Giuseppe Portale is a professor at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the University La Sapienza, Rome and he carried out postdoc research at the ESRF in Grenoble. From 2009 to 2015 he was a staff scientist at the ESRF and in 2015 he was appointed as assistant professor at the University of Groningen and became associate professor in 2021. He is the head of the Physical Chemistry of Polymeric and Nanostructured Materials group, focusing on the study of structure-property relationship in polymer-based materials, with special focus on energy applications and on the real time investigation of material structuring during processing.


Dr. Alina Rwei

Assistant Professor at the Technical University Delft

Shedding light on precision therapeutics: from externally-triggerable drug delivery systems to bioelectronics

Alina Rwei is an assistant professor in Technische Universiteit Delft (TU Delft).She received a Ph.D. and undergraduate degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), with her undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering and a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering. Her work during her Ph.D. was focused on designing and developing light- and ultrasound-triggerable drug delivery systems for the repeatable and adjustable release of local anesthetics in collaboration with Harvard Medical School. Furthermore, she pursued a postdoctoral position at Northwestern University. She was the recipient of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Research Training Award (TL1) from the Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program by NIH/NCATS.

As a principal investigator at TU Delft, she aims to work in the interdisciplinary fields of precision medicine and chemical engineering, developing novel biomedical technologies for next-generation medicine. Her research interests work in tandem to bridge the gap between biology, materials science, and biomedical engineering to create a profound practical impact on patients’ lives. With her expertise in different fields, she plans to work towards more effective drug delivery systems by engineering various aspects of the delivery platforms. At the moment, she is working on light-, ultrasound- and magnetically-triggered therapeutics for cancer therapy, wearable electronics for diagnostics, and the study of nanoparticle and cellular interactions for improving the design of drug delivery systems.


Raúl Luna


Reassessing existing kinetochore maps by imaging key kinetochore proteins at different stages of the cell cycle using STimulated Emission Depletion microscopy.

Supervisor: Dr. Rifka Vlijm

Research group: Molecular Biophysics

Cell division has been studied through decades and development of advances in the understanding of this process have led to the realization that it involves a considerable amount of diferent proteins in strucutres yet unknown to science. The main protein complex that participates during mitosis is the kinetochore. This project consist of the reassessment of current kinetochore protein maps using STED microscopy to unravel the structural nature of kinetochore complexes.

Alexandru Mednicov


Synthesis and characterization of C8S3 double walled nanotube structures

Supervisor: Prof. Maxim S. Pchenitchnikov

Research group: Optical Condensed Matter Physics

My project consists of synthesizing C8S3 molecules that form double walled nanotubes(DWNT) structures due to their amphiphilic properties. The samples are going to be irradiated with a laser and their photoluminescence properties will be probed. We are going to measure a batch that is irradiated with an LED on top of the laser to try and see if the light-treatment is going to (what we believe to be) remove impurities from our DWNT structures and improve photoluminescence properties compared to a batch that is simply irradiated by a laser.


Aaltje van der Molen


Sequence-dependent emergence and characterization of self-synthesizing coacervates

Supervisor: Prof. Sijbren Otto

Research group: Otto lab

Compartmentalization is one of the main characteristics allowing living systems to protect themselves from the outside world. Among different compartment materials, coacervates have shown great potential as models to study the origin of life. However, the mechanism by which these compartments can emerge from their building blocks is still unexplored. Recently, a building block was found that can form coacervates through dynamic combinatorial chemistry. The main focus of this project will be on the study of these building blocks with a different number of positive or negative amino acids in their peptide sequence, and to study their capability to make self-synthesizing coacervates. In this project, we aim to figure out how environmental changes, such as temperature and mechanical agitation, can affect the coacervation ability of the building blocks. In order to investigate the role of these changes, building blocks with different peptide sequences will be studied and techniques, such as LC-MS and UPLC, will be used to investigate the library formed by each building block. In addition, the emergence of coacervates will be studied using UV-Vis spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, and fluorescence/confocal microscopy.

Konstantinos Rompotis

Konstantinos Panagiotis Rampotis

Transforming a 2D semiconductor into a semimetal by laser-induced crystal phase change

Supervisor: Dr. Marcos H. D. Guimarães

Research Group: Opto-spintronics of Nanostructures

In this work, I explore the controlled modification of the crystal structure of the two-dimensional (2D) semiconductor 2H-MoTe2 to its metallic tetragonal (1T’) phase by means of local laser irradiation. This effect can be used to create a one-dimensional lateral contact between the 2D semiconductor and the 2D metal, with excellent contact properties. The phase change is confirmed by Raman scattering, which probe the change in lattice vibrations due to the phase transformation. Finally, I will show how we can use these 2D metal semiconductor-metal lateral heterostructures for functional devices using the state-of-the-art nanofabrication techniques. Through electronic transport and photocurrent measurements, I will demonstrate the excellent contact properties of these structures and their potential for future electronic devices.

Marco Segura


Characterization of varying PEG attached spiropyrans

Supervisor: Prof. Giuseppe Portale

Research group: Polymer Physics Group

Using various techniques, such as UV/Vis spectroscopy, SAXS and DLS, I will be characterising the supramolecular self-assembly of various different spiropyrans with varying polyethylene glycol (PEG) groups attached. The self-assembly occurs when the initial acetonitrile solution is added to water, in which the spiropyrans are much less soluble. Both the aggregates’ shape and size and the kinetics behind the self-assembly are of interest, in order to establish how the varying PEG size changes these.

Leander van der Zee


Local Frenkel exciton energie transport from single molecules to Wannier Mott delocalised exciton

Supervisor: Prof. Richard Hildner

Research group: Optical Spectroscopy of Functional Nanosystems (OSFN)

Single-molecule spectroscopy developed into a powerful tool during the past decades. Organic molecules at very low concentrations (nM to pM) are used to study local interactions in a variety of systems, e.g. protein folding and association in life sciences or establishing structure-property relationships in novel materials for organic solar cells, transistors or thermoelectric generators. At the same time 2-dimensional materials, such as graphene or transition metal dichalcogenides (TMD) attracted substantial attention in recent years due to their outstanding properties and their potential for applications e.g. in sensors and electronics.

In this project we want to unite those fields and perform spectroscopy of single organic molecules deposited on 2D materials with the aim to study the interaction of a localised (Frenkel) exciton on the molecule with the delocalised Mott-Wannier excitons of the 2D material. You will work with a microscopy/spectroscopy setup at room and at low temperatures (down to 4 K) to record in a first step photoluminescence spectra and excited-state lifetime measurements of single molecules deposited on a monolayer of TMC. After this basic characterisation you will investigate whether energy can be transferred from one molecule to a neighbouring one at a distance of several μm via the Mott-Wannier exciton of the TMC. This project will be done in collaboration with the group of Justin Ye, who will provide the 2D material.

Jhe-An Lin

Jhe-An Lin

Supervisor: Prof. Tamalika Banerjee

Research group: Spintronics of Functional Materials

Harshan Madeshwaran


Photocurrent spectroscopy of van der Waals antiferromagnetic CrPS4 Devices

Supervisor: Dr. Marcos H. D. Guimarães

Research Group: Opto-spintronics of Nanostructures

Magnetic devices have been prominent for data storage for several decades due to their long retention times and low power consumption. However, the transport of magnetic information in these devices is complex and their speed still needs to catch up to their more recent electronic counterparts. The recently discovered two-dimensional (2D) magnets open the door for studying magnetism in low dimensions and combining semiconducting and magnetic properties.

In this project, I explore the interplay between light, magnetism, and electric currents in a new 2D van der Waals antiferromagnet, namely-CrPS4. To investigate the effect of crystal symmetries on the photocurrent, I fabricated CrPS4 field-effect transistors with a circular geometry of electrodes, where the photocurrent can be measured at different crystal directions. I will also show how the photocurrents respond to different temperatures, and light polarizations and wavelengths. Finally, I will show how the photocurrent mechanisms in nanometer-thick flakes can be elucidated using scanning photocurrent spectroscopy.


Salim Yushau


Electrochemical Reduction of 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF) with Nickel Boride (NixB) Nanocrystals

Supervisor: Dr. Loredana Protesescu

Research group: Nanomaterials Chemistry Group & Electrocatalysis Group 

Electrocatalysis is an interface-dominated process in which the activity of a catalyst strongly depends on the adsorption/desorption behaviours of the reactants/intermediates/products on the active sites. From the viewpoint of a catalyst design, the chemical functionalization of the catalyst surfaces will inevitably affect the reaction processes, and is considered to be one of the effective strategies to tune the electro-catalytic performance of noble metals and colloidal nanocrystals. Recently, colloidal nanocrystal-based electrocatalysts have drawn enormous attention due to their exceptional catalytic selectivity/activity and durability relative to the existing bulk electrocatalysts.

In this research, the electrochemical reduction of 50 mM of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) will be investigated at a current density range of 10-50 mA/cm2 and pH = 9.2, over Nickel boride (NixB) nanocrystals and Ni foam electrocatalysts. The electrochemical measurements including; Electrochemical Impedance  Spectroscopy (EIS), Linear Sweep Voltammetry (LSV), and Chronopotentiometry will be employed to study the behaviours of the electrochemical systems. The conversion, selectivity towards the formation of 2,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)furan (BHMF) and 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF) and Faradaic efficiency (FE) will then be calculated after the analysis with High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) and Solid-state NMR. Overall, the study will justify the claim that colloidal nanocrystals are an excellent emerging class of electrocatalysts due to their high surface/volume ratio.