Day Chair


Maxim S. Pchenitchnikov

Ultrafast time resolved spectroscopy

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Maxim S. Pchenitchnikov obtained his PhD from Moscow State University in 1987. In 1992, he moved to the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, as a postdoctoral fellow, to join the staff in 1996, first at the department of chemistry and since 2006 at the department of physics. In the early 90s, he began to design experiments and theoretical description of femtosecond spectroscopy on liquid state dynamics. He with co-workers was the first to report time-gated and heterodyne-detected photon echoes from solutions. The technical aspects of this work culminated in 1998 with the Guinness Book of World Records certificate awarded for “The shortest flashes of light produced and measured, lasted for 4.5 femtosecond”. Later, his research was focused on hydrogen-bond dynamics in liquids and at (bio)interfaces. He was amongst the first to report infrared photon echoes from liquid and nanoconfined water. His current research interests cover a wide range of ultrafast phenomena in organic materials at nanoscopic lengths and femtosecond time scales, with focus on exciton and charge dynamics in energy-related materials.
Maxim Pshenichnikov organized and co-chaired a number of international meetings in the fields of spectroscopy, organic electronics and excitonics. He is a member of Optical Society of America, American Chemical Society, and American Materials Research Society. He is also a recipient of a prestigious “Teacher of the year” award in 2014 and 2016.

Invited Speaker


Albert van den Berg

Lab on a chip BIOS group

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Albert van den Berg received his MSc in applied physics in 1983, and his PhD in 1988 both at the University of Twente, the Netherlands. From 1988-1993 he worked in Neuchatel, Switzerland, at the CSEM and the University (IMT) on miniaturized chemical sensors. In 1998 he was appointed as part-time professor “Biochemical Analysis Systems”, and later in 2000 as full professor on Miniaturized Systems for (Bio)Chemical Analysis in the faculty of Electrical Engineering and part of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology. In 1994 he initiated together with Prof. Bergveld the international MicroTAS conference series. He published over 400 peer reviewed publications (H=54 WoS, H=70 Google Scholar) a.o. in Science, Nature, PNAS, NanoLetters etc. He received several honors and awards such as Simon Stevin (2002), two ERC Advanced (2008, 2015) and three ERC Proof of Concept (2011, 2013, 2016) grants, Simon Stevin award (engineering sciences), Spinoza prize (2009), Distinguished University Professor (Twente, 2010), Distinguished Professor (South China Normal University SNCU, 2012) and board member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW) (2011-2016). In 2014 he was appointed scientific director of the MIRA institute for Biomedical Engineering. In 2017 he became co-PI of the Max Planck – University of Twente Center for Complex Fluid Dynamics.


Wetting of gallium

Tata Steel applies zinc on steel strips for corrosion protection. The R&D department continuously searches alternative processes and improvements to apply zinc to the steel strip. One new method is developed with the aim to obtain a much higher deposition rate (higher line speed). To research the behavior of zinc in this respect, gallium is used. Gallium has about the same relevant properties as zinc, but has a melting temperature of only 29.7°C, which makes it very suitable for safe research. The goal of my project is to create an everlasting wetting layer on a substrate in order to make it wettable to oxide-free gallium without dissolving into the liquid gallium at 40 ̊C.

Marcel Eleveld was born in Voorburg, the Netherlands, in 1993. He did bachelor studies in Chemistry of Life and Chemical Engineering at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, with a thesis on sustaining distributions of self-replicating molecules in flow conditions (Sijbren Otto) and converting organic waste streams into synthesis gas for energy production (Michel Boesten). His main passions are special beers, making cocktails and coffee (barista) and collecting vinyl records.


Nanoindentation measurements on healthy and cancerous cells

To better understand human diseases and cells themselves, different technologies are used to investigate the properties of cells. A relatively new technique in biophysics is the use of the atomic force microscope (AFM) to probe the mechanical properties of cells. By performing nanoindentation measurements different mechanical properties (elasticity and viscous behaviors) of cells can be retrieved. These properties have been linked to cell structures. Recent studies have shown that these properties may be used as cancer diagnosis tool.

Jan Hidding was born in Groningen, the Netherland, in 1994. He did his bachelor in Physics with a focus on Nanoscience at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, with a project on inducing ferromagnetism in graphene (Bart van Wees). His passions are to listen and make music, such as piano and guitar.


Study of recombination processes in perovskite solar cells

Hybrid perovskites show interesting applications for light harvesting systems and make good solar cells, with efficiencies of over 20%. However, the performance of these devices is limited by various recombination processes. These processes determine the properties and quality of the solar cells, therefore it is important to understand the nature of these recombination processes. We investigated the ideality factor as an indicator of the dominant recombination processes in the solar cells. Simulations were performed for different light sources and intensities and were related to experimental results for the system of interest. With the results from the simulations we hope to gain further insights in the recombination processes going on in hybrid perovskite solar cells so suggestions for improvements could be made, leading to more efficient devices.

