Promotion video of Jožef Stefan days
Promotion video of Jožef Stefan days
The Jožef Stefan Days are held to commemorate the famous Slovenian physicist Jožef Stefan, who was born on 24 March, and to popularise science.
Monday, 18 March

OPEN WEEK AT JSI: 9.00 – visiting JSI in person, Šolski center Krško – Sevnica

(School center Krško – Sevnica)


JSI main lecture hall


Prof. dr. Boštjan Zalar, JSI Director


JSI main lecture hall

Fun science: The Big Bang Theory in Slovenian

Is science too complex to be approached with humor, are the issues of our time too serious to joke about? There is no longer any doubt that science must step out of the ivory tower of hermetic explanations understandable only to a narrow professional audience. As a society, we grapple with complex issues, from climate change to public health, and effective science communication can translate complex research findings into accessible information, thereby shaping public opinion and guiding decision-making. In this regard, humor serves as a welcome channel to make science accessible to the lay audience, not only entertaining but also enlightening and educating. Alongside humor, what are other effective ways to demystify complex scientific concepts, and why should science sometimes be taken less seriously? These are the questions we contemplate at the opening roundtable of this year’s Jožef Stefan Days.

Dr. Anja Kranjc Horvat, Science Gateway Center, CERN
Aleš Novak, stand-up comedian
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Uroš Kuzman, FMF UL, stand-up comedian
Dr. Arijana Filipić, NIB
Dr. Ambrož Kvartič, ethnologist, archaeologist, and radio host
Host: Maja Ratej


JSI gallery

Ante Trstenjak

Ante Trstenjak (1894-1970), painter and graphic artist, studied painting at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna and at art academies in Zagreb and Prague. Between 1924 and 1925, he studied in Paris. Between 1932 and 1948 he lived in Prague. He is one of the best Slovenian watercolorists of the time between the two wars.

A selection of works from the collection of the Maribor Art Gallery will be on display.

Tuesday, 19 March

OPEN WEEK AT JSI: 7.45 – virtual visit to JSI, OŠ Franceta Prešerna Črenšovci

(Primary school Franceta Prešerna Črenšovci)


JSI main lecture hall


Prof. dr. Danilo Zavrtanik (University of Nova Gorica, JSI): Zois awardee for life’s work in the field of physics and astrophysics of elementary particles

Presentation of scientific achievements in the field of experimental physics and astrophysics of elementary particles

As the recipient of the Zois Lifetime Achievements Award in the field of physics and astrophysics of elementary particles, I will briefly present my research work over the past 45 years. My experimental work was carried out within large international collaborations such as CPLEAR and DELPHI at CERN, while my astrophysical measurements took place at the Pierre Auger Observatory (PAO) and the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). I will highlight outstanding results based on my personal selection, including measurements of T and CPT symmetry violations, neutrino counts in nature, the search for the Higgs boson, the planning and construction of the Pierre Auger Observatory, the quest for the origins of extremely high-energy cosmic rays, and the emergence of multi-messenger astronomy.

The lecture will be held in Slovenian.


JSI main lecture hall


Participants: dr. Evelin Gruden, Marko Jeran in Aleš Novak

Wednesday, 20 March    


JSI main lecture hall

Science and (nuclear) energy

Access to sufficiently clean energy is what enables our current way of life and future development. Therefore, energy is a strategic asset that makes sense to consider in the very long term. The decision regarding nuclear energy is also long-term. With a nuclear power plant, we coexist for a century or even more (a decade for decision-making, a decade for construction, six or more decades for operation, and another decade or two for decommissioning).

A century brings about enormous changes, both in science and technology, as well as in society. Science largely shapes and predicts these changes. What can science contribute to and assist in strategic decisions and the long-term success of the energy sector?

Mr. Stane Rožman, former director of NEK d.o.o.,
Dr. Dejan Paravan, CEO of Gen energija d.o.o.,
Dr. Boris Sučić, Center for Energy Efficiency, JSI,
Prof. Dr. Luka Snoj, Head of Reactor Physics Section, JSI,
Prof. Dr. Leon Cizelj, Head of Reactor Technology Section, JSI.
Host: Klara Eva Kukovičič


JSI main lecture hall


Prof. dr. Nektarios Tavernarakis (Medical School, University of Crete, Greece)

Autophagic mechanisms in ageing and neurodegeneration

Ageing is driven by the inexorable and stochastic accumulation of damage in biomolecules vital for proper cellular function. Although this process is unpredictable and uncontrollable, the decline associated with ageing is broadly influenced by genetic and extrinsic factors. Numerous gene mutations and treatments have been shown to extend the lifespan of diverse organisms ranging from the unicellular yeast to primates. It is becoming increasingly apparent that most such interventions ultimately interface with cellular stress response mechanisms, suggesting that longevity is intimately related to the ability of the organism to effectively cope with both intrinsic and extrinsic stress. I will present our observations indicating that defective removal of damaged mitochondria is a pivotal event in neurodegeneration. Mitophagy is a selective type of autophagy mediating elimination of damaged mitochondria, and the major degradation pathway, by which cells regulate mitochondrial number in response to their metabolic state. These findings highlight mitophagy as a potential target for the development of innovative, effective therapeutic interventions towards battling human neurodegenerative disorders.

