TABLE OF CONTENTS A Note from Our Director .......................................................... 4 Executive Summary ...................................................................... 6 New Faculty ................................................................................... 12 A Lens to Magnify Time ............................................................. 18 Pushing Towards Instrumental Growth .............................. 22 Fundamental Science — the Foundation of Future Quantum Technology ............. 26 Nanocarry Therapeutics Ltd. Biologics Beyond Boundaries .................................................. 30 A Decade of Research ................................................................ 34 Publications, Grants and Education ...................................... 38 Research Map ............................................................................... 46 Cover image: Advanced Cathode Materials for Na ion Batteries (Prof. Malachi Noked’s lab) Articles by Ziv Adaki 3


the help of BINA’s faculty member, Prof. Popovtzer, an ERC recipient, we initiate the establishment of a Center for Rare Diseases, which sadly are very common in Israel due to its unique demography. Our goal is to build this center as an encompassing drug development infrastructure with artificial intelligence processes and biological technology environment, as well as create a space to host the many scattered private and institutional initiations in this area and generalize the national attendance to rare diseases. Also gaining momentum is the international cogwheel of our Bioconvergence mechanism that meshes with the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN), Canada; Sydney Nano Institute, Australia; and the Palacký University Olomouc, the Czech Republic. All of these prominent international collaborations are emphasizing Bioconvergence. The wheels are in motion and BINA’s route for the next five years is clear. For me, as I am starting my sixth and final year as BINA’s director, it is a great moment to be looking back on an incredible five-year journey. From our numerous achievements, I would like to illuminate just one: over the years, we have managed to consolidate and implement an inner apparatus, a flywheel if you want, that enables BINA to be sustainable and impactful under any conditions and leadership. Thanks to this well-oiled machine, I am sure that the year 2023 will be yet another excellent year for BINA, as will the years to follow, “…like a tree planted beside streams of water which yields its fruit in season whose foliage never fades and whatever it produces thrives” (Psalm 1, 3). Best regards, Prof. Dror Fixler Director of the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials Dear friends and colleagues, 2022 was a fantastic year for the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA). We have overcome the slowdown forced on us due to the pandemic and shifted back into high gear, reverting utilization of our facilities across the institute, and in some cases even setting new output records. In one of the recent highlights, the European Union named BINA its digital innovation hub—EDIH. BINA is the only Israeli institute ever to gain this status, attesting to our eminency, locally and internationally. Feeling blessed, we carried the momentum and, on the verge of the new year, called BINA’s scientific committee to unfold our 2023 vision. Aspiring for impact through excellence and inspired by Archimedes quote, “Give me but a firm spot on which to stand, and I shall move the earth,” we sought out our existing strengths on which to embark BINA’s next tier to be constructed over the next five years. We marked Bioconvergence—fusing life sciences and medicine with engineering, chemistry, data science and physics—to be BINA’s core mission. Empowering our existing capacity, we see in BINA a significant cogwheel that meshes with both Israel and the world to transmit torque and speed to this global Bioconvergence effort. Gearing up for Bioconvergence includes reinforcing our facilities to absorb additional instrumentation and capabilities of Bioconvergence compatibility and enhance output. We intend to double our cleanrooms’ size and operate a Nanoscribe 3D lithography system; equip our Charged-Particle Microscopy Unit with a cryogenic electron microscope (Cryo-EM) and several 3D printers; and sharpen our Surface Analysis Unit’s biological capacity, on which, among other ventures, I invite you to read more in our report. Furthermore, three new units are being set into motion in BINA, each significantly contributing to the Bioconvergence mechanism: our year-old Smart Material Synthesis Unit ignites biological collaborations with researchers and companies, aiming to become a recognized national Bioconvergence center. BINA’s Center for Synthetic Biology interlocked with two leading Israeli companies in the field, Alagene Ltd., Israel Innovation Authority’s spinoff, and Hy Laboratories Ltd. (hylabs), to host other companies in need of facilities. With 5