Sanne Berg was born in Amersfoort, the Netherlands in 1994. She did a bachelor in Chemistry at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, with a thesis project on the synthesis, structure, and properties of copper-oxo-selenides (Graeme Blake). Her main passions are cooking, baking, and gaming.


VSParticles talk

Spark ablation is a gas phase process for the continuous production of very small particles. The inputs of the process are a conductive feedstock (e.g. Ag or Cu rod), electricity, and a carrier gas. The output is a highly concentrated aerosol of pure (metal) nanoparticles suspended in a clean gas at low temperature (50°C). With inert carrier gases such as Ar and N2, pure metal nanoparticles are produced with surfaces free from (organic) contaminants. Elemental mixtures are also possible, both for alloying and non-alloying materials. The produced nanoparticles from the VSParticle generator can be directly incorporated into the next process step or applied in a product by, for example, impaction, electrostatic precipitation or filtering. This way the unique physical properties of the nanoparticles are directly available in the product. The carrier gas can simply be recycled by passing it through a filter and used again, minimising the environmental impact of the process.

VSParticle is a spin-off company from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and develops spark ablation nanoparticle generators. The main focus is on particles which are 0-20 nm in size which are synthesized in the gas phase and can be used for a wide variety of applications.


Hybrids of graphene with oxides

Functional interfaces between graphene and complex oxides were fabricated into devices to study spin transport across them. Graphene, a one atom thick honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms, possesses high carrier mobilities and is predicted to have a long spin relaxation length. However, extrinsic factors chiefly related to the surface chemistry of the substrate limit such observations. In this project, we study the role of such factors to spin and charge transport in graphene by functionalizing it on different substrates such as lattice matched two-dimensional hexagonal boron nitride and complex oxides with large lattice mismatch with graphene. We find distinct differences in charge transport characteristics with unusual hysteresis behavior for graphene on the complex oxide substrate. The manipulation of the surface dipoles in such substrates, due to an external gate bias, is found to influence the spin transport properties in graphene.

Elisabeth Duijnstee was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1994. She did a bachelor in Physics at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen with a thesis on roughness effects of organic thin films (Jan A. Koster). Her main passions are travelling, drawing and music.


3D-printed macroscopic models of chemical self-replicators

Chemical self-replicators based on thiols are promising systems in order to achieve, on a synthetic level, “life in the lab”. One of the key factors of life is evolution, mediated by mutations. These can be modelled with not-precisely-matching chemical interactions. However, it is not trivial to analyse with chemical characterization methods the frequency and distribution of them. A macroscopic model able to give insights about the preferential allocation of errors is of crucial importance. In my project, I designed a model based on 3D-printed building blocks embedding Nd magnets, to simulate the chemical self-assembly and to answer questions at the base of life.

Michele Merelli was born in Bergamo, Italy, in 1994. He did his bachelor degree in Materials and Nanotechnology Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, with a thesis project on organic nanoparticles for biological applications (Guglielmo Lanzani and Maria R. Antognazza). His main passions are cycling, photography, writing and, of course, preparing pizza.


Enhanced thermoelectric materials for waste heat recovery

Thermoelectric (TE) materials are of interest for the conversion of waste heat to electrical power and in solid-state cooling systems. However, the efficiency of current TE devices is not good enough to be cost effective for widespread commercial applications and improvements in the TE properties of basic materials are necessary. Some of the best performing thermoelectrics are derived from IV-VI semiconductors, in particular the alloy system (GeTe)0.85(AgSbTe2)0.15 (TAGS-85). By incorporating small concentrations of magnetic transition metal or rare-earth elements remarkably improved thermoelectric properties can be realised. During my project, I focused on the effects of doping TAGS-85 with different amounts of Mn. I carried out various measurements to characterise chemical, thermoelectric, physical and magnetic properties.

Anouk was born in Stavanger, Norway, in 1995 and is Dutch, but grew up in the Middle East.
She did her bachelor’s degree in Physics at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, with a thesis on spintronics (Tamalika Banerjee). Her passions are cooking and sports.


Exciton diffusion in self-assembled molecular aggregates

Inspired by the success of natural photosynthetic complexes, self-assembled molecular aggregates have garnered considerable interest as promising candidates for artificial light-harvesting systems. Specifically, in aqueous solution the cyanine dye C8S3 autonomously assembles into highly uniform nanotubes of ~ 15 nm diameter and μm’s lengths. The current project aims for combined spectroscopy/microscopy investigation of the nanoconfinement effect in the self-assembled nanotubes. The optical microscopy with diffraction-limited spatial resolution is used to characterize the size distribution of the nanotubes and record their fluorescence spectra. The main focus of the project is on the fluorescence signature of the single nanotubes.

