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Atoms are the building blocks of the matter that surrounds us. From the beautiful crystal mazes of diamonds, snowflakes and chocolate to nature’s tiniest structures hidden in the nanoworld. It is the arrangement of atoms into intricate structures that govern the properties of materials, which can become very unusual at the smallest scales. We rely on nanotechnology to develop smaller, more powerful devices to run our computers, smartphones and tablets. With current manufacturing methods reaching their limits of small, is the solution to use chemistry to “grow” devices atom-by-atom?
What’s this? Technology for ants??!
Gabriela Kissling (Research Fellow in Electrochemistry at the University of Southampton)
I've been interested in electrochemistry ever since I studied quantum dots – tiny, colourful, light-up-under-UV-light particles that can be used for solar cells, TVs or cancer detection. After the ups and downs of a PhD in Bristol I started a postdoc at the University of Southampton researching how to make materials in tiny structures using electroplating. Over the last few years (and after a stint in Bath to play with solar cells) I have been working on making things smaller. Within the interdisciplinary ADEPT project we develop ways to miniaturise devices and take technology smaller.
Looking at atoms and beyond: understanding the behaviour of solids
Simon Coles (Professor of Structural Chemistry and Director, UK National Crystallography Service.)
In the 1990s I obtained my BSc and PhD (Cardiff) and worked for the Royal Institution. In 1998 I moved to Southampton to manage the National Crystallography Service, becoming its Director in 2009. We operate the worlds most powerful crystallography facility, supporting a range of UK chemistry research. This enables us to investigate the structure of solids to atomic resolution and beyond. We study a wide range of new materials and their properties or behaviour – from new drugs to energy storage. I cant say ‘no’ and also research into engineering, physics, life sciences, informatics and ...
Bacteria: simple organisms with complex defence mechanisms. What can we learn from computer simulations?
Syma Khalid (Professor of Computational Biophysics)
My research is focussed on bacteria. In particular I am interesting in understanding how molecules such as antibiotics can get in and out of bacteria. This is important given the alarming rate at which harmful bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. I aim to understand how we can make antibiotics more effective. I use computational methods for my research. Briefly; I use the laws of classical, Newtonian physics to perform calculations that predict how molecules interact with each other within bacterial membranes. The calculations allow me to make ‘movies’ of the molecules.