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2022 marked five years since we first implemented our strategy, which includes a fixed annual budget from Bar-Ilan University, increasing revenues from our facilities and expanding our submissions for—and winnings of—research and educational program grants. Summing up these fruitful years, our strategy proved successful: We expanded our exposure to the local industry, multiplied our continuous connectivity with international consortia and increased grant submission rates. To date, this strategy and its fruits function as BINA’s sustainable foundation that facilitates our long-term growth resources. Although it was a challenging year in which we continued to experience the consequences of the pandemic in the form of spare parts shortages and long delivery times, it seems that we were able to shake off global uncertainty and stagnation and return to the pre-COVID-19 work environment in terms of our growth in staff recruitment, instrumentation accession, activity and collaborations. Human Resources Growing resources is fundamental to our ability to empower BINA’s professional staff. Our employees are professional researchers; they carry out research, participate in the research of others, possess in-depth knowledge of the technical and theoretical aspects of the equipment they work with, and have the knowhow to handle devices, chips and biological samples. Not many people hold this capacity, and not many teams can work together as ours can. Despite the challenge to locate and recruit such excellent people year after year, we still successfully increased the number of our team members to 32. Being the driving force of the Institute, investing in their cultivation and preservation is both necessary and a top priority. In the field of development, we have opened, in collaboration with BIU’s chemistry department, a new unit for smart materials synthesis, in line with the current industry developments and scale-up in nanomaterials syntheses. This unit’s team is headed by Dr. Ilana Perelshtein, who also heads the ChargedParticle Microscopy Unit, and Dr. Natalia Dudchenko, a Madan Ole from Ukraine. We are also happy to welcome BINA’S new Projects Manager, Dr. Eti Teblum. Thanks to the staff’s professionalism, initiative and creativity, BINA continues to receive funding through prestigious grants for its involvement in research programs such as Eurostars, MAGNET and Erasmus+. Taking part in these programs also expands the scope of our collaborations with industrial companies and increases revenues from services we provide them for research purposes. BINA’s continuous involvement in such programs allows us to hire more experts in various fields, which generates additional opportunities for participation in new initiatives, thereby ensuring a perpetual flow of income. Facilities and Instrumentation Over these past five years, we have won 100% of our equipment grant submissions. We are happy to announce that we received a grant for the purchase of an extremely advanced HR-TEM and hope to issue the order by the end of this year. Currently on its way 7

is our new Ion Assist Sputter Deposition system, to be added to the equipment that has already been installed throughout the past year: High-Resolution Laser Lithography, Elionix ELS-BODEN 100kv Electron Beam Lithography, Nanoscribe QT Quantum-X Shape, CellenONE F1.4 Bioprinter, BIO X6 Bioprinter. The latest purchases bring us to a landmark—an investment of $50 million in equipment. Our advanced, varied, ever-growing equipment infrastructure, coupled with our professional team, is what makes BINA the attraction that it is, with more than 300 registered companies—over 150 of which are active every year—attesting to our commitment to open the BINA’s Equipment Center for everyone, particularly the industry. Augmented reality, optical design and fabrication and units that develop disruptive technologies for their parent companies are only a sample of the companies that have made BINA their home. Grants and Collaborations We continue our proactive spotting of grants and put extra effort into finding resources to enlarge free space for new equipment, personnel and faculty— these are major ongoing, challenging needs. BINA joined as a member of the International Network4Sustainable Nanotechnology and took part in the organizing committee of the annual conference held in Waterloo, Canada, in August this year. These activities facilitated a new cooperation with the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) of Waterloo University in Canada. Desiring to expand BINA’s exposure, we expanded our activity in EU widening countries, including visits to Kosovo and Georgia. These efforts opened up a new area of local and regional submissions not previously available to us, such as the EU’s Teaming for Excellence and local developments of the various countries. One recently received grant allowed us to deepen our relationship with the Czech Republic: strengthening the cooperation with the Regional Centre of Advanced Technologies and Materials (RCPTM), conducting mutual visits and allowing for a mutual submission of another proposal for the EU’s Horizon grant. Special Recognition For the past two years, we have worked tirelessly to integrate BINA into the European Digital Innovation Hubs (EDIHs) network. Our effort bore fruit, and this year BINA was officially recognized as an EDIH, combining the benefits of a regional presence with the opportunities available to a pan-European network. On the one hand, we can provide services to local companies using our language and innovation ecosystem. On the other hand, the European network’s coverage facilitates the exchange of best practices across hubs in different countries and the provision of specialized services across regions when the needed skills are unavailable locally. Being an EDIH allows BINA to apply for grants distinctively intended for EDIHs to induce industry progress. We are proud to present to you the 2022 BINA Report, informing you of our premiere achievements. “Our advanced, varied, ever-growing equipment infrastructure, coupled with our professional team, is what makes BINA the attraction that it is” 8

Prof. Dror Fixler and his team joined Prof. JeanPaul Lellouche’s lab manager, Dr. Yifat Harel, along with PhD student Daniel Itzhak, to develop novel nanodiamond-particles small enough to permeate skin layers and safely carry drugs for medical or cosmetic purposes. Monitoring these nano-diamonds in the body is essential, and, as published in ACS Nano (16.10.2022), the researchers also developed a new optical technology, blue laser-beam-based technology that safely and noninvasively provides their location and accumulation enabling to ensure no off-target penetration to the bloodstream or sensitive organs. Prof. Popovtzer breaks through the bloodbrain barrier and shuttles her innovative gold nanoplatforms, coupled with CRISPR biomolecules, to cure rare genetic brain diseases. With the support of the ERC grant, her outstanding BrainCRISPR research will make a far-reaching impact on next-generation medicine and many patients’ health across the world. Ripples of Impact 9



