Indrek Reile won the Grand Prix Award for the presentation at the Researchers Night Festival

Senior Scientist at the National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics, Dr. Indrek Reile received the Public Choice Award for a presentation “Chemicals around us: how chemical analysis could aid in solving the present-day challenges” at the annual Researchers Night Festival.

Career opportunities with NICPB

The laboratories of NICPB invite PhD students and postdoctoral researchers as well as Master’s and Bachelor students who are interested in a scientific career and outstanding research to join our research teams.

NICPB also welcomes ideas and proposals for extending the research groups and developing our research fields from postdocs as well as independent researchers. For financial support, we would encourage you to consider the following programmes: Mobilitas +, ETAg personal research funding, Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe, etc.

New research topics for students and postdoctoral researchers will be posted here in November, 2020. For interest to join a research topic in NICPB before, we would ask you to take a look at the laboratory webpages and contact the Head of the Laboratory or the research group about joining the research team of interest.

Additional information about NICPB research programmes, researchers and infrastructure can be found on the laboratory webpages.

Estonia has signed the membership agreement with CERN

Estonia has signed the membership agreement with CERN. With this agreement Estonia has become an Associate Member in the Pre-Stage to Membership of CERN.

See the CERN press release.

Early Stage Researcher position in the MSCA-ITN project “PRORISK”

NICPB Laboratory of Environmental Toxicology is looking for MSCA Early Stage Researcher (doctoral student) in the framework of MSCA-ITN project “PRORISK”.

Eligible candidate has to meet the following MSCA criteria:

1) At the date of recruitment (tentatively Sept. 1, 2020), the applicant must have no PhD and less than 4 years of full-time equivalent research experience from the award of the degree that entitles them to undertake a doctorate;
2) The applicant must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Estonia for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date.

Deadline for applying is May 31, 2020.

Please see further information and eligibility terms in EURAXESS

NICPB physicist Girsh Blumberg received the ERC Advanced Grant for studies in superconductivity

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded a competitive 2.5 Million Euros advanced research grant to the principal investigator Girsh Blumberg and a team of researchers from the National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics in Tallinn, Estonia (NICPB) to develop the instrumentation that would enable a study “How do superconductors break time-reversal symmetry?” The work in Tallinn builds on PI-s expertise in studying strongly correlated electron systems and on the expertise of NICPB in the field of terahertz spectroscopy and low temperature physics.
Superconductors are used to build magnets for MRI machines and quantum computers, but even 109 years after the discovery of superconductivity we understand its microscopic mechanisms only in the simplest cases. This research focuses on studying the basic symmetries of superconductors in order to reveal new properties that could prove useful for building new devices including quantum computers. The symmetries observed in nature give rise to conservation laws and the properties of particles. Among the most important of these symmetries is time-reversal – breaking this symmetry leads to a variety of physical effects in condensed matter physics, especially in superconductors.
Our everyday experience shows that past and future are not symmetric: we cannot predict the future just based on our experience from the past! This is captured by the time-asymmetry of the second law of thermodynamics, which says that the entropy always increases.
In contrast, most laws of physics satisfy time-symmetry: such include Newton’s laws, Einstein’s laws, and the basic laws of quantum mechanics. Time-reversal symmetry implies that the equations of motion do not inherently contain a direction for time. Time-reversal symmetry is the motion-reversed symmetry. However, in a system with a magnetic field, the reversed motion of an electron breaks the Newton’s laws, and thus we call the time-reversal symmetry (motion-reversed symmetry) broken. Therefore, the appearance of spontaneous magnetic field is often taken as a signature of broken time-reversal symmetry.
In the context of condensed matter physics, time-reversal symmetry breaking usually implies something that behaves like a magnetic field. Conventional superconductors (lossless conductors of charge current) are robust diamagnets: materials that expel magnetic fields (through the Meissner effect). It would therefore be highly unexpected if a superconducting material would support spontaneous magnetic fields.
Nevertheless, such spontaneously broken time-reversal symmetry states have been suggested for unconventional superconductors, but their identification remains experimentally controversial. For some unconventional superconductors, when these materials are being cooled into the superconducting state, something like a spontaneous magnetization appears. Particularly interesting are unconventional superconductors for which the superconducting state is protected topologically and vortices of the supercurrent can host unconventional particles (Majorana fermions) with potential use in quantum computing applications. However, in striking contrast to the unconventional A phase of superfluid 3He where broken rotational symmetry was directly observed, identification of broken time-reversal symmetry for the superconductors has presented a challenge. The ‘smoking gun’ experiments which could confirm time-reversal symmetry breaking are experiments which are sensitive to a very tiny magnetization. Such novel probes will be developed at NICPB.

Additional info:
Girš Blumberg,
Urmas Nagel,, +372 5690 1425


NICPB Activity Report 2019

The new NICPB activity report has been published. It summarises the developments and major achievements during the 2017 – May 2019 period.

Further reading: Activity report May 2019.

Japanese Ambassador Her Excellence Ms Yoko Yanagizawa visited NICPB on the 22 of November 2017

Ambassador Ms Yoko Yanagizawa visit to NICPB

We are honoured to invite you for an excursion to a National Institute of Chemical Physics and Biophysics (NICPB) on the 22 of November 2017.



Dr Liis Seinberg has been honoured with the JSPM Award for Advanced Research in Japan

Dr Liis Seinberg and her colleagues prof Shinpei Yamamoto and prof Hiroshi Kageyama received the JSPM (Japan Society of Powder and Powder Metallurgy) Award for Advanced Research.

The research was performed during Liis Seinberg’s PhD studies in Kyoto University.  The work was supervised by prof Shinpei Yamamoto (Institute for  Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, Kyoto University) ja prof Hiroshi Kageyama (Kyoto University). The thesis “Low temperature Synthesis and Properties of Ferromagnetic-Metal Nanomaterials and Square-Planar Coordinated Iron Oxides” featured five high impact publications.

The award ceremony was in Japan on May 24th 2016.



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