Dear colleagues and nanoscience enthusiasts,

I hope you had a relaxed and enjoyable summer and a good start to the new academic year.

Here at the University of Basel we are looking
forward to meeting the new students starting in mid-September. This year, we have 24 registrations for the nanosciences degree program. As I will once again be teaching Physics I alongside Andreas Baumgartner, I will have the opportunity to meet the new students right away, and see that they find their feet and adjust to the routines of university life.

During the holidays, members of the SNI and the Department of Physics were treated to an impressive display of the scientific and research accomplishments that some university entrants already have under their belts. High school students Alex Korocencev and Felix Sewing presented their magnetically levitated (maglev) train, for which they were awarded the “Jugend forscht” (Young Researchers) prize in the Technology category. I was deeply impressed by the result, as well as the professionalism and perseverance of the two young researchers, one of whom is about to begin his physics degree here at the University of Basel. You can find out more about the project in this issue of SNI INSight and by watching the short video featuring Alex and Felix.

Another highlight of this issue is our report on the outstanding master’s thesis of a former student of the nanoscience program: Sebastian Scherb’s work on a novel method for the deposition of individual complex molecules on surfaces has been distinguished with this year’s prize for best master’s thesis.

We also present three more Nano Argovia projects running in 2019. Each year, the Nano Argovia program makes an important contribution to technology transfer between universities and local industry. Sometimes it takes a while for the Nano Argovia projects to bear fruit, but in this issue of SNI INSight we present not one but two success stories with roots in the Nano Argovia program: early this year, we saw the formation of the company ELDICO Scientific, which plans to bring an electron diffractometer to market. A crucial role in the emergence of ELDICO Scientific was played by the Nano Argovia project A3EDPI.

Meanwhile, the project Atolys has given rise to a high-caliber publication in the Journal Applied Physics Letters. For this project, teams led by Thomas Jung and Stefan Gödecker joined forces with the company ABB to study high-performance semiconductor materials made from silicon carbide (SiC). Silicon carbide potentially offers numerous key advantages compared to silicon, and would significantly enhance the energy efficiency of devices using it, but there are several hurdles that have yet to be overcome, as the team showed.

Another initiative devoted to technology transfer is ANAXAM – the Aargau Technology Transfer Center for Advanced Manufacturing – in which the SNI is involved. In early summer, the association supporting ANAXAM was established, with an information event for the representatives of companies to find out more about the project.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue of SNI INSight, and look forward to seeing many of you at our Annual Meeting in Lenzerheide.

Kind regards,

Christian Schönenberger

Prof. Dr. Christian Schönenberger, SNI director