New Faculty 12

Dr. Hannah-Noa Barad of billions of nanostructures in a single experiment, with tunable morphologies such as rods, zigzags and helices.” Dr. Barad leverages these methods to conduct results-driven research, discover new and better materials and nanostructures, and study the mechanisms behind their performance. “I plan to propel the fields of sustainable catalysts and solar cells to the point we can merge with the industry and advance current sustainable technologies to be safe and cost-effective for everyone,” says Dr. Barad. “BINA’s administration and professional support are beyond all standards, multiplied by its fantastic facilities. I know we will be able to take our research to the next level. I am excited to be at liberty to collaborate with BINA’s many researchers, conducting innovative and fun research with scientists of different backgrounds.” “I am excited to be at liberty to collaborate with BINA’s many researchers, conducting innovative and fun research with scientists of different backgrounds” Dr. Hannah-Noa Barad, who joined BINA in 2022, is an expert in materials science with sustainable and renewable energy applications. She received her PhD in materials science and chemistry under Prof. Arie Zaban’s supervision at BIU and went on to complete two postdoctoral fellowships, first at the BIU and then at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, Germany. Dr. Barad has returned to her alma mater and now heads the Multinary Material Systems for Energy and Sustainability lab in the Department of Chemistry. “My group uses multinary (multiple elements) material systems as catalysts to investigate the formation of sustainable fuels like ethanol, hydrogen or methane (by reactions, for example, to CO2 reduction, O2 evolution, H2 evolution, etc.) as well as discover new materials for this cause. We also aspire to develop and advance clean photovoltaic technology to replace current silicon-based (Si) systems,” says Dr. Barad. To this end, her lab uses advanced combinatorial synthesis and high-throughput analysis techniques while also incorporating machine learning tools for the rational discovery of materials. “We also use glancing angle deposition, a physical vapor synthesis technique, which allows the direct growth 13

Another avenue of research of Dr. Golub aims to expand the scope of known protein-DNA interactions while focusing on non-canonical G-quadruplex DNA structures. He says that although these structures are abundant in nature and associated with fundamental biological processes, the biomolecular interactions that control their affinity and specificity towards proteins are still largely underexplored. “Our approach is twofold: one, to elucidate new structures of protein-G-quadruplex complexes; two, to explore the protein as the molecular basis for G-quadruplex recognition. Through this approach, we hope to lay the foundation for developing new methods to target DNA structures in cells, and design additional tools for the self-assembly of nanostructures and new proteinbased nanomaterials.” Dr. Golub uses a broad range of research tools to characterize biophysical and photophysical properties, including chemical synthesis, molecular biology, spectroscopy, single crystal X-ray crystallography and other techniques. “Multidisciplinary approaches and cross-disciplinary teamwork are a prerequisite to cutting-edge science and the foundation of novel discoveries,” he says. “This strategy is at the core of BINA, it facilitates many fruitful and efficient communications and collaborations and enables me to aspire to do the best science.” Dr. Eyal Golub, an expert in protein engineering and DNA nanobiotechnology, joined BINA in 2022. During his training he explored several disciplines, from physical chemistry and photovoltaics in his graduate studies in Prof. Arie Zaban’s lab at the BIU to DNA nanobiotechnology in his PhD, which he completed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He then went on to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Diego, USA, where he uniquely combined protein engineering with classic inorganic chemistry. “This course of training has given me a broad overview and inspired me to establish an interdisciplinary research lab,” explains Dr. Golub. “It allows me to combine chemistry and synthetic biology to explore how the assembly of biomolecules brings about the structural and functional tremendous diversity that is present in all life forms,” he says. “While an individual protein and DNA molecules exhibit an impressive set of properties, their assemblies are far more elaborate and sophisticated. They can create unique interfaces and microenvironments that are distinct from their surroundings. However, pinning down or predicting the origins of any synergistic interactions is challenging due to the constructs’ complexity and the inability to discern between identical subcomponents.” To meet these challenges, Dr. Golub and his group aim to develop new methods and approaches to design and produce controlled assembly of biomolecules that exhibit novel characteristics. The applications are endless, from sensing and catalysis technologies to the design of smart membranes. Dr. Eyal Golub “This course of training has given me a broad overview and inspired me to establish an interdisciplinary research lab” 14

“It will allow us to minimize the NV center readout system and provide a single-shot readout of the NV center at room temperature.” In another project, they read the magnetic moment of a single electron in a carbon nanotube. This project will pave the way for a quantum imaging technique that probes the quantum nature of a system at the nanoscale. “BINA’s ensemble of prominent researchers makes up a vibrant environment in which to establish multidisciplinary connections and collaborations that are otherwise much harder to form,” says Dr. Hamo. “I also intend to be involved with BINA’s fabrication facilities and the imaging facilities, both as user and a contributor.” Dr. Assaf Hamo, who joined BINA in 2022, is an expert in quantum sensors imaging. In his PhD research at the Weizmann Institute of Science, he imaged, for the first time, the Wigner crystal of electrons in a carbon nanotube using a quantum dot sensor. In his postdoctoral research at Harvard University, he used a nitrogen vacancy in a diamond as a quantum magnetic sensor to image the inside current in a microscopic device and show the hydrodynamical behavior of the flow of electrons. Nitrogen vacancy (NV) centers in diamond and carbon nanotube devices are two promising platforms to advance quantum sensing. “The idea is to harness the peculiar properties of quantum mechanics, such as superposition and coherence, to sense physical quantities such as minute magnetic fields and electric fields that are impossible to sense using classical sensors,” says Dr. Hamo. “These two systems have proven, each in its own way, to be ultrasensitive. However, they are far from reaching their intrinsic capabilities, mainly due to their imperfect interface with the outer world.” In his lab, Dr. Hamo focuses on a hybrid system of a carbon nanotube device coupled to a single NV center. He says that combining these two unique sensors is a way to overcome many of the limitations of each system. In one research project, Dr. Hamo and his group read the quantum state of the NV center using a charge detector made of a carbon nanotube. Dr. Assaf Hamo “The idea is to harness the peculiar properties of quantum mechanics, such as superposition and coherence, to sense physical quantities such as minute magnetic fields and electric fields that are impossible to sense using classical sensors” 15

