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Johan Nordstrand

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About me

I have a PhD in Applied Physics at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. My specialization is in desalination by capacitive deionization (CDI).

Check out this introduction to the research topic:

My background

I have a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics and a master’s degree in Nanophysics from KTH. Because this has taught me about both nanophysics, mathematics, and machine learning, my current research as a doctoral student seeks to introduce new simulations methods to the nanotechnology-based CDI system.

Before my doctoral studies, I participated in research internships in various countries around the world such as South Korea, Sweden, and China. The research work spanned topics such as quantum-chemistry simulations, simulating nanowire welding, and experimental work with gold nanoparticles. During my high-school years, I competed for the Swedish national team in the international physics Olympiad (IPhO), held that year in Kazakhstan. I also reached the national finals of the programming Olympiad.

In 2019, Sweden awarded me the honor of representing the country at the Stockholm International Youth Science seminar (SIYSS), to present my research work during the Nobel week. In 2021, I was also selected as a prominent researcher under the age of 35 to attend the Global Youth Science Seminar (GYSS) in Singapore. Below follow some details about the research.

Water Desalination by Capacitive Deionization

The UN estimates that more than 2 billion people are living in water-scarce areas. Because of the rising world population and changing climate, the global demands for drinkable water will continue to increase. CDI is an emerging desalination technology that uses nano-porous electrodes to remove salt from water via electric forces. The technology is especially well-suited for low-power decentralized water purification.

Check out the video below to see the desalination process in action. During the operation, a pump pushes the water through the cell and the connected power supply induces electric forces that collect the salt inside the electrodes.

Current Research and Funding

Vetenskapsrådet is graciously funding my doctoral studies which aim at further developing theory that can help in understanding, predicting, and optimizing the performance of CDI devices. Using the newly derived methods we can peek inside the devices and predict how they will function depending on the operational conditions.

Recently, the J. Gust. Richert Foundation funded a project for which I was the lead applicant. This project seeks to further adapt the theory in CDI to solve real-world problems with upscaled devices and water containing multiple ionic species. Water scarcity is a serious global issue, and with this continued work in CDI, the Functional Nanomaterial (FNM) group wants to be a part of the worldwide effort of bringing fresh and affordable water to mankind.