The lecture will be held in English.


JSI main lecture hall

This year the “Jožef Stefan” Institute is again awarding the Jožef Stefan Golden Emblem to encourage young researchers to be even more committed to scientific research, which is also a kind of call to action for the economy to use this knowledge as effectively as possible.

The Golden Emblem is awarded to the authors of the most outstanding doctoral theses in Slovenia in the preceding three years in the natural sciences, mathematics, medicine and biotechnology.

Thursday, 21 March

OPEN WEEK AT JSI: 11.00 – visiting JSI in person, OŠ Komenda-Moste

(Elementary school Komenda-Moste)


JSI main lecture hall


Prof. dr. Igor Križaj (JSI): Zois awardee for outstanding achievements in the field of toxinology

Animal toxins – curse and blessing

With over 220 thousand venomous species, each venom is a unique blend, typically containing more than 100 different pharmacologically active polypeptides or toxins. The collection of toxins comprises millions of distinct molecules, each with varying specificity in their effects on physiological targets. Understanding the composition of these venoms is crucial for developing effective treatments for envenomation’s. Animal toxins also play an exceptional role as molecular tools in fundamental research on complex physiological systems. They serve as a rich reservoir of potential medicinal compounds and contribute to advancements in fields such as medical diagnostics, agriculture, and biotechnology. I will conclude the lecture by presenting groundbreaking discoveries that offer hope for breakthroughs in treating two of today’s most pressing pathologies: Alzheimer’s disease and venous thromboembolism, conditions whose consequences significantly impact people’s lives through disability, dependence, and mortality.

The lecture will be held in Slovenian.


The event is internal and will take place at 18.00 pm at Gallery JSI.

Friday, 22 March   

OPEN WEEK AT JSI: 9.30 – visiting JSI in person, OŠ Frana Roša Celje

(Elementary school Frana Roša Celje)


JSI main lecture hall


Andraž Tori, Outbrain
prof. dr. Jože P. Damijan, Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana
prof. dr. Blaž Zupan, Faculty of Computer and Information Science, University of Ljubljana
prof. dr. Sašo Džeroski, Head of the Knowledge Technologies Department at JSI
prof. dr. Peter Stanković, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana
Host: Ina Petric


JSI main lecture hall


Prof. dr. Paul Attfield (The University of Edinburgh, Great Britain)

New materials from high pressure

Discovery of new materials is important to fundamental science and can lead to energy, environmental and many other applications. High pressure methods are important for synthesising new materials and for exploring changes of structure and properties in dense matter. I will present new oxide and nitride materials recently synthesized by our group and of interest for electronic and energy applications. The first example are oxide perovskites with Mn2+ at A sites of interest for magnetic and spintronic applications. Second, a remarkable variety of new iron oxides has recently been reported at high pressures, and we have explored the substitutional chemistry of Fe4O5. For instance, CaFe3O5 prepared at ambient pressure shows electronic phase separation. Finally, we have recently developed a high pressure method using sodium azide to synthesise nitrides in high oxidation states giving novel nitride perovskites such as LaReN3, and the first examples of Ruddlesden-Popper (i.e., layered perovskite) nitrides.

The lecture will be held in English.

Saturday, 23 March   


in front of the main JSI building, Jamova 39


JSI Reactor Centre in Podgorica (Brinje 40, Podgorica)


Open Day at Jožef Stefan Institute is intended for the general public – anyone who wants to find out what we are researching at our institute and how this can contribute to a balanced society of the future.

The first programme section of the Open Day will start at 9am (CET) at the Jožef Stefan Institute (Jamova cesta 39). Each programme section starts at the full hour and lasts 1 hour. At 10am, 11am and 12pm, the guidance will also be in English. The last presentation will start at 1pm.

Parking will not be available at the Jožef Stefan Institute (Jamova cesta 39), but visitors will have an option to park at the parking place near the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics (Jadranska ulica 15). The number of these parking places is limited.

Visits will also take place at the Reactor center Podgorica in a close vicinity of Ljubljana (Brinje 40, 1262 Dol pri Ljubljani) in the scope of programme section 4. Presentations at the Reactor center will start at 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm and 1:30pm. Presentations are possible also in English depending on the wishes of the visitors. Visitors at the Reactor center have to show their ID document (personal ID card or passport) in order to enter. It will be possible to park near Reactor center. Free bus transport will be organized between JSI Jamova cesta 39 and Reactor center Podgorica. The number of available seats on the bus is limited. Bus schedule: relation Jamova – Reactor: 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm; relation Reactor – Jamova: 9:30pm, 10:30pm, 11:30pm, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm.

The number of visitors will be limited for each programme section with the aim to provide opportunity for a conversation with the researchers in each programme section. All visits are free of charge. Visitors have to follow all requirements and recommendations. Additionally, visitors have to follow all safety instructions provided by JSI staff, especially by laboratory staff.

