Colomer


At the heart of matter lies the nucleus, a compact and dense cluster of protons and neutrons. The distribution of the latter remains elusive although we know they can form halos or neutron skins, whose properties could tightly constrain current nuclear structure models. Both based on nuclear reactions, the novel ratio method and coherent pion photoproduction measurements are investigated as tools to extract halo structure properties and neutron-skin thicknesses. The first is extended to proton halo nuclei and to low energies. The alleged high sensitivity of the second is shown to be small, which questions previous studies.

Glenn Grauwels : Study of the Binding and Transmembrane Transport of Chloride by Synthetic Molecular Carriers. Promotrice: Kristin Bartik

Glenn Grauwels


The transport of anions across lipid membranes is a crucial process for the good functioning of cells. Some diseases are due to poor transmembrane transport and one strategy to potentially cure such diseases is to develop synthetic molecular receptors that can be
embedded in membranes and restore transport. This work focused on (i) the transport properties of a family of molecules, calixarenes, and showed their ability not only to transport chloride but also organic ion pairs across lipid membranes, and (ii) the binding process at the interphase between a lipid membrane and water, the first step of the transport process.

Chloë Hebborn : Study of the eikonal approximation to model exotic reactions. Promoteur : Pierre Capel. Co-promotrice : Nathalie Vaeck

Chloé Hebborn


Unstable nuclei are often studied through reaction processes. To infer precise information from these collisions, an accurate reaction model with a realistic description of the nucleus is needed. Compared to state-of-the-art methods, the eikonal approximation has a reduced computational
time and holds for reactions above 60MeV/nucleon. My thesis focuses on improvements of the eikonal approximation: the extension of the validity of the eikonal model down to 10MeV/nucleon, in the energy range of HIE-ISOLDE at CERN and ReA12 at FRIB; the development of a dynamical correction and a sensitivity analysis of knockout observables to the nuclear structure of the projectile.

Maurice Retout : Design of a no-wash colorimetric biosensor for the detection of the cancer biomarker Mdm2 with plasmonic nanoparticles. Promoteur: Gilles Bruylants

Maurice Retout


Cancer is a leading cause of death all around the world but recent advances in nanotechnologies foreshadow a bright future for its fight. In this context, we studied the use of nanoparticles for the conception of a colorimetric biosensor for the rapid detection of a cancer biomarker: the oncoprotein Mdm2. We studied the biosensor from all angles, and it led us to develop innovative strategies of synthesis and functionalization of nanoparticles with a unique class of molecules: the calix[4]arenediazoniums. The resulting nanoparticles, possessing unprecedented abilities, allowed us to drastically improve the detection of Mdm2 compared to our initial proof-ofconcept.