Which research topics are you focused on in your working group?
The overall research focus of my group lies on physicochemical material properties in condensed matter, with the focus on network materials. Motivated by our fascination for structural chemistry, we investigate properties of scientific and technological relevance such as barocalorics, ferroelectrics and negative thermal expansion behaviour to name just a few. Long-term research goal is to go away from trial-error experimentation, turning towards the targeted material design. This approach involves the use of computational resources such custom-made computer programs and database searches, which have become an integral part of our research efforts.
How is the schedule and content of a research internship designed at your working group?
All research lab courses are motivated by a clear scientific question that is feasible to be investigated within a 4-6 week project. These include both, experimental projects and questions that can be answered computationally by writing custom-made codes.
Which synthetical methods are used for the respective topics?
These vary from project to project and can be adjusted depending on specific interests and skills of the research students. Typical projects are balanced between synthesis and analytics such as powder and single crystal X-ray diffraction, thermogravimetric experiments, differential scanning calorimetry and so on.
Is a progress/final talk about the research internship planned?
Yes, after the final report has been submitted, a 10-15 min presentation is the final step of a research lab course. This presentation is not a part of the final grade rather an opportunity to practice presentation skills in an authentic environment.
With which working groups are overlapping topics possible?
We work in close collaboration with the Chair of Inorganic and Metalorganic Chemistry (Prof. R. A. Fischer), where we complement each other’s research tools. Other collaborations involve works with Prof. T. Nilges from Chemistry and Prof. I. Sharp from Physics.
How and in what way can one apply for a research internship at your working group?
Stop by and speak to us! Either via e-mail or in the labs (CRC 4039) / office areas. We are always happy to welcome motivated research students that contribute to the research and flair in the group. Also, I would like to motivate everybody, who is unsure about a topic, to talk to us – in a 15 min discussion common interests can be evaluated very quickly.
What kind of previous knowledge is required for a research internship at your working group?
This surely depends on the project but a strong interest in structural chemistry, and in the question of how material structure determines macroscopic material properties, is certainly of advantage. In general, I’d say that an important requirement is motivation and interest for the topic of the project. If this is given, skills as such will be taught on the fly. For projects that focus on computational chemistry, python-coding experience is of large advantage.
Can a research intership be expanded to a master’s thesis?
Certainly, yes. I tend to say that this is one of the best potential outcomes of a research lab course.
How much cake does your chair expect?
We prefer muffins.
Is it an advantage of small working groups, that there is more cake for everyone?
Well, although we are a small working group, our office area is associated to the Chair of Inorganic and Metalorganic Chemistry. In any case, over the past three years there never has been a cake or cupcake shortage, supply is guaranteed!