We kindly ask all visitors to stay in the group of each specific programme section, since visits of laboratories and other places at the Jožef Stefan Institute without JSI staff is not allowed. Photographing inside and outside the premises at the location of Jožef Stefan Institute is not allowed without written consent. We thank you for understanding.

Photography and/or recording will take place at the events of Stefan’s Days for the purpose of promoting or reporting.

1. The matter, internet, biotechnology

– presentations at Jamova 39, Ljubljana

Programme section 1.1: Let's touch the invisible

F3 – Department of Thin Films and Surfaces

The research of hard protective coatings is distictively application-oriented, as the main goal is to increase the lifetime of tools in the machining environment. Optimal combination of properties required for hard coatings can only be achieved by an in-depth study in several levels: understanding the process of coating growth, analysis of influence of deposition parameters on coating properties, and analysis of coating wear processes. The topic is distinctively interdisciplinary, encompassing plasma physics, physics and chemistry of surfaces, metallurgy, materials science and mechanical engineering. Beside a targeted development of a coating for specific technological application, the study of above mentioned processes contributes to a general knowledge of deposition and application of hard coatings. The most important materials for hard coatings are transition metal nitrides, but the department is doing research on other materials such as diamond-like coatings, quasicrystals, oxides, etc. The emphasys of characterisation is in mechanical properties, such as micro- and nanohardness, and adhesion. This is not exclusively limited on hard coatings, as we measure these properties on other types of thin films too. Some of the techniques can also be applied for surfaces of bulk materials.

F1 – Department of Theoretical Physics

Research group for theoretical solid-state and statistical physics is studying phase transitions and critical phenomena in ferroelectrics and surface physics, models of strongly correlated electrons, high-temperature superconductivity and quantum dots, and structure and transport in complex networks.

The members of the group for theoretical particle and nuclear physics are engaged in research on nuclear and hadron physics, quantum chromodynamics, effective theories for electromagnetic and weak meson decays, grand unified theories, physics of relativistic membranes, and high precision computations of three body systems in atomic physics.

The group for theoretical biophysics and soft condensed matter is investigating polyelectrolytes, liquid and colloidal crystals, as well as phospholipid and biological membranes.

F5 – Department of Condensed Matter Physics

In the field of disordered and partially ordered matter, our investigations are focused on quasicrystals, incommensurate crystals and complex metallic alloys with gigantic unit cell, which show outstanding combination of material properties. Our investigations also include physics of relaxors and disordered ferroelectrics, materials for spintronics and magnetoelectric materials, multiferroics, organic magnetic materials, electroactive polymers and elastomers, carbon nanofoams and TiO2 nanotubes. New methods of Nuclear Quadrupole Resonance have been developed for the detection of small amounts of explosives.

The investigations of soft matter, surfaces and nanostructures are focused on liquid crystals with a strong emphasis on colloidal self-assembly in 2D and 3D, phase separation and interfacial ordering at surface templates. In the field of nanostructures, we are focused on the synthesis of anorganic nanotubes, nanoropes and belts, and we are studying directed assembly of single atoms and molecules at surfaces. We have recently developed a new method for the single-molecule synthesis, based on the low temperature Scanning Tunneling Microscope. We are succesful in the application of liquid crystals in light shutters and modulators.

Our research programme in experimental biophysics is focused on the physics of cell membranes and transport of biologically active materials across lipid membranes. We are using spin labelling EPR techniques to explored processes and structures of various complex systems including the effects of various bioactive. We are using in vivo oxymetry techniques for the optimization of medical treatment in tumor therapies, as well as the magnetic resonance imaging techniques and mathematical modeling of biological and granular materials with applications in wood science, constrained diffusion and food processing.

The department is among the leading European laboratories for magnetic resonance.

Video presentation of ”Questions about space, life and everything in general” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

Programme section 1.2: Small is important

F2 – Department of Low and Intermediate Energy Physics

At the Department of low and medium energy physics scientists perform basic and applied research in the field of atomic and nuclear physics. Strong efforts are dedicated also to the radiation protection, focusing on environmental radioactivity monitoring programmes for planned and existing exposure situations, and additionally to drill the key national capacities for emergency exposure situation.

CEMM – Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis

The Center for Electron Microscopy and Microanalysis (CEMM) comprises three scanning electron microscopes (JEOL JXA-840A, JEOL JSM-5800, JEOL JSM-7600F), two transmission electron microscope (JEOL JEM-2100, JEOL JEM-2010F) and equipment for SEM and TEM sample preparation.

All scanning electron microscopes are equipped with EDXS and/or WDXS spectroscopy, enabling the determination of the chemical composition of the investigated materials on micro- scale. JEOL JSM-7600F is additionally equipped with electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) and electron lithography.

Analytical transmission electron microscope JEOL JEM-2010F is equipped with a FEG electron source. The microscope is equipped with STEM unit (BF, ADF, HAADF detectors) and with EELS. Both transmission electron microscopes are equipped with EDXS and CCD cameras for image acquisition. Ion etching, FIB and tripod polishing techniques are used for TEM sample preparation.