To protect quantum phenomena from destructive noise, Dr. Levy and his group also develop systematic and robust methods for finding a control law to accomplish distinct tasks, for example, driving a quantum system from some initial state to a targeted final state, or optimizing the performance of a quantum device. “With these theoretical tools we can explore quantum foundations and thoroughly define the interactions between quantum effects and concepts from nonequilibrium thermodynamics.” Dr. Levy says that collaborations with theoretical and experimental groups are essential to his work as a theoretician. “My group collaborates with theoretical and experimental research groups in Italy, Spain, Germany, China and the United States. I look forward to working with the many top researchers who are a part of BINA and to initiate interdisciplinary dialogues that will lead to exciting new research opportunities.” Dr. Amikam Levy, who joined BINA in 2022, is an expert in nonequilibrium quantum dynamics and quantum control theory. After completing his PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he stayed on for a postdoctoral year. In late 2017, he traveled to the United States for a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, and in 2020 he returned to Israel and joined BIU’s Department of Chemistry. Progress in quantum technologies relies on understanding how quantum phenomena govern the dynamics of quantum systems far from equilibrium, identifying the available quantum resources, and being able to control and manipulate quantum systems. Dr. Levy’s group explores these aspects of quantum theory by developing various mathematical and physical frameworks and providing new theoretical predictions that can be tested in the lab. “Specifically, we develop dynamic descriptions that capture the effects of quantum phenomena on the single-atom/molecule level and for systems far from equilibrium.” Dr. Levy points out that the challenge is to provide a faithful representation of dissipation and decoherence induced by the noisy environment. Dr. Amikam Levy “Specifically, we develop dynamic descriptions that capture the effects of quantum phenomena on the single-atom/molecule level and for systems far from equilibrium” 16

Ripples of Impact Dr. Ayal Hendel and his partners developed the CRISPECTOR, an innovative software to measure CRISPR genome editing’s off-target activity and harmful translocation events, supported by an ERC grant and published in Nature Communication. Distinct in its statistical accuracy and ability to identify a broad spectrum of genomic aberrations, CRISPECTOR brings us closer to realizing CRISPR’s remarkable promise as a clinical therapeutic technology. Prof. Shulamit Michaeli and IMM’s Prof. Luisa Figueiredo were the first to discover the RNA molecule of a small nucleolus involved in the life processes of the Trypanosoma parasite that causes the deadly African Trypanosomiasis disease known as sleeping sickness. Causing an overexpression of this molecule by RNA manipulation prevents the parasite’s development and, subsequently, the development of the disease in the infected body. This may be a possible mechanism for life-saving RNA-based drug development, and encourages studying the role of similar molecules in other parasites and organisms. Prof. Shulamit Michaeli and Prof. JeanPaul Lellouche are developing a non-intrusive, safe nanoparticlesbased therapeutic ointment expected to impact the lives of nearly 550 million people exposed to internal and external Leishmaniasis disease, known in Israel as Rose of Jericho. Current treatments require hospitalization and have severe side effects. The nanoparticles’ mechanism, entering and killing the parasite by bursting its only lysosome, can be duplicated to help humanity fight other parasitic diseases. 17

