In Sweden he is known nowadays as “the man behind ESS". Naturally we have more people than Lars Börjesson to thank for the new large European research facility ESS being located in Sweden, but undeniably this inquisitive physicist from Gothenburg has had great influence on the facility´s creation. His own research deals with understanding diverse types of materials that has vast importance, for example, in the development of fuel cell, batteries, materials for controlled drug release, magnetic memories, sensors, electronics, optical fibres, and thereby the whole of information technology.
What is it that you most want to investigate when ESS becomes operational?– Glass – I want to understand how glass is formed.
Don´t you know that?– Not on the atomic level. There, nobody knows. I would like to follow the process in detail from the liquid to the solid phase, and this is something one has to study on different time scales. Close to the glass transition, a small temperature change leads to that molecular processes change time scale from thousands of a billionth of a second to thousands of seconds. To study these different phenomena simultaneously, one needs a facility such as ESS. They are extremely complex systems.
And still there must be much more complicated processes to study, for instance in the human body?– Yes, biological systems are another area where ESS will be useful. Since neutrons are electrically neutral and do not react with other matter, one can also investigate living tissue. By contrast, radiation like X-rays is harmful to the cells.
Now that your ESS wish has been fulfilled, what do you dream of?– I really hope that many exciting research environments are established in the surroundings of ESS – that universities both here in Sweden and internationally will open branches in the Lund-Copenhagen region, so that many fields of science can get the most out of this investment for many years to come.
Why did you become a physicist in the first place?– I have always been interested in natural science. Most of all, probably, I am curious about physics a little more generally, to understand the big picture.
Text: Eva Krutmeijer
Published in "Passion for research and innovation"