F4 – Department of Surface Engineering

Plasma sources – Low pressure and atmospheric gaseous discharges are applied to generate plasma of desired characteristics. The department has specialized in electrode-less discharges powered with radio-frequency and microwave generators using optimized coupling.

Plasma characterization – Optical emission and absorption techniques as well as mass spectrometry, electrical and catalytic probes are used for characterization of glowing plasma and afterglow. The group has developed original versions of catalytic probes for space-resolved measurements of neutral reactive radicals.

Plasma technologies – Discharge cleaning (removal of organic as well as inorganic impurities from surfaces of two and three dimensional objects), Selective plasma etching of composite materials, Activation and passivation of polymers and polymer composites, Plasma nano-medicine (cardiovascular implants, wound dressings, sterilization, diagnostic methods), Plasma nano-science (quantum dots, nanowires, nanocomposites, complex nanostructures).

Surfaces, interfaces and thin films – Pure and applied surface science, surface characterization using ToF- SIMS, XPS, AES and AFM techniques, depth profiling, reactions on surfaces and interfaces, micro-analyses, structural and compositional modifications of solid materials upon treatment with energetic ions.

Vacuum science and applications – Methods for sustenance different grades of vacuum, vacuum metrology, adsorption desorption and permeation of gases through solids, vacuum optoelectronics, development of vacuum devices and components like cathode tubes, insulation panels and made-to-order vacuum elements.

Video presentation of ”Small is important” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

Programme section 1.3: Building a modern world

K9 – Advanced Materials Department

At the Advanced Materials Department, we aim to develop beyond state-of-the-art functional materials by precise control of their synthesis at the atomic and microstructural levels. Material synthesis represents the central research activity and has a key role in the preparation process of ceramics, thin films, and nanoparticles with desired chemical composition, crystal structure, and microstructure. Such ability of control, which is grounded on an understanding of the reaction mechanisms, process parameters, and the related technology, enables us to engineer materials’ intrinsic properties and their extrinsic contributions. Furthermore, by advanced structuring of materials at the atomic and microstructural level we overcome well-established concepts of materials synthesis and achieve new and/or considerably improved functional characteristics. Based on the requested dimensionality materials are synthesized using the solid-state reaction, as well as other contemporary liquid- and vapor-based synthesis methods, like hydrothermal synthesis and pulsed laser deposition technique. Advanced analytical methods, including state-of-the-art electron microscopy, high-resolution X-ray diffraction, and various spectroscopic techniques are used ex situ, in situ, in operando, and in vacuo to follow the course of reactions, crystallization dynamics, stage of structuring, as well as to gain an insight into materials` specific functional response. The as-described methodology represents a new and complex milestone in the field of materials science and has an essential role in the development of future human- and environmental-friendly products and nanotechnologies.

E5 – Laboratory for Open Systems and Networks

Research goals are directed to assurance of scientific, research and developmental results in the field of next generation networks and services and applications based on them. Scientific research is going on to assure important position to Slovenian research achievements in world and European criterion in the field of generic technologies and applications which are the core of knowledge economy. Research contents are focused on key themes of information society technologies and applications.

B3 – Department of Biotechnology

The quality of life of modern man depends on the care for health and environment. Modern concepts in biotechnological sciences ensure both, the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools as well as the improvement and monitoring of healthy environment. Plant protein and peptide molecules with protective effect against predators can be used as lead compounds to design therapeutics for man and animals. On the other hand, the knowledge on molecular mechanisms in human diseases may help to prepare molecules with regulatory function in plants. Interdisciplinary approach, including various fields of modern biotechnology has made possible a qualitative lap and resulted in new products which were not available in the past. Various pharmaceutical compounds which are investigated in our laboratory are of plant origin, similarly as sweet proteins, which can be used in food industry.

An important part of our research are natural enzyme inhibitors of plant and fungi origin and recombinant proteins and peptides, produced in various expression systems by means of recombinant DNA techniques. On the same way the molecules involved in metabolism of lipids and synthesis of cholesterol have been developed. Important targets for inhibitors are proteases, which are associated with the progression of diseases, for example cancer. We investigate also the role of inhibitors and lectins in regulation of processes of immune response. Nevertheless, we have developed also systems for delivery of peptides and oligonucleotides to the site of their action to control their release and to improve the biological effectiveness and transport through the barriers.



Video presentation of ”Building a modern world” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

2. Biology, chemistry, physics, robotics and informatics

– presentations at Jamova 39, Ljubljana

Programme section 2.1: From atom to molecule, from molecule to life

F7 – Department of Complex Matter

Dynamics of complex systems – We investigate relaxation processes in strongly correlated electron systems. The dynamics of photoexcited electrons is studied in several systems, including superconductors, CDW systems, manganites, heavy fermions, MgB2 and systems with electonically driven transitions.