The magnifying glass, microscope and telescope enable us to “see” and examine objects too small (or too far) for the naked eye to study. “In my lab, we take these optical developments that essentially magnify objects to the dimension of time,” says Prof. Moti Fridman. “‘Too small’ in time means too short to be measured by to-date electronics. We have no electronic system that can measure pico-secondslong pulse, for example, and reveal its inner structure or dynamics, which means we cannot scheme them.” The novelty of the temporal devices that Prof. Fridman and his group develop, design, fabricate and assemble is on par with the 17th century advent of the microscope. “Like a magnifying glass, our time-lens enhances and expands ultrashort events 1,000 or one million times over. The result is something that can be measured by electronics,” explains Prof. Fridman. His tools, made of ultrafast lasers and highly nonlinear fibers, reveal an untraveled world of effects, previously inaccessible, including the complex temporal schemes of ultrafast phenomena, shocks, polarization, phase, impression, different phenomena that are a combination of time and space—and beyond. Rogue Waves, Solitary Waves and Quantum One example of such ultrafast events is rogue sea waves, also known as monster waves, or killer waves. The same phenomenon occurs in nonlinear optic systems. These waves are seemingly unpredictable and so formidable that the few sailors throughout history to witness them described them as “a wall of water that comes out of nowhere swiftly swallowing the ships at whole.” Those sailors were often suspected of losing their minds or fabricating stories—that is, until January 1st, 1995, when a rogue wave was recorded for the first time. The New Year’s wave was captured by measuring sensors and laser telemeter instruments set up on the Draupner gas platform in the North Sea. “Using our advanced temporal devices, we were the first to discover that these rogue waves have an inner structure. They are A Lens to Magnify Time not merely a peak of a pulse but a specific assembly of several pulses, each having a different polarization. We can predict when such rogue wave may occur, and hopefully, in the future, we will be able to use this knowledge to protect ships and optic devices from their destruction.” Prof. Fridman’s systems can also measure the altogether different solitary waves, or solitons, which are a focal research point in fiber optics applications, mainly for telecommunication purposes. “Using our systems, we can provide quantum tomography and measure quantum phenomena in resolution like never before.” Through his new research project in quantum optics, Prof. Fridman can answer some of the riddles that occupy the scientific community and the telecommunication industry: How do single photons form, interact and disappear? What do their interactions look like, and how do they consolidate into solitons? “We can now provide schemes of these ultrafast solitary waves, their dynamic of polarization and phase,” says Prof. Fridman. “As a bonus, our system also automatically amplifies signals, which means we can measure even ultraweak signals.” The knowledge obtained is fundamental to understanding temporal quantum systems and can revolutionize the telecommunication industry, introducing new capabilities including long-distance transmission, and leading us toward full optical data processing. Waving an Impact Bringing his academic work to the public is a mission for Prof. Fridman, and it drives him to participate in scientific activities with the many guests that visit BIU. “Launching a missile on campus lawns is an effective way to teach a child about Newton’s laws while igniting their curiosity about science at large,” he says. Thus, when approached by BINA’s Fetter Museum of Nanoscience and Art to partner with an audio artist to compose a musical piece in a way that will use and demonstrate a scientific law, he was 18

Prof. Moti Fridman, an expert in nonlinear and temporal optics, arrived at BIU in 2012 after a postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University, New York. He established his lab at the Alexander Kofkin Faculty of Engineering and joined BINA as a faculty member. Developing time-lenses, temporal microscope, temporal cavities and other advanced temporal devices, Prof. Fridman provides scientists with novel tools that can profoundly impact our lore about the nature of ultrafast phenomena. Prof. Fridman and his group also utilize these tools to conduct basic research; coupled with their experience in complex temporal schemes, they present us with new fundamental knowledge and often deliver an implemental outcome. The fastest useable optical encryption is one patent that came out of Prof. Fridman’s lab, and another is an ultrafast spectrometer, which grabbed RAFAEL’s attention to the point of them choosing to assimilate it into its high-energy laser system, the Iron Beam that would bolster the Iron Dome system’s defense capacity. 19

happy to rise to the challenge. Through the scienceartwork exhibitions, BINA’s museum strives to illustrate complicated scientific issues for the public. But in this case, it was a two-way work that propelled Prof. Fridman to set sail outside of his territorial waters on an intriguing research project concerning network behavior. Prof. Fridman and his partner Dr. Elad Sniderman, a sound artist from Stony Brook University, New York, built a system—or network— made of 16 philharmonic violin players who cannot see one another and can hear only portions of their fellow musicians through a headset. The scientists had complete control over the headsets, and they played around with the outer parameters, including who heard whom and the volume of the sound. They gave the violinists only one task: to synchronize. “Trying to do what they have practiced their entire lives and do best, the musicians were visibly frustrated,” reported Prof. Fridman. Being a trained classical dancer himself, Prof. Fridman knows how crucial precision is to mastery: “We expected to see the violinist averaging, as do systems or networks in the physical and biological worlds and even galaxies in space. But in this impossible situation, unlike any other network we know of, the violinists canceled some of their connections to fulfill their task and synchronize.” The research and new mathematic model describing how the human network behaved in an impossible frustrating circumstance was published in an article in Nature Communications. “Through our advanced system we get results more accurate than ever before, up to the thousandth.” To date, there is no equivalent to Prof. Fridman’s system accuracy in social science research, and it sparked the opportunity to ask and get answers to more profound questions. What are the decision processes in a multiplayer human network when not everyone is connected and can talk to each other? For example, how do they choose a leader? Can we predict who will be the chosen leader? Can we influence the decisionmaking process (and thus influence who will be the chosen leader) by changing only the outer parameters of the network? There are considerable implications of such data and capabilities in our age of globalism, technology and social media dominance. BINA’s Ripple Effect Delving deeper, Prof. Fridman has partnered with a Colorado University group researches insect networks and interactions. “Like in our human network, the communication in insect networks is partial; imagine a beehive, for example,” he says, “and we now strive to learn the differences and similarities between human and insect networks. Is it that we humans are sophisticated and singular, or maybe the ability to cancel some connections to resolve complexity (be it synchronizing, choosing a leader and so forth) is a fundamental ability that people share with any other biological network?” Prof. Fridman is adamant that this project is a great illustration of BINA’s outstanding strategy and human resources: “It shows what it means to us scientists to have the opportunity to work, and may I add play, with colleagues from other disciplines that have a different set of skills. De facto, BINA is a whole that facilitates something beyond the sum of its parts.” 20

