In a recent ACS Nano publication, Alberto Leonardi proposes an etching synthesis method for controlling the shape of core-shell nanocrystals:

“The application of nanocrystals as heterogeneous catalysts and plasmonic nanoparticles requires fine control of their shape and chemical composition. A promising idea to achieve synergistic effects is to combine two distinct chemical and/or physical functionalities in bimetallic core@shell nanocrystals. Although techniques for the synthesis of single-component nanocrystals with spherical or anisotropic shape are well-established, new methods are sought to tailor multicomponent nanocrystals. Here, we probe etching in a controlled redox environment as a synthesis technique for multicomponent nanocrystals. Our Monte Carlo computer simulations demonstrate the appearance of characteristic non-equilibrium intermediate microstructures that are further thermodynamically tested and analyzed with molecular dynamics. Convex platelet, concave polyhedron, pod, cage, and strutted-cage shapes are obtained at room temperature with fully coherent structure exposing crystallographic facets and chemical elements along distinct particle crystallographic directions. We observe that structural and dynamic properties are markedly modified compared to the untreated compact nanocrystal.”

Read about it here:

Particle Shape Control via Etching of Core-Shell Nanocrystals
A. Leonardi, M. Engel
ACS Nano 12, 9186-9195 (2018)

Artistic visualization of core-shell nanocrystal etching. Image credit: Alberto Leonardi.

The MSS Institute organized a trip to Fränkische Schweiz that consisted of a canoe/kayak ride down the river Wiesent from Wiesental and a short hike up the hill where we had a beautiful view and lunch under a big Tilia tree.

We all arrived back at the rental station without getting too (but still a little bit) wet.

View from Gasthaus zum Pfaffenstein in Moritz.

Michael Engel presented the opening lecture at the ICMS conference “Quasicrystals: pattern formation and aperiodic order” in Edinburgh. This conference brought together four different research communities to advance the understanding of quasicrystals and aperiodic order: (i) quasicrystals in materials science, (ii) quasicrystals in soft matter, (iii) quasicrystals in partial differential equations and (iv) quasicrystals in aperiodic tilings.

Nils Thuerey, Miriam Mehl and Michael Engel are offering again this fall a student course at Ferienakademie in the Italian Alps. The topic is Accelerating Physics Simulations with Deep Learning. The course is open to students at FAU Erlangen, TU Munich and U Stuttgart and will be a combination of presentations given by the participants and project-based team work. Read more our plans here.

Prerequisites for this course are basic programming skills, a sympathy for numerics and stochastics and the ability to work in a team on a project involving not only theory but also real hands-on coding (C/C++, Python, and similar). Hurry up! Applications are open a few more days until May 2, 2018.

Importantly, there is not only time for science but also time for wonderful hiking around Sarntal, Tyrol. Below is a picture from last year’s course:

Praveen Bommineni joined the group as a postdoctoral researcher. He will be working on simulations to resolve structure formation processes in mesoscale systems. Welcome!

Marco Klement represented the group at the annual meeting of the German Physical Society (DPG) held this year in Berlin. He presented about “Efficient Simulation of Anisotropic Particles”. The 2018 meeting was the largest physics meeting ever to be organized in Europe, with 6420 attending.

A publication with experiments by Christian Scholz, then a postdoc at MSS and now at Universität Düsseldorf, appeared in Nature Communications:

“Biological organisms and artificial active particles self-organize into swarms and patterns. Open questions concern the design of emergent phenomena by choosing appropriate forms of activity and particle interactions. A particularly simple and versatile system are 3D-printed robots on a vibrating table that can perform self-propelled and self-spinning motion. Here we study a mixture of minimalistic clockwise and counter-clockwise rotating robots, called rotors. Our experiments show that rotors move collectively and exhibit super-diffusive interfacial motion and phase separate via spinodal decomposition. On long time scales, confinement favors symmetric demixing patterns. By mapping rotor motion on a Langevin equation with a constant driving torque and by comparison with computer simulations, we demonstrate that our macroscopic system is a form of active soft matter.”

Read about it here:

Rotating Robots Move Collectively and Self-Organize
C. Scholz, M. Engel, T. Pöschel
Nature Communications 9, 931 (2018)

Press coverage pro-physik.de (in German):
Roboter mit Fraktionszwang

Michael Engel provided an overview talk about the theory and simulation of quasicrystals at the workshop of the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 762: Functionality of Oxide Interfaces at Benedictine Abbey of Frauenwörth. The Benedictine abbey of Frauenwörth was founded by the Duke of Bavaria Tassilo III around 772 AD.

The island Frauenchiemsee with the abbey Frauenwörth from the shore of Chiemsee. It was quite cold (-10C) and crystallization at the liquid-air interface was observed (coincidentally a topic of the scientific talk).

Alberto Leonardi, Chrameh Mbah and Michael Engel present their recent research results at two conferences. The International Congress Engineering of Advanced Materials (ICEAM) held 10-12 Oct 2017 was the concluding event of the EAM Excellence Cluster and gathers national and international researchers in the field. The Particle-Based Materials Symposium (PBM) on 9-10 Nov 2017 at the Leibnitz Institute for New Materials in Saarbrücken brings together expertise from all over Germany.

Some pictures from this year’s group hike and visit to the beer cellar near Weilersbach on the border of the Franconian Switzerland near Erlangen.

On top of the Retterner Kanzel.

Relaxing after the hike at the Reifenberger beer cellar.