Theory of complex systems – The discoveries of novel functional dynamics in new complex materials requires fundamentally new theoretical approaches for reaching an understanding of the underlying physics. The dynamics of charged complex systems with correlated electrons, particularly high-Tc superconductors and related functional materials is investigated using a variety of phenomelogical and numerical methods.

Nanomaterials: MOSIx, nanowires, fullerene magnetism … – The synthesis of novel nanomaterials is mainly focussed on transition metal cluster nanomaterials such as MoSI nanowires. The research includes synthesis, basic characterisation, measurement of physical properties and functionalisation on the nanoscale.

Applications of nanomaterials and nanotechnology – MOSI nanowires promise a variety of possible applications, ranging from monomolecular substrates for biomolecular sensors to fillers in advanced composites. Other applications include field emission devices and tribological composites.

Soft matter research – Soft matter research includes several different systems, from confined liquid crystals (in planar, cylindrical, spherical geometries or even HPDLCs) and observations of surface effects, to self-assembly of guanosine and investigations of polymeric aligning layers using optical methods.

Biophysics and Biomedical optics – Biophysics research at our department includes experimental studies of molecular motors and protein manipulation with optical tweezers and investigation of electron dynamics in DNA using optical spectroscopy. Biomedical optics and engineering involves studies of laser-tissue interaction and development of novel laser-based diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Nonlinear optics – In Nonlinear optics laboratory we study new materials and their interaction with laser light. We are especially interested in new materials which promise new applications in the following highly competitive fields: optical data storage, optical processing and telecommunications, especially in the form of integrated optics. We are also interested in compact laser sources in the eye-safe wavelength region of 1550 nm. We cooperated with a laser company Fotona from Ljubljana and with the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan, studying the optical properties of domain engineered LiTaO3 crystals with Mg doping and various degrees of stoichiometry. These crystals are especially suited for optical parametric conversion from the Nd:YAG wavelength to the eye-safe region.

B2 – Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences

The core of our department is the program group “Toxins and Biomembranes”, one of the internationally recognized research groups in the field of toxinology. Our major research topic is focused on secreted phospholipases A2 (sPLA2s), both those from animal toxins and those endogenous to humans. We are interested in the molecular mechanisms of action of toxic sPLA2s, particularly those with presynaptic neurotoxicity, anticoagulant activity and myotoxicity, as well as the roles of endogenous sPLA2s in pathological and physiological processes in mammals. We are examining the function of these proteins in different cell processes, such as neuronal apoptosis and neurodegeneration, cell proliferation and carcinogenesis, particularly in breast cancer, activity of mitochondria and inflammation, e.g. in rheumatoid arthritis. Our group is also involved in investigating the biological roles of products of the enzymatic activity of sPLA2s, fatty acids, lysophospholipids and their metabolites, as well as pathologies connected with lipid metabolism, such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity and ageing. Our approach is to identify and characterize constituents of animal toxins with interesting pharmacological activities, potentially useful in medicine and as molecular tools to address research problems in physiology. One of our interests is also structural and evolutionary dynamics of eukaryotic genomes. Our research is conducted in close collaboration with a number of international and national research groups, on the basis of both formal and informal relations. The department is focused on the latest technologies in the fields of genomics, lipidomics and bioinformatics. We are also the only group in Slovenia and its close neighborhood equipped with the knowledge and skills for the analysis of synthetic genetic arrays (SGA).

K3 – Department of Physical and Organic Chemistry

The department is focused on the investigation of physicochemical processes on the surfaces of solids, such as corrosion and heterogeneous catalysis, as well as the synthesis of new compounds. The synergy of these two fields is created in the studies of corrosion protection and functionalization of materials. We exploit an integrative approach where we combine:

      • organic and inorganic synthesis of new compounds and environmentally friendly coatings,
      • electrochemical studies of corrosion and electrochemical properties,
      • materials and molecular modeling based on first principles.

The goal is to gain new insights and understanding of mechanisms of protection and degradation of materials in different environments. We direct our knowledge to new research and design of advanced sustainable solutions in the protection of materials and the development of new catalysts.

Video presentation of ”From atom to molecule, from molecule to life” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

Programme section 2.2: From the Higgs boson to the greatest challenges of modern society

B1 – Department of Biochemistry and Molecular and Structural Biology

The major goals of our research are to characterize the individual proteases (primarily from the cathepsin family) and their inhibitors (stefins, cystatins and related proteins) and to unravel the molecular mechanisms of processes leading to programmed cell death or regulating the immune response of the organism. In addition, our research is focused towards understanding the roles of proteases in various pathological processes, such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and different neurological disorders (Huntington disease, …). An important area of research is also formation of amyloid fibers. For a better understanding of these processes a number of tools are needed, and therefore we are developing production of various antibodies and recombinant proteins (proteases and their inhibitors). We also participate in the development of activity-based probes for proteases suitable for work in cellular and in vivo models, and for testing pharmacologically-relevant compounds. In addition, we have a key role in establishing a center for proteomic research, which would cover the needs of whole Slovenia.

One of the important areas is also understanding of the 3-D structures of biological macromolecules and their complexes at the atomic level, thereby linking the sequencing information with the mechanism of molecule action. In this way, the research is focused in target identification and validation, which are key areas of research in the field of biomedicine in connection with biotechnology.