Sonya Kosar was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, in 1994. She obtained her bachelor degree in Physics at the Chernivtsi National University, with a thesis on water splitting, mainly on preparation of WO3/BiVO4– based photoelectrochemical cells (Yaroslav M. Struk). Her main hobbies are travelling and listening to classical music.


Self-replicating peptide nucleic acids

The small peptides can organize themselves into rings and subsequently form stacks. Each stack can grow from the end and after reaching a certain length can be broken by mechanical agitation into smaller stacks. The processes lead to self-replicating molecules-molecules that can make copies of themselves. We extend these principles and combing peptides and nucleobases into one building block to study the role of the nucleobases and amino acids on the replication process and the behavior of the mixtures of building blocks

Xiangyang Wei was born in Baoji, China, in 1994. He did a bachelor in Material Chemistry at University of Science and Technology of China, with a thesis in the synthesis of MoS2 from different Mo sources and their performance in hydrogen evolution reaction. His main passions are museums and traveling


Interface engineering and optimization of electron transporting layer and the perovskite layer

One of the solutions for sustainable energy is the harvesting of the sunlight using solar cells. Besides using silicon to produce solar cells, a lot of new different materials such as hybrid perovskites have shown promising results. The hybrid perovskites were chosen as the active material because they have high absorption coefficient and are solution processable. However, most of the fabrication procedures require high temperature and long annealing times for the electron transport layer (ETL), so we focus on deriving a solution processable ETL with low temperature annealing which will yield a device with high power conversion efficiency (PCE).

Jane Kardula was born in Skopje, Macedonia, in 1991. He got the bachelor in Applied Chemistry at Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, with a thesis on catalytic epoxidation using phase transfer catalysts (Jane Bogdanov). He also worked as laboratory teaching assistant, process support engineer and research analyst in a R&D pharmaceutical center. His passions are rollerblading and martial arts; he also likes a good cup of coffee.


Computational study of defects in silicium-carbide

Similar to NV center in diamond, the color center in SiC is thought to be the potential q-bit. So called color center which is Si-C divacancy with an interstitial Mo atom causes localized state with sophisticated spin situation. What are the spin states of the ground and excited state? What are the possible transitions in this system? DFT method is used to approach these questions with simplified systems.

Feng Xuanbo was born in Xinxiang, China, in 1993. He got B.Sc. in Physics at Nanjing University on the topic: photoluminescence of Transition metal dichalcogenide monolayers. He spent most of his life on reading, sometimes listening.


Thin films of quantum dots self-assembled at air-liquid interface

Colloidal quantum dots have observed increased interest in past years, although their use in optoelectronic devices still remains negligible. To overcome this trend, reproducible big-scale device preparation techniques have to be developed. Recently a method employing self-assembly at air-liquid interface, followed by in situ ligand exchange, has been proposed. In current project, self-assembly of PbS and PbSe quantum dots using mentioned method was investigated, allowing to examine influence of different factors on quality of the obtained thin films.

Bartosz Matysiak was born in Grójec, Poland, in 1994 . He obtained his bachelor degree in Chemistry from the University of Warsaw, with a thesis on self-assembly of noble metal nanoparticles mediated by liquid crystalline compounds (Józef Mieczkowski). He also spent 3 months working on antiparallel dynamic covalent chemistries in group at University of Groningen (Sijbren Otto). His main research interests are complex molecular networks and dissipative systems.

Labs, cells and organs on a chip

The recent rapid developments in bionanotech and micro/nanofluidic technologies has enabled the realization of miniaturized laboratories. These Labs-on-a-Chip will play an important role in future medicine, both in point-of-care devices for drug or biomarker monitoring, as well as in early diagnostic devices. We developed a pre-filled ready-to-use capillary electrophoresis platform for measuring ions in blood. It is used to monitor lithium in finger-prick blood of manic-depressive patients, but can also be used for measuring calcium in blood for prevention of milk fever, or for measuring creatinine in blood or sodium in urine for early detection of ESRD. Microfluidics can also be exploited to manipulate and experiment with cells on chip. We have developed a microsystem for sperm analysis and selection for artificial insemination, where we can electrically detect and sort healthy sperm cells. Using microdevices we have been able to electroporate and transfect genes into individual cells, and a microdroplet platform was used for encapsulation of single cells in microdroplets, ordering of these microdroplets and 1:1 fusion of these droplets to form hybridomas. Apart from diagnostic and cell manipulation devices, microfluidic devices are increasingly used to realise advanced disease and organ-models, as illustrated by the blood-brain barrier chip and a blood vessel on a chip to study atherosclerosis. These Organs on Chip may lead to more rapid and cheaper drug development, personalised medicine and improved disease models, while minimizing or even eliminating animal testing (3R principle).