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Nanochemistry for Physicists
General evaluation of the winterschool
The winterschool “Nanochemistry for Physicists” has made a contribution in bridging the gap in knowledge and jargon between chemistry and physics.
Around 27 PhD students and Master students gathered in Leiden for five days of lectures and interaction. The participants had in common that they perform research in a physics-based group with much input from chemistry. Hence, they had a genuine interest in learning more about basic and advanced chemistry, which helped tremendously for the liveliness of the school. Four lecturers gave an excellent overview of a part of chemistry (see below). In addition, the participants themselves contributed by presenting short talks as well as posters on their own research.
The atmosphere was very positive and there was lots of interaction between lecturers and participants, both formally and informally. The guided tour and dinner at the Boerhaave museum were highly appreciated. All in all, we feel that the workshop has been very useful and inspiring to the participants and also to the organizers. It has helped to further build out nanoscience community in the Netherlands and Europe. We are thankful for the great facilities and service the Lorentz Center offered.
For the lectures, the participants were asked beforehand to study introductory material. Vice versa, they were given a chance to ask burning questions. This stimulated an interactive winterschool. We had four excellent teachers whose lectures and openness to questions were generally appreciated, as came out of a limited poll, taken after the workshop (only involving Delft/Leiden PhD students).
1) Dr. Sylvestre Bonnet (Leiden): He taught two hours about "inorganic chemistry for physicists" and two hours about "molecular magnetism and spin cross-over”.
2) Prof. Daniël van Maekelbergh (Utrecht): He taught four hours on "Bottom-up approaches to low-dimensional semiconductors". Subjects included: Introduction, Overview of chemical synthesis methods, Nanocrystal Self-assembly, spectroscopy, Electrochemical gating. The last hour was used for an exercise
3) Prof. Kees Hummelen (Groningen): He taught four hours on “Concepts in organic chemistry”. Subjects included: Introduction, conjugation, cross conjugation, resonant structures, solitons, radicals. Again the last hour was used for an exercise.
4) Prof. Andrea Cornia (Modena): He taught four hours about “Chemical techniques and methods”. Subjects included were: chemical crystallography, X-ray diffraction, indexing a single crystal for angle-resolved measurements, powder diffraction patterns. One hour was dedicated to an exercise on crystal structure solution and refinement for Mn12 from real data. Finally, an hour was used to introduce single-molecule and single-chain magnets and how they are characterized from both structural, magnetic and spectroscopic data (EPR, NMR).
We should notice that it is very difficult to give a good overview of (nano)chemistry in one week. Our choice for these four subjects and lecturers is hence a limited projection only. Since these subjects were taught with great care, we feel that much has been picked up by the participants. A possible follow-up course may focus on other chemical subjects.
In total, there were around 27 participants of which 8 were female. Most of the people were from the Netherlands (though often not of Dutch nationality), but there were also participants from Italy and Germany. As mentioned the participants also contributed themselves via short talk and posters.
Sense Jan van der Molen (Leiden, Netherlands)
Herre van der Zant (Delft, Netherlands)