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Today, physicists, chemists, and materials scientists around the globe seem to have immersed themselves in the world of nanostructures, which promises us materials for unique lasers, remarkably efficient solar cells, quantum computers, and high-resolution monitors. But how efficiently can modern physics explain all the processes taking place in the nanoworld? Do theoretical and experimental physicists have enough reliable and simple tools to solve fundamental problems concerning nanomaterials? These questions are the subject of the special issue of the international peer-reviewed journal Nanomaterials". Its guest editor is Anatoly Fedorov, the head of the International Research and Education Center for Physics of Nanostructures and a professor at ITMO University.
Early in 2017, ITMO staff have developed a unique methodology for the project-based learning of nanotechnologies. Since that time, it has been tried and tested by the Sirius educational center, federal networks of kids’ technoparks Quantorium, and, starting from this academic year, have been rolled out in ITMO University itself. The technique has also recently been recognized by the Government of St. Petersburg’s Committee on Science and Higher Education, who awarded it an honorary prize for being the ‘Best Innovative Product’. Iana Muzychenko, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Physics and Engineering, and Mikhail Mukhin, Head of the Faculty’s Nanocenter, met with ITMO.NEWS to discuss why project-based learning is so effective and how it motivates students to approach unconventional scientific tasks.
The conference, held on the premises of the Sirius Educational Center, brought together more than 300 researchers in the field of nanophotonics and metamaterials from top research centers and laboratories of the UK, Germany, Sweden, France, the USA, Australia, China, Russia, and other countries. Over the course of five days, researchers presented more than 200 reports and discussed their work and future partnerships.
The team of ITMO University’s International Research Center for Nanophotonics and Metamaterials has recently received the St. Petersburg government award for scientific support of young specialists’ training in the field of physics of metamaterials. What is more, this year three of the university’s scientists received presidential grants on research in the fields deemed strategically important for the country’s development.
ITMO University’s Laboratory of Light-Matter Coupling in Nanostructures has begun active research into the optical and electrical properties of two-dimensional materials. Two-dimensional materials are atom-thin structures, graphene being the most well-known example. The laboratory was recently joined by Ekaterina Khestanova, an experimental physicist with a PhD from the University of Manchester, where she studied two-dimensional materials. In an interview with ITMO.NEWS, she talks about her past research and her plans at the laboratory.
Can we use electric current to check the freshness of foods? What is dark matter? And how do we make a "liquid battery" for electric vehicles? To learn more, read our article about the recent Science Slam in St. Petersburg. This time school students could also take part in the competition. Based on audience votes, the jury chose two winners who were awarded with the main prize: boxing gloves.
The award for achievements in the field of sol-gel technology was granted to Vladimir Vinogradov, Head of ITMO University’s International Laboratory "Solution Сhemistry of Advanced Materials and Technologies" (SCAMT) and to Alexander Vinogradov, head of ITMO’s Biochemistry cluster. This prestigious international award has been given to young scientists from all over the world since 1991; 2017 marks the first time it goes to scientists from Russia.