Ripples of Impact In a ground breaking collaborative research between Australia, United States and Israel, Prof. Lior Elbaz led the development of a method based on Fourier transform alternating current voltammetry to monitor the health of fuel cells in operando. This work was published this year in Nature Catalysis. Prof. Eli Sloutskin and collaborators’ study, published in Nature Physics, reported the first observation of molecules of a guest substance forming ordered selfassembled patterns on the surfaces of liquid nanodroplets. The researchers elucidated the physics underlying the patterning and developed a method for pattern control. The observed phenomenon is at the convergence point of such remote fields as two dimensional crystallography, thin-plate elasticity, interfacial energetics and mathematical topology. The method of pattern formation can be used for engineering of smart metamaterials and may have numerous far-reaching applications in medicine, the food industry, water purification and more. Prof. Sharon Shwartz has improved X-ray computational ghost fluorescence imaging performance. His study, published in Optica, shows that measuring the light emitted from the scanned objects instead of that which passes through them provides more accurate and detailed data; it also allows mapping and analyzing a broader spectrum of materials. Among other fields, this improvement promises to impact us all, potentially increasing medical X-ray examination quality while reducing patients’ exposure to its harmful radiation. 21

What does a CrossFit trainee who can deadlift 105 kg and a particle accelerator have in common? Energy, and lots of it! Four days a week at 05:00 am, Dr. Olga Girshevitz reports to CrossFit practice. “It is a unique community with insane energies,” says Dr. Girshevitz, a member of yet another unique group consisting of a mere 300 researchers worldwide that have the multidisciplinary knowledge and skills to master a particle accelerator. Moreover, Dr. Girshevitz and her team at the Surface Analysis Unit, Dr. Vladimir Richter and Nahum Shabi, together possess an outstanding combination of fundamental scientific skills and applicative capabilities that enable them to build some of the unit’s sophisticated instrumentation, cutting costs while fitting the machinery to their specific needs. “What we want to investigate or analyze is in line with the evolving needs of our many clients and partners. In recent years, we have recognized a growing need for an ion implanter system and utilized Dr. Richter’s 40 years of experience operating ion implanters to embark on a mission to build, at first, a small exemplar,” says Dr. Girshevitz. After studying this small ion implanter, Dr. Richter built a larger ion implanter which was made available to BINA’s clients. The system implants noble gases ions on the surface of materials (hundreds of nanometers deep maximum), changing their chemical, electrical and mechanical properties. This process requires low temperatures, which BINA’s ion implanter can provide, using a cooling system of the sample stage. Implanting the Elements of Change Let’s talk numbers: the cost of a commercial ion implantation system range between $2–5 million or more. That is one of the reasons why there is currently no other operating implanter to serve the Israeli industry or academia at large. “There is high demand for the ion implanter’s capabilities to change the materials’ optical, mechanical or electrical traits, studying and utilizing these changes for applications in quantum technology, microelectronics and even coloring diamonds in the gemstone industry. And so, in a very short time, we have managed to form several interesting research collaborations due to our handmade implanter,” says Dr. Girshevitz. A significant portion of this work is carried out in collaboration with the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center and the Soreq Nuclear Research Center and is understandably classified. “We are using the implanter to make defects in alloys to study the mechanism of this process and to find ways to reduce or prevent their damages.” Dr. Girshevitz also works with Prof. Issai Shlimak of BIU’s physics department, making defections in 2D materials such as graphene; his doctoral student Nir M. Yitzhak, who also works in Soreq, has co-authored two recent articles on the subject, published in Applied Surface Science journal. Another academic collaboration with Prof. Louisa Meshi of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev focuses on material engineering and analysis of defects by electronic microscopy, and its initial results were presented at the Materials Science and Engineering MSE Congress 2022 and published in Materials Characterization journal. Pushing Towards Instrumental Growth 22


