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Thursday, 20 September, 2018

The Future of NanoScience

NIM Conference

Poster Session at the rose garden of the Evangelische Akademie Tutzing

Poster Session at the rose garden of the Evangelische Akademie Tutzing

The NIM Conference “The Future of NanoScience” provided a platform for vivid discussions about the development and news in this exciting field. Research topics of participating scientists span from quantum nanophysics over nanosystems for energy conversion towards biomolecular and biomedical nanotechnologies.

With the conference “The Future of Nanoscience”, held in Tutzing from 4 - 6 September 2018, the Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM) encouraged the participants to discuss and look at both, the successes of the past twelve years of NIM as well as the potential of nanotechnologies for the next years.
Among the 17 invited international speakers were many well-known faces, which have been actively shaping the Munich areas’ nano research in the past. In addition, during a technology transfer session the founders of five NIM spin-off companies reported about their development. A public panel discussion titled “Quo vadis NanoScience” shed light on the future of nanotechnology from different perspectives. A poster session gave the participating PhD students and PostDocs the opportunity to present their current research. During a special session, the coordinators of the five research areas of NIM presented NIM’s scientific highlights from the very beginning twelve years ago up to now.

The wonderful scenery at the Evangelische Akademie Tutzing directly at the shores of the Starnberger See added to the inspiring and stimulating atmosphere and invited the scientists to have discussions while walking in the garden, sitting on comfortable deckchairs by the lake, taking a refreshing swim, or enjoying the conference dinner on a boat tour.

Old hands and greenhorns
Leading protagonists of all NIM research areas gave insights into their recent research as well as their plans for future achievements. To give some examples, Opens external link in new windowPaul Chaikin from New York University and Opens external link in new windowWilliam Shih from Harvard Medical School revealed amazing outlooks into the possibilities of using DNA origami techniques for the realization of complex 3D structures. Opens external link in new windowIb Chorkendorff from Technical University of Denmark as well as Opens external link in new windowMichael Wasielewski from Northwestern University presented their research on new nanostructures for artificial photosynthesis. Opens external link in new windowKlaus Ensslin and Opens external link in new windowAndreas Wallraff, both from ETH Zürich, showed their contributions on the way to possible quantum computers. In the field of nanomedicine, Opens external link in new windowKazunori Kataoka from The University of Tokyo gave an impressive overview over self-assembled supramolecular nanosystems for smart diagnosis and targeted therapy of intractable diseases. Former NIM members who are now professors at well-known universities worldwide, clearly demonstrated with their talks how successful NIM has been in promoting young scientists.

During the poster session, 55 PhD students and postdocs of NIM took the chance to present their recent results in the beautiful rose garden just outside the conference hall. A committee consisting of five young NIM scientists selected the best posters for the Poster Award, one for each research area of NIM.

“Quo vadis NanoScience?” – Panel Discussion
The public panel discussion mainly focused on the most prominent scientific visions of NIM: quantum computing, nano foundry, artificial photosynthesis, artificial cells and smart nanocarriers for drug delivery.
The panel combined the expertise of the science historian Opens external link in new windowChristian Kehrt, the astrophysicist, philosopher and science journalist Opens external link in new windowHarald Lesch, the chemist Opens external link in new windowRobert Schlögl, the biophysicist Opens external link in new windowPetra Schwille, as well as of Opens external link in new windowGerhard Abstreiter and Opens external link in new windowJörg P. Kotthaus, both being physicists and founding coordinators of NIM, who moderated the discussion.
“Ois is nano!” (“Everything is nano!”), citing biophysicist Opens external link in new windowHermann Gaub, was the starting point, and extending it a little, Abstreiter added: “Almost everything is nano – or not?”

The six scientists each introduced their ideas on the future development of nanosciences and nanotechnologies, as those have been fundamental to almost all processes of life and have been in the focus of research and technology even before the term “nano” came up. Topics ranged from quantum computing and artificial intelligence over the climate change and the CO2 problematics, sustainable energy sources, the appearance of micro plastics in nature up to nano therapies and diagnostics in medicine.

After 90 minutes of discussion, the audience took its chance to ask questions about all these topics. One of the NIM PhD students started a discussion about a perspective for students who want to become “nanoscientists”. Surprisingly, all panel participants clearly gave a recommendation to study physics or chemistry in order to build a fundament and gain elementary knowledge, and to specialize on nanoscience afterwards.

NIM as cradle of fantastic ideas – technology transfer
Over the years, several former NIM scientists transferred their scientific work into own spin-off companies. Of those, in the Technology Transfer Session five successful NIM alumni gave exciting insights in the development of their ideas towards the founding of the company, and their growth from small firms to big players in the global market.
Some, like GNA Biosolutions, ibidi, Nanion and NanoTemper are still independent companies; others got part of even bigger enterprises, like attocube systems, being now a part of Wittenstein SE. Nevertheless, all of them still have their headquarters in Munich and are in close contact to the NIM community, as members of the NIM Spin-off Club.

A great success – Highlights of NIM
Since its start in 2006, NIM has actively brought together research groups at LMU, TUM and Augsburg University, covering the fields of physics, biophysics, physical chemistry, biochemistry, biology, electrical engineering, and medicine. The overall aim has been to create a well-known hub for nanosciences in Germany.

The coordinators of the five research areas of NIM demonstrated the success of these efforts with their talks in the special session “Highlights of NIM”, looking back at twelve years of NIM and venturing a lookout into the future.
Opens external link in new windowRudolf Gross (TUM) gave a review over the area of quantum nanophysics, Opens external link in new windowAchim Wixforth (Augsburg University) presented the successes of the hybrid nanosystems area, Opens external link in new windowThomas Bein (LMU) focused on nanosystems for energy conversion, Opens external link in new windowErwin Frey (LMU) on biomolecular nanosystems and Opens external link in new windowErnst Wagner (LMU) on biomedical nanotechnologies.

This session as well as the others at this conference clearly demonstrated the great success of the Nanosystems Initiative Munich in this highly interdisciplinary research branch. NIM has been able to establish and strengthen a vivid research community and environment in the Munich area within the past twelve years.
It very much looks like this community and the international network around NIM will further grow and strengthen in the future.

PRESS CONTACT

About NIM:

Dr. Peter Sonntag
General Manager

Phone: +49 (89) 2180 6794

Opens window for sending emailpeter.sonntag(at)lmu.de 

 

About science:

Dr. Isabella Almstätter
Public Outreach Manager

Phone: +49 (89) 2180 5091

Opens window for sending emailisabella.almstaetter(at)physik.uni-muenchen.de

 

 

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