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Prof. dr. Sašo Šturm, Head of Department for Nanostructured Materials, was elected as a member in Executive Board of European Microscopy Society (EMS). The aims of EMS are to promote the use and the quality of advanced microscopy in all its aspects in Europe, with particular reference to developments in instrumentation, methodology and novel applications of all types of microscopy. Prof. dr. Sašo Šturm was proposed by the Slovene Society for Microscopy (SDM) Executive Board and thus the Slovenian representative in the EMS Executive Board was elected for the first time. Prof. dr. Sašo Šturm will promote the use and development of advanced microscopy techniques across different disciplines, crossing the boundaries between academia and industry. In these sense he will propose to intensify the scientific and/or technical contributions from the industrial environments, focusing on end‐users and not only on the producers, at the international and national conferences related to microscopy.

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Tome Eftimov, Gorjan Popovski, Matej Petković, Barbara Koroušić Seljak and Dragi Kocev from E7 and E8 have performed a computational analysis of online recipes and reported their findings in the paper COVID-19 pandemic changes the food consumption patterns. They discovered that the relative increase in frequency was most notable for Pulses/plants producing pulses (dry beans, peas, lentils, beans, vetches, and lupins) - 300%, Pancake/Tortilla - 280 %, Soups 180%, and Pastry, Fruit containing stone, Cake and Beef - 100%. They observed reduced relative frequencies on the tags Order Perciformes (fish) (50% reduction), Corn/cereals/grain (40%), Wine-making (30%), and with 10% Citrus fruit, Pork, Water, and Seafood. These results can be used as indicators for the potential post-lockdown health implications and increased incidences of some diseases, agricultural practices as well as the food supply chain and logistics in such events.

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Guilhem Poy from Faculty of mathematics and Physics at University of Ljubljana and Slobodan Žumer from Jozef Stefan Institute in collaboration with Andrew Hess and Ivan Smalyukh from University of Colorado in Boulder published the paper Chirality-enhanced periodic self-focusing of light in birefringent soft media in Physical Review Letters. It presents numerical, experimental and theoretical evidence of chirality enhanced nonlinear optical response of frustrated chiral nematics. In achiral nematics, the reorientation of molecules around laser beams with appropriate power is responsible for the generation of spatial optical solitons called "nematicons". In unwounded chiral nematics, the frustration caused by a confinement incompatible with their lowest-energy states allows a relatively weak light to locally destabilize the initially uniform orientational fields and thus boost their nonlinear optical responses. Our research findings are expected to allow new self-focusing based applications.

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Sašo Gyergyek, Darko Makovec from the Department for Materials Synthesis and Andraž Kocjan from the Department of Nanostructured Materials of the Jožef Stefan Institute, in collaboration with researchers from the Department of Catalysis and Reaction Engineering of the National Institute of Chemistry, published an article “Hierarchical Ru-Bearing Alumina/Magnetic Iron-Oxide Composite for the Magnetically Heated Hydrogenation of Furfural“ in the scientific journal Green Chemistry. The paper demonstrates the application of magnetic heating of nanoparticles in AC-field to drive the chemical reaction. The authors showed that the conversion of furfural to furfuryl alcohol over the catalyst in the same time interval reached 95% when “targeted” heating by AC magnetic field was used, but only 63% when conventional heating was applied. They were the first to show that a well-designed hierarchical composite can simultaneously serve as a catalyst and heat source to drive a technologically important chemical reaction in a slurry-type reactor.

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