Body Building Comes in Many Forms Building the implanter, forming research collaborations, showing initial results and constructing a clientele infrastructure that can recommend the Surface Analysis Unit—all of these allowed BINA to submit a proposal to the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) in request of funding to acquire a larger implanter. While waiting for the ISF decision, BINA’s management already got all the proof of feasibility and ability and decided to allocate resources and encourage the team’s unit to step up to their next challenge: building a new beam line to the accelerator, an ion microbeam with resolution of up to five microns. “Today, the diameter of the ion beam is a minimum 1.5 millimeters,” says Dr. Girshevitz. “With the new microbeam, we will be able to map an area of that size 300 times. It means, of course, extricating more details, but more importantly, it will be 3D information from both the depth and lateral surface of our sample.” Dr. Girshevitz and her team will build the ion microbeam with the help of their friends and colleagues from the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb, the Republic of Croatia, who will assist with blueprints, recommendations and deliberations. Building a handmade ion microbeam presents a significant advantage compared to a commercial one, which is somewhat basic and limited, as Dr. Girshevitz points out. “Any special adjustment or addition costs a lot of money and is not always possible. We are determined to make a singular ion microbeam edition that meets our vision and needs.” This five-microns-ion-beam, one-of-its-kind in Israel, will be a great service to the chips industry that frequently tackles malfunctions and short circuits due to pollution. “When the chip is smaller than 1.5 millimeters, the best we can do is to extract an indication that there is pollution, but we cannot point out its location. Using the microbeam, we will be able to focus and map every five microns of the chip, providing images of both X, Y and Z directions throughout the sample—essentially a 3D visualization of the chip—and tracing a leakage or pollution to its source. With these precise data, it will be easier for our clients to overcome such problems that often hold back R&D processes.” Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat It gets even more interesting when it comes to biological samples that are minute in nature. “We have many research collaborations with ophthalmologists, for example, for whom such a tool is essential to expanding their understanding of the optic nerve. This nerve is much smaller than 1.5 millimeters, and currently we can only provide them with averaged quantitative information about the elements found in a sample of an optic nerve. Using a five-microns-beam will allow us to focus on deferent areas of nerve, detect elements and point to specific locations where they accumulate.” Dr. Girshevitz gives an example of recent research in collaboration with Prof. Nitza Cohen-Goldenberg, MD, Director of the ophthalmology department at Bnai Zion Medical Center and Over a decade ago, when BINA’s founders set out to establish the Surface Analysis Unit and acquired a state-of-the-art particle accelerator, they made a brave and ambitious decision to address the unmet needs of the local research community and industry. Dr. Olga Girshevitz, head of the Surface Analysis Unit, was the one to install, operate and maintain the Pelletron tandem accelerator, the core piece of the unit. She still does so today. BIU’s alumni Dr. Girshevitz holds a multidisciplinary knowledge that enables BINA to realize this complicated technical potential, making the Surface Analysis Unit a key player in dozens of research projects and forming and maintaining collaborations with scientists from the academia, defense and civil industry in Israel and worldwide, advancing research and providing R&D problemsolving. Nowadays, with the support of BINA’s present management, the unit keeps pushing harder, enhancing its performance and building handmade cutting-edge facilities to the benefit of Israel’s current and future endeavors. 24

associate professor at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, indicating that cobalt leakage out of hip implants has a role in implanted patients’ vision loss. Tracing cobalt accumulations throughout the optic nerve could unravel critical information needed to create targeted, precise treatment. The optic nerve, brain tissue and other biological samples are not only small but also fragile. “Making biological samples requires a complicated preparation for them to withstand the vacuum conditions inside the sample chamber; blood samples, for example, are dried so as to be compatible with vacuum conditions. On top of the complexity, the samples also lose some vital characteristics in the process.” In light of this need, Dr. Girshevitz and her collogues intend to develop an external ion microbeam line to analyze biological samples such as tears, which have been at the center of an ongoing series of studies at the accelerator lab. One of collaboration projects that can benefit from the new microbeam focuses on people with Wilson’s disease, patients of Prof. Nitza Goldenberg-Cohen and Dr. Alon Zahavi’s, a senior ophthalmologist at the Rabin Medical Center. Wilson’s disease is a genetic disorder in which copper is accumulated in the liver, brain and corneas of the eyes; when untreated, it can cause liver and central nervous system dysfunction and death. “The conventional blood test to diagnose this disease is so expensive that many patients are diagnosed and treated only after exposure to the high levels of copper has already taken its toll, and the effect is devastating,” says Dr. Girshevitz. “We try to provide a simple, accessible and noninvasive test to characterize excess copper in tear samples from Wilson’s patients. Being an inherited disorder, such a test can help physicians to diagnose children with Wilson’s disease early and provide them with preventive care and a normal quality of life.” Inspiration can strike at any time. While deadlifting 105 kg way before sunrise, Dr. Girshevitz had another research idea for which she recruited Ran Nakash and his appraised boxing gym Iron Core. “Harvesting and analyzing tears of professional boxers and nonprofessional trainees revealed high levels of iron in tears of those who follow an intensive training regime. The fact of the iron deficit in the body of athletes is well known,” emphasizes Dr. Girshevitz. “Our novelty is that we can provide this information based on a noninvasive tear test, an easy way for athletes to keep tabs on their iron levels.” Athletes, Wilson’s patients and any other fascinating subjects—we’ll continue to keep tabs on the Surface Analysis Unit’s growth and report its continuous impact. 25

