PhD candidate Robert Schwarzl from the Institute of Experimental Physics reports on his research stay at Temple University, which is funded by the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation.Hi everbody,
what does a project assistant, who has worked since 2020 on an ultrafast spectroscopy experiment, do at a research group for theoretical chemistry? The answer is simple: interesting research. Frank Spano and his group at Temple University are well known for their simulations of aggregates of organic molecules. Following a collaboration with Manuela Schiek from JKU Linz, I have carried out ultrafast observation of the dynamic behavior of molecular crystals with the goal to better understand light-matter interaction and subsequent decay processes. To gain a solid insight into these experiments, a sound theoretical model is needed to accurately reproduce the experimental results. I am now working on such a model in the course of my research stay in Frank Spano’s team.
Combining theoretical models and experimental results is what will drive our successful research into molecular crystals.
To get a different perspective: Experimental physics is undoubtedly a wonderful field of science; we develop experimental set-ups, observe measurements and interpret results. After almost four months of taking a deep dive into the field of theoretical chemistry, I started to employ a different mindset focusing on source code, a choice of useful degrees of freedom and the limits of current computing hardware - no computer in this world would be powerful enough to calculate an exact solution to our research questions. Combining theoretical models and experimental results is what will drive our successful research into molecular crystals.
Enjoying the surrounding area. As one of the first and largest cities of the United States, Philadelphia has a lot to offer: from cultural and scientific museums, a world famous music scene and recreational opportunities along the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers to the proximity of world cities such as New York and Washington DC. Cycling trips to Atlantic City and Princeton, where local colleagues took the opportunity to increase their sports capabilities, were also great fun for me. Finally, I was able to fulfill my long held dream of spending a week on historical and cultural activities in Mexico.
Soon, my wonderful research visit will come to an end. I want to thank my guest and home professors Frank Spano and Markus Koch, everyone else involved and especially the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation for awarding me a scholarship for this great opportunity.
Greetings from Philadelphia, Robert
You can find this and other articles to browse through in TU Graz people #85 , the magazine for TU Graz employees and interested parties.