Materials that matter

Jan 08, 2021

Jorge Guardia-Valenzuela is a bit of an outlier in the world of CERN’s knowledge transfer: this material science engineer started his journey at CERN in direct collaboration with the Knowledge Transfer group, as a technical student working on applications of CERN technologies to industry and conducting his master’s thesis. As part of his work, he tailored a material initially developed for CERN collimators into a thermal management application that could be used in industry.

Jorge then joined CERN's Doctoral student programme to develop and characterise new graphite-matrix composites for future collimators, but he never stopped discussing possible applications of the material with external companies. “Working with industry, learning more about their needs and challenges has been very valuable, as it allowed me to integrate new collimator materials into diverse devices. Thanks to the guidance of the Knowledge Transfer group, I have been involved in promising industrial studies, often focused on heat dissipation in electronics.”

The Knowledge Transfer group is not only about finding applications of CERN technologies to industry; it aims to instil a taste for high-tech entrepreneurship in scientists, as well as in students through the CERN Entrepreneurship Student Programme (CESP). As a technical adviser for the programme, Jorge had the opportunity to support and guide a team of students from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in marketing the novel thermal management material he developed. “I feel motivated by the idea that my research creates a real impact in society, be it through improving existing products or creating new ones,” Jorge explains.

Looking ahead, a new R&D project is set to take place at CERN, with the goal of upscaling the production of the materials in order to promote their use in future particle physics facilities, as well as for commercial thermal management applications.

Learn more about how to get involved in CERN’s knowledge transfer activities here.

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