FNR Award 2023 for outstanding thesis in physics

  • Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine (FSTM)
    20 October 2023
  • Category
  • Topic
    Physics & Materials Science

Dr. Emanuele Penocchio obtained the FNR Award for Outstanding Thesis for his tremendous doctoral work on “Thermodynamics of chemical engines: A chemical reaction network approach” done at the University of Luxembourg.

With his PhD supervised by Prof. Massimiliano Esposito from the Department of Physics and Material Sciences, Emanuele Penocchio aimed to advance understanding of thermodynamics of chemical systems that consume energy to perform complex functions. Such systems are called chemical engines, in analogy to steam engines or electrical engines.

Natural chemical engines are found in every living cell and their artificial counterparts have been synthesised by experimenters in chemistry. Artificial chemical engines are the most miniature machines ever built by humankind and provide building blocks to realise materials with life-like properties, holding great promises for future nanotechnology.

During his PhD, Dr Penocchio complemented previous analyses based on kinetics and stochastic thermodynamics. He furthermore found practical implications for designing and improving artificial chemical engines, regardless of the particular type of powering or chemical structure.

For the outstanding quality and innovation of his doctoral thesis, he also received, among other recognitions, the Rolf Tarrach Prize 2023 and the 2022 Foresight Institute Distinguished Student Award.

Watch Emanuele speak about his work in the FNR Award video: