​The Nobel Laureate Konstantin Novoselov attracted a large audience.​ Photo: Johan Bodell​

Great interest when the Nobel Laureate visited Chalmers

​The Nobel Laureate Konstantin Novoselov attracted a large audience when visiting the initiative seminar "2D materials beyond graphene" at Chalmers on 2 October. Many came to Palmstedtsalen in the student union building to see and hear him talk about his work with graphene, often mentioned as a super-material.
Ermin Malic, associate professor at the Department of Physics and director of the organizing Graphene Centre at Chalmers (GCC), introduced Novoselov shortly:
"It is a great pleasure to welcome such a prominent guest. I am sure you all know Konstantin and are very familiar with his work," he said.
Picture of Konstantin Novoselov.
Konstantin Novoselov, professor at the University of Manchester, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics 2010 for his achievements with the novel material graphene. He has visited Chalmers before, not least in conjunction with the large inaugauration of the major Graphene Flagship a few years ago. On 2 October, he opened the intitative seminar "2D materials beyond graphene" with a lecture entitled "van der Waals heterostructures".
"A lot of work has already been done with Chalmers, but what I am going to talk about today is more the story beyond graphene, where we are heading now towards other 2D materials and even towards the heterostructures. The reason for why we pay so much attention to graphene is because it has a number of characteristics which each of them makes this material very interesting. That's why we have the Graphene Flagship", said Konstantin Novoselov.

Picture of Konstantin Novoselov.In his lecture, Konstantin Novoselov provided a history of the graphene subject and an update of the current situation and future of the material.
"The most active direction during the last years has been the research in so-called 2d ferromagnetic materials. This is important because we need to distinguish the difference between space dimensionality and spin dimensionality", said Konstantin Novoselov.
The Nobel Laureate saw a bright future where the development pushes for new experiments that are not feasible today, something he called as science fiction. Among other things he talked about new crystallines and naturally occurring heterostructures:
"It sounds like science fiction that we can do it and that's why it's really surprising to see what kind of quality it will be of the stacks and what infrastructures we can achieve. But it just don't come for free, you just don't stack those crystals and they give you nice interfaces. Behind this is a quite specific process", said Konstantin Novoselov.

Picture of Vincenzo Palermo.Vincenzo Palermo (to the left), Professor of graphene composite materials at the Department of Industrial and Materials Science, and Vice Director of the Graphene Flagship, was very distinct with the future possibilities for graphene and spoke warmly about commercial products containing the material and already are available on the market. In his lecture, "Applications of 2D materials in a 3-dimensional world", he mentioned everything from tennis rackets and lightweight clothing, to headphones with amazing jaw-dropping sound and – lasagna! However, it was somewhat unclear how close to realization in time the latter is.
"It has gone unusually fast. Research began as early as 2004, and by 2010, the first commercial products were developed," said Vincenzo Palermo.
At the same time, he raised a warning finger for fake products riding the graphene wave, claiming to be graphene-based without sufficient coverage for it:
"It does not mean the products are bad, but they need to be carefully analyzed to know if they are serious," said Vincenzo Palermo.

Picture of Yury Gogotsi.Among the speakers were also the Nobel Prize tipped Russian material researcher Yury Gogotsi (to the right), Professor at Drexel University in Philadelphia, USA. He participated with a lecture on his groundbreaking battery research, entitled "Metallically Conducting Carbides and Nitrides (MXenes) Enable New Technologies".

Over 100 participants were registered for the seminar; an obvious sign that the subject still has the potential to attract interest. A broad audience sat down in Palmstedtsalen; from students to researchers, public and entrepreneurs.
We met a visitor in the crowd and asked for a review. In particular, hen had come to listen to the lecture of Konstantin Novoselov:
"Novoselov was a great speaker with an unusual ability to popularize his research and make it interesting. Grapehene is clearly a vivid research topic under constant development", hen said.

The seminar provided an intense program with a total of 18 invited speakers from Europe and USA; among them Frank Koppens, Instituto de Ciencias Fotónicas (ICFO), Spain, Paulina Plochocka and Bernhard Urbaszek, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), France, Thomas Müller, Vienna University, Austria, Kristian Thygesen, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU), Danmark, and Miriam Vitiello, National Research Council, Italy. Chalmers was represented by Timur Shegai, Department of Physics, Saroj Dash, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience – MC2 – and Vincenzo Palermo, Department of  Industrial and Materials Science.

There was also a poster session, which many participants took the opportunity to watch.

Every year, the Excellence Initiative Nano has a topical event under the title Initiative Seminar. This year, the seminar was organized by the Graphene Center, which is an umbrella for all research at Chalmers on atomically thin 2D materials. 

The centre director Ermin Malic were very satisfied with the seminar:
"It provided a fantastic overview of the outstanding characteristics and the promising technological potential of 2D materials. I hope that this could give a push at Chalmers to investigate 2D materials beyond graphene", he says.

The seminar was organized by an ambitious quartet consisting of Ermin Malic, Cristina Andersson, Susannah Carlsson and Debora Perlheden.

Text: Michael Nystås
Photo: Johan Bodell
Photo of Yury Gogotsi and Vincenzo Palermo: Michael Nystås

Published: Mon 08 Oct 2018. Modified: Tue 16 Oct 2018