Dear colleagues,

I hope that you remain in good health and have coped well with the last few weeks. By now, our day-to-day lives have almost taken on a new routine. We work as effectively as we can from home, hold regular online meetings and generally try to make the most of the situation. No one knows exactly where we go from here, but it will probably require flexibility as we seek to adapt to a whole host of new challenges.

It is now clear that we will be postponing the Swiss NanoConvention, which was due to be held in Basel in July 2020. This will now be held from 17–18 June, 2021. We will still be awarding the prize for an outstanding publication based on a doctoral dissertation from the past year, although the award ceremony will not take place until the SNC 2021.

In this issue of SNI INSight, we would also like to update you on a number of other SNI activities – despite the problems and difficulties we are currently facing.

The new Nano Argovia projects that launched in January 2020 should actually be in full swing by now, but this is another area where some things have been put on hold. We will, nevertheless, take a look at the objectives that the project teams have set themselves in these five new applied research projects.

With the call for new projects at the SNI PhD School currently open, applicants still have until 31 May to submit innovative project proposals.

Martino Poggio is also pursuing some ambitious goals with a team of international scientists who were recently given the go-ahead for a new project as part of the European Horizon 2020 program. Spanning four different research institutions, the team plans to use focused ion beam (FIB) technology to manufacture exceptionally sensitive and accurate probes for scanning probe microscopy that are also suitable for examining superconducting materials.

With school visits, TecDays, and other activities off the cards for the time being, another project has spontaneously emerged at the SNI: A few weeks ago, our outreach and communication team began recording short videos about simple experiments and posting them online with a view to helping parents and children structure their time at home together. All of the experiments can be carried out using common household materials and encourage children to use their powers of observation and reflection. Most importantly, they’re also great fun!

I hope you find some inspiration in this issue of SNI INSight and wish you continued patience and good health. I for one am very much looking forward to seeing you all in person some time again soon.

Kind regards,

Christian Schönenberger, SNI Director