F9 – Experimental Particle Physics Department

Experiment ATLAS at LHC studies processes occurring at collisions of protons with energy of 13 TeV and tests the predictions of the Standard Model like the existence of Higgs boson proven by the experiments at the LHC. Equally important are searches for processes which would points toward new physics, not described by the Standard Model. In the ATLAS experiment researchers from the department F9 are involved in maintenance and operations of detector system during data taking and in analysis of collected data. 

Experiments Belle and Belle II, operating at the electron positron collider KEKB / SuperKEKB in Tsukuba, Japan, belong to the group of the so-called intensity frontier experiments in the experimental particle physics. The aim of such experiments is a search for processes and particles not included in the Standard Model (SM), commonly addressed as New Physics (NP). To do so, extremely precise measurement results are confronted to predictions of the SM. While the latter is considered as a very successful effective theory, it is believed that NP must exists and is responsible – among else – for the observed matter – antimatter asymmetry in the universe. 

The Pierre Auger Observatory detects ultra-high-energy cosmic rays with energies beyond 1018 eV. In Earth’s atmosphere such particles form shower of secondary particles. Properties of primary particles like energy, arrival direction and the particle type can be estimated from the shower. High energy particles are very rare therefore the detectors of the Observatory are installed over a huge detection area of 3000 km2 located in the western Mendoza Province, Argentina. 

The distributed computing centre is mostly dedicated to simulation and reconstruction of data produced with the ATLAS detector and for Monte-Carlo simulation of the Belle II detector. The computing resources of SiGNET Tier-2 are 6500 CPU cores and 4.PB of storage space while the throughput of the international link to LHCONE network was 30Gb/s in 2017. General purpose NSC cluster at Jožef Stefan Institute and computing centre of ARNES are transparently included in distributed computing infrastructure within WLCG collaboration and EGI infrastructure. The system enables job submission to Slovenian computing centre and a quick processing of 100 TB data in few hours. 

Detector development is oriented in several directions: silicon monolithic CMS detectors, detectors with few tens of picoseconds timing resolution and diamond detectors for operation in high radiation environments in hadron collider experiments. Another direction is development of detectors for Cherenkov photons for Belle II and high precision timing detectors for medical imaging. Development of detectors for annihilation photons for PET and development of system for multichannel readout of micro-dosimeters are also devoted to applications in medicine.

K7 – Department for Nanostructured Materials

Research in the Department of Nanostructured Materials is focused on the development and study of technologically interesting inorganic materials with specific physical properties arising from structural and chemical phenomena at the nanostructural and atomic level. Our research activities cover structural and functional ceramics, magnetic materials, complex metal alloys, sensors, modelling, minerals, biomedical and healthcare materials, and materials relevant to green energy. The ultimate goal of our research is to gain knowledge that will allow us to tailor the properties of different materials, which will allow us to improve the properties of functional materials and to innovatively design new materials using advanced manufacturing methods.

Video presentation of ”From the Higgs boson to the greatest challenges of modern society” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

Programme section 2.3: Where robots play and miracles happen

E1 – Department of Automatics, Biocybernetics and Robotics

Research within our department combines the fields of robotics (including intelligent control, robot learning, humanoids, exoskeletons, cognitive robotics, and industrial robotics), factories of the future, biomechanics, kinesiology, ergonomics and environmental physiology. By combining engineering and life sciences, we were able to make significant contributions to the development of new methods for robot skill learning, human-robot physical interaction including shared control in exoskeletons, a planetary habitat simulation facility, advanced humanoid and reconfigurable robotic systems, and manikins enabling the evaluation of protective garments for industry and recreation. Our aim is to create robots that are capable of acquiring new knowledge through learning and can collaborate with people in a natural way, which is essential for bringing robots to new application domains.

K1/ŠEK – School of Experimental Chemistry

At the Department we primarily research in the field of fluorine chemistry. Fluorine is one of the most interesting elements of the periodic table, and its compounds are already widely used in everyday life. We also deal with solving ecological and technological issues, as well as with the education and popularization of natural sciences.

The School of Experimental Chemistry, which has been operating within the Department for over 30 years, allows younger generations to perform experiments and discover the properties of different substances through various workshops. With interesting experiments, we want to attract visitors and draw them into the world of chemistry and natural sciences and to stimulate their curiosity.

E8 – Department of Knowledge Technologies

Our work is focused on developing and improving Artificial Intelligence technologies. We collect various types of data to discover hidden patterns and new knowledge using data science methods, and build predictive models based on machine learning methods which are used in a wide range of applications in medicine, agriculture, ecology, mathematics, physics, linguistics and other fields. The technologies we have developed are solving challenges as diverse as fake news and hate speech detection, development of speech-to-text technologies, sustainable management in agriculture, safety management in nuclear power plants, management of Parkinson’s disease, speech-based diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, and even predicting the energy consumption of spacecraft subsystems.

