Our lab will participate again at this year’s long night of science (open door to the university).

Visit us on south campus this Saturday, May 21 from 18h to 24h and learn about other activities at: https://nacht-der-wissenschaften.de/

At the IZNF building, Cauerstrasse 3 in Erlangen visitors can perform interactive simulations or learn about our research.
Simulations can be performed on stationary computers, iPads, or on your own smartphone.

Thanks to Navid, Federico, and Nydia for javascript/html5 coding and the design of the demos!

Check out the simulation tool here:
Interactive Particle Simulations for LN ’22

We* are coordinating a program at the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara in the period Mar 27, 2023 — May 19, 2023 on the topic nanoparticle assemblies. Applications can still be entered here:

Nanoparticle Assemblies: A New Form of Matter with Classical Structure and Quantum Function

*Coordinators: Michael Engel, Laura Na Liu, Monica Olvera de la Cruz, Eran Rabani, and Alex Travesset

Materials whose elementary building blocks are nanoparticles with dimensions between a few and hundred nanometers, such as nanocrystals and colloids, instead of atoms or molecules, provide a new form of matter, with many properties, both in structure and function, that are not achievable with traditional materials. This raises a number of new fundamental questions such as:

  • What is the minimal physical description at the nanoscale?
  • How to discover new assemblies?
  • What are the effects or properties for these new materials and the characterization of equilibrium and metastability?

The program will bring together scientists from diverse communities: physicists, chemists and material scientists in an effort to address the emerging fundamental questions and long-term prospects of this young field. It will develop collaborative efforts in the areas of programmable assembly, structure prediction, inverse methods, electronic properties and new functional materials, with the goal of becoming a reference for the exciting future ahead.

On January 15, 2022 at 04:15h UTC (05:15h Berlin time CET), an M 5.8 volcanic eruption occurred on Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai, an uninhabited volcanic island of the Tongan archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. The eruption was one of the largest underwater volcanic eruption in decades. The explosion was so massive it sent shockwaves around the world.

More than half a day later, we measured the air pressure wave in Erlangen, first as a compression wave of amplitude 1.4 hPa at 20:32h CET and then as a decompression wave of amplitude -0.7 hPa at 02:32h CET. The second wave traveled in opposite direction and took a few hours longer to reach Erlangen.

Pretty awesome how our two simple barometric pressure sensors can clearly detect major volcanic events around the globe!

This year we finally had another group excursion. We went hiking and did Via Ferrata climbing near Hirschbach in the Hersbrucker Alb. Great fun!

Crossing the Noris-Brettl.
In front of the Noristörl.

This look at the geometry of crystals beyond the constraints of chemistry accomplished by computer simulation has been 8+ years in the making:

“Which crystal structures are possible if the restrictions of the quantum realm are lifted? Our knowledge of ordered particle geometries was previously restricted to the kinds of structures observable in hard condensed matter—on the atomic scale. Here, we use freely tunable computational models to represent particles with variable properties, and we determine the crystal structures into which they self-assemble. The resulting arrangements often correspond to structures known from atomic-scale materials; however, we discover a comparable number of previously unknown crystal structures with different local coordination motifs, incompatible with the limitations of the chemical bond. Our results can be used to engineer soft condensed matter with unprecedented, ordered geometries, paving the way toward materials with potentially novel properties.”

Read this work here:

Julia Dshemuchadse, Pablo F. Damasceno, Carolyn L. Phillips, Michael Engel, Sharon C. Glotzer
Moving Beyond the Constraints of Chemistry via Crystal Structure Discovery with Isotropic Multiwell Pair Potentials
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118, e2024034118 (2021)