As we move from the tangible realm to the miniscule nanometric dimensions, we find that the laws of physics change and make way to the world of quantum physics. It is a very different and counterintuitive world. Modern computers, for example, are made of transistors or bits that can be in one of two conditions, 1 or 0, much like a switch; quantum components, on the other hand, have qubits, and these present us with a myriad of possibilities. “An electron can be both a particle and a wave, and pretty much anything in between. Like waves at sea, electrons interfere with each other to create different forms of waves. Learning how to use these multipossibilities can dramatically enhance our computing power; calculations that today take an unreasonable amount of time will take mere seconds for quantum computers to perform,” says Prof. Frydman. One of the platforms that scientists use today to research quantum electric traits are superconductors. These materials can transmit electric current without losing energy or producing heat. Superconductors are also at the heart of Prof. Frydman’s research: “If our electric wires were superconductors, there would be no energy crisis and our electric bills would be negligible. Unfortunately, this trait only occurs at such low temperatures, close to absolute zero (-273 Celsius), that the cooling process itself is extremely energy-consuming. Nanometric components made of superconductors, compared to which our current electric wires look gigantic, are an important branch of our field; they are the foundation of quantum technology. Each superconductor nanoparticle can be a qubit, the quantum computer component that contains and provides information.” Size, Temperature and Sensitivity Prof. Frydman’s lab is a heavy user of the BINA Center for Scientific Instrumentation, where his students fabricate the superconductors’ samples. “Although this process can take up to six months per sample, nanotechnology equipment is continually advancing, bringing us closer to meeting the size challenge; it’s the low temperature that still poses a barrier,” says Prof. Frydman. At room temperature (25 Celsius or 300 Kelvin), thermic energy causes the particles in the sample to vibrate; this disruption overshadows the quantum traits, making it hard for scientists to research and further harness them for technological use. But the field is constantly advancing. While in past-generation labs like Prof. Frydman’s, pouring liquid helium—a highly expansive chemical—is the go-to cooling process, recent industrial developments provide new labs with cooling systems that contain helium in a close circuit. This sophisticated refrigerator-like system reduces experiment costs, enabling academia to scale its research volume and hopefully expedite results. The third challenge that concerns quantum researchers is this components’ sensitivity. Any disruption such as disorder, collision of electrons, cellular radiation from a ringing smartphone that penetrates the component, and so on, will suppress the quantum nature of the elements. If we want to research and eventually use these components, the electron must maintain its quantum traits over time. Fundamental Science — the Foundation of Future Quantum Technology 26

Prof. Aviad Frydman, head of the Department of Physics, arrived at BIU more than two decades ago after completing his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Diego. Since establishing his laboratory, Prof. Frydman has been engaged in nanotechnology research; he was a member of BINA’s founding think tank and one of its first faculty members. Today, he is a member of BINA’s scientific committee, steering the institute toward future goals. With his research group, Prof. Frydman, an experimental scientist, focuses on the electric traits of the quantum world. His goal is to introduce invaluable knowledge that will shed light on the mysteries of quantum science and allow us to put them into practice with innovations such as quantum computers. The intriguing combination of superconductivity, nano and quantum draws many graduate and doctoral students, as well as postdoctoral fellows from all over the world, to Prof. Frydman’s lab. For Prof. Tatyana I. Baturina, an experimental scientist who was forced to flee Russia as war with Ukraine broke out, a former visit to Prof. Frydman’s lab had a lifesaving impact. See more in the textbox on page 29. 27

It’s a Mess! And That’s the Way I Like It Most labs worldwide are working to deliberately build such components, making them neater, cleaner and also studier at higher temperatures. Prof. Frydman is doing it the other way around. As a rule, he explains, some impurities are bound to enter these sensitive systems; hence, two systems will never be the same. Developing a quantum computer requires many similar components, and herein lies the problem: “In my lab, we deliberately induce disorder in the superconductor reducing the size of the system as much as we can and intentionally disrupting its perfect crystal periodicity.” To understand the logic behind his idea, Prof. Frydman suggests imagining the effort needed to organize many items in ten rooms so that the rooms will look alike. Meticulously placing the bed, the vase and books in the same order on the shelves, and so on. “However,” he says, “get those ten rooms messy enough, and they eventually all look the same. Going back to physics, statistically, we see that two spontaneous disordered superconductors are almost identical in their physical traits.” One trait that is fundamental for quantum technology is entanglement. “That is, for example, when two photons, two light particles, which started out together and have grown apart to the point that they are now located so far from each other that physically they cannot communicate, can do the physically impossible and transmit information to each other— as long as they continue to behave as one quantum body. Entangled with each other, this pair of particles can transmit information, apparently faster than the speed of light and in ways considerably more sophisticated than those known today.” Prof. Frydman emphasizes that for the technology, it is not the speed they want to benefit from but the correlation itself, the ability to impact one particle by changing something in the other. Aiming to use the inherent disorder for our benefit, Prof. Frydman is working on the interactions between electric traits and low-dimension geometry. “It is easier to induce inherent disorder to a system, which spontaneously breaks into ten entangled parts that communicate with each other than to build the same ten qubit systems so the qubits will be at the right place, in the right order and maintain their entanglement. I have created an elementary method to gain several similar components with correlated particles, from which we want to build memory cells and other quantum computer components.” 28