Video presentation of ”Where robots play and miracles happen” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

3. Knowledge, systems, materials, environment

– presentations at Jamova 39, Ljubljana

Programme section 3.1: Are we the smartest?

E9 – Department of Intelligent Systems

The mission of the Department of Intelligent Systems is achieving scientific and technological excellence in the wide area of theoretical and applied computer science. Covering a wide spectrum of artificial intelligence fields, the Department successfully participates in preparing and realizing complex research and applied projects. Evolutionary computation is a research area dealing with computer problem solving based on natural evolution. Programs designed according to these principles are known as evolutionary algorithms and are being successfully applied in optimization, for example, in production scheduling and process parameter tuning.

Web mining makes it possible to extract knowledge from the documents accessible on the Internet. Our research of semantic web is aimed at upgrading current representations of data on the Internet and overcoming the imperfections of automated text categorization. This research successfully builds upon the constructed ontologies, i.e. graphs of semantically related concepts encoded in a computer readable form.

Game playing is a traditional research area in artificial intelligence with a long history. Its impact is significant because it deals not only with game-playing rograms, but also with search algorithms in general, planning, decision support, etc. Intelligent agents and multiagent systems are a more recently developed area. With the rise of the Internet it has gained the ability to analyze and solve complex problems. Distributed and independent agents can cooperate to achieve goals beyond the reach of single agents. Speech synthesis is another field where we are extending the capabilities of computers by enabling them to generate Slovene speech from text.

Educating and guiding young researchers are among the highest priorities of the Department of Intelligent Systems. Students at various levels and postdoctoral researchers are provided with stimulating research environment and advanced equipment, and get the opportunity to collaborate with established experts on challenging tasks.

K8 – Department for Material Synthesis

At our department, we synthesize new useful nanomaterials. Nanoparticles have due to their small size a very large surface-to-volume ratio. Consequently, they have different properties in comparison to bulk materials. Our work includes the synthesis, functionalization, and analysis of mostly magnetic nanoparticles for applications in medicine, technology, and catalysis.

E2 – Department of Systems and Control

Control and optimization of complex systems – Most systems and processes could be well controlled with relatively simple and well known control procedures. However, there is a range of processes which are more difficult to tackle because of their nonlinear dynamics, complex structure and interactions between subsystems, and stochastic behavior. The emphasis of our research is on modeling methods, on control and optimization based on process models, in particular Gaussian processes, on methods for model predictive, nonlinear and adaptive control, as well as on tuning of industrial controllers. The fields of application are industrial processes, control of machines and devices and biological wastewater treatment plants.

Detection and localization of faults in technical systems and processes – Continuing quality control of devices, processes and products has become a necessity. For that purpose, the research field of fault detection and localization is being extensively developed and has a great potential for actual applications. Our research and development encompass the use of mathematical models for fault detection, the design of new algorithms that take into account the modeling error in decision making, and the application of advanced signal processing algorithms. The application areas are industrial processes and rotation engines.

Computer integrated production – Production in modern enterprises requires interconnection and coordination of control activities on different levels, i.e. on physical, production and business level. The integration of different levels is still a key problem. Our research is devoted to the methodology for decision support in the production process based on key performance indicators, to production scheduling and to non-technical (economic, social, organizational and human) aspects of control and IT systems introduction.

Support and implementation technologies for control systems – The prerequisite for successful control applications is also research and development of new and acquisition of existing technologies that enable efficient implementation of control systems. This mainly includes computer aided tools and building blocks. The emphasis of our work is on the development of specially designed computer modules, on the development of software building blocks, on the design of development environment for the application of more complex control algorithms, and on research of methods and tools for efficient development of software for industrial controllers.

Device and product development – The department has a long tradition and many references in the development of various systems and devices. This includes systems for control and supervision of processes that are used in industry, custom designed measuring systems that are used in research, and also high-technology products that are sold on the market. Also in future, this activity will deserve a great attention.

Video presentation of ”Are we the smartest?” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

Programme section 3.2: Life in chips, chips for life

K5 – Electronic Ceramics Department

The development of electronic components aims towards decreasing dimensions, higher efficiency and reliability, increased complexity of electronic components and a lower impact on environment. We can reach these aims by developing the materials with improved properties and by implementing the technologies which yield complex miniature structures and devices. The investigated materials include lead-based perovskites with ferroelectric, relaxor or anti-ferroelectric compositions, environment-friendly lead-free materials based on alkaline and earth-alkaline niobates and tantalates with ferroelectric, relaxor or anti-ferroelectric compositions, conducting materials based on complex perovskites and materials for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC). The phase equilibria studies are a constituent part of our research. We work on the synthesis of (nano) particles with complex chemical composition, chemical solution deposition of thin films and thick film processing.

The multifunctionality can be reached by integrating different materials into structures with a suitable geometry (2D and 3D structures). Both physical and chemical interactions of materials influence functional properties of the devices, therefore we need to enhance compatibility, diminish possible reactions between constituent materials, and to understand the difference between layered structures and bulk materials. We investigate the elements and technologies for processing of thick-film pressure sensors and ceramic electromechanical structures (Ceramic MEMS).


