During my really short but intense time in Krakow I acquired valuable scientific insight but also met many wonderful people at the Academic Centre for Materials and Nanotechnology (ACMiN) at the AGH Krakow.
Prof. Marcin Sikora kindly hosted my stay as a recently joined partner in the Photo4Future project and I’m truly grateful for his scientific advice and support during my time in his group. His research interest lies in the exploration of magnetic materials with the help of synchrotron based X-ray spectroscopic techniques. Thus there was an extremely beneficial overlap with my PhD topic on in-operando studies of photocatalytic materials using X-ray spectroscopy.
He helped me a lot with his insight into how to analyze and treat the huge amount of data collected during my beamtime at the Swiss synchrotron (SuperXAS, PSI). I was introduced to the basics of how to simulate X-ray spectra with the help of computational tools which appeared to be more fascinating than I thought, really! Quantum chemical calculations seemed always like a black box to me because of the highly complex theory behind it. Also, educated as an experimental chemist I was trained to be rather suspicious of purely theoretical results. But recent advancements in computational tools and a basic understanding of quantum physics and solid-state chemistry provide exciting opportunities to compare theory and experiment.
Additionally I got a good overview about the research center itself, its scientific direction and equipment. Investments of the Polish government and the EU established a really attractive research environment with high-end scientific instruments.
I’m looking forward to my secondment in Bordeaux working together with Sam and Prasaanth.