E6 – Department of Communication Systems

      • Telecommunication systems and networks
      • Communication protocols, services and applications
      • Software tools for testing, modelling and simulation of communication systems
      • Parallel and distributed systems
      • Formal methods for the modelling, analysis and synthesis of discrete systems
      • Computer modelling and simulations in medicine
      • Measurements and processing of bio-signals
      • Wireless sensor networks
      • Modular platform VESNA for Wireless sensor networks deployment

F6 – Department of Gaseous Electronics

      • Science of gases and gaseous discharges
      • Plasma nanoscience
      • Processing and synthesis of nanomaterials
      • Plasma chemistry
      • Plasma electrochemistry and catalysis
      • Plasma biomedicine and biotechnology
      • Gas sensors
      • Research on field emission in nanostructured materials
      • Optoelectronics
      • Vacuum science
      • Design of vacuum systems
      • Vacuum thermal insulation

Video presentation of ”Life in chips, chips for life” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

Programme section 3.3: The junction of natural and digital

O2 – Department of Environmental Sciences

The multidisciplinary research of the Department of Environmental Sciences focuses on the combination of physical, chemical and biological processes that influence the environment, society and human activities. Therefore, the work is based on three main areas: development, optimisation and validation of analytical methods, study of geochemical processes that influence cycling and transformations of substances and elements, and environmental impact assessment which evaluates the risk that human activities present for human health and for the environment.

E3 – Department for Artificial Intelligence

The department conducts research and development in the field of information technologies, focusing on artificial intelligence. They collaborate with domestic and foreign academic organizations and companies to develop solutions that are then applied across various fields, including the economy, finance, education, and medicine. Furthermore, the department prioritizes education on the ethical and moral use of artificial intelligence, actively engaging in various discussions.

E7 – Computer Systems Department

The research in high-level synthesis is focused on hardware implementation and optimization of algorithms in different applications, such as cryptography, 3D-data compression, intelligent sensors, etc. Our expertly qualified members give lectures and participate as mentors at Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School in the areas of processor architectures, embedded systems, and design and test.

In our research we frequently meet with hard combinatorial and numerical problems in various domains of theoretical interest and practical applications. For their solutions we apply bio-inspired algorithms including genetic algorithms, neural networks and ant-colony optimization. These methods have been successfully applied to real-world problems, such as minimization of the power losses of a universal electro-motor, optimization of an electro-motor casing with reduced production costs, optimization of the coolant flow settings for the continuous casting of steel, and dietary menu planning.



Video presentation of ”The junction of natural and digital” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

4. Energy

– presentations at the Reactor Center (Podgorica pri Ljubljani)

Programme section 4.1: Energy and nuclear technology

Milan Čopič Nuclear Training Centre (ICJT) is called Izobraževalni Center za Jedrsko Tehnologijo or ICJT in Slovenian language. It is part of the Jožef Stefan Institute, the leading research institution in Slovenia. The main activities of the ICJT are training of future nuclear professionals and informing general public about nuclear technologies. The vision of the IJCT is to become a reliable and a high quality source of knowledge about nuclear technologies.

Video presentation of ”Nuclear technology” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

Programme section 4.2: Tour of the nuclear reactor

Reactor Physics Division is situated at Reactor Centre Podgorica. Research is mainly directed into modelling and study of neutron transport and neutron – induced reactions. We also work on charged particles dosimetry and plasma physics.

Video presentation of ”Nuclear technology” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

Programme section 4.3: R4 – Reactor Engineering Division and O2 – Department of Environmental Sciences

The Department for Reactor Engineering focuses on research, education, consulting and expertise in the field of nuclear engineering and nuclear safety of fission reactors (generations 2, 3 and 4) and fusion reactors. The research carried out by the Department belongs to the broader field of nuclear technology and safety. Interdisciplinary research connects thermohydraulic, strength and safety analyzes and experimental results of THELMA’s own laboratory.

The multidisciplinary research of the Department of Environmental Sciences focuses on the combination of physical, chemical and biological processes that influence the environment, man and human activities. Therefore, the work is based on three main areas: development, optimisation and validation of analytical methods, study of geochemical processes that influence cycling and transformations of substances and elements, and environmental impact assessment which evaluates the risk that human activities present for human health and for the environment.

Video presentation of ”Nuclear technology” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

Programme section 4.4: F2 – Department of Low and Medium Energy Physics: Accelerator

The tandem ion accelerator “Tandetron” at the department of low and medium energy physics (F2) is the only research accelerator in the country. Acceleration of ions takes place electrostatically in a direct electric field, which is provided by a rectifier with a voltage of up to 2 MV (two million volts). The accelerator is one of the most technologically advanced electrostatic accelerators in the world. We perform research in the field of atomic and nuclear physics and we apply the acquired knowledge at various fields, including materials research, fusion, biology, energy storage, medicine, pharmacology, environment and archaeometry.

Video presentation of ”Nuclear technology” from the virtual Open day 2021 (in Slovenian language)

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