Author: Zhewen Xu

Hamburg — Secondment

I had a wonderful stay in Hamburg for the secondment in the middle of the year (from April to July). Thank Kirsten (SPEAR second supervisor), Vishesh (ESR 11) and Arturo (ESR 12) for the kind host. I enjoyed the lab work and discussions a lot with the group members. It was also very lucky that the period of time has actually the best weather of the year in Hamburg, with sunshine and breeze almost very single day.

The institution is located in the very center of the city, opposite with a prison, which looks quite similar as the one in TV series. Besides neighboring with the prison, in the vicinity of the institution there is also a Japanese garden. Jogging around the lovely garden after doing the daily lab work was perhaps one of the nicest things to do while in Hamburg secondment.

Japanese garden nearby

During the stay in Hamburg, I gave a presentation in the topic of ‘the spatial resolution of the scanning nitrogen vacancy magnetometer (SNVM) and nano-meter scale nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) via nitrogen vacancy (NV) center in diamond’ at Prof. Wiesendanger’s group seminar. The knowledge exchange between SNVM and STM makes me realize the similarities between the two techniques are pretty intriguing. More and more researchers in the STM community are currently employing STM to study electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) at the atomic scale.

Group activity
Escape room

I also had lots of fun in Hamburg, participating in the escape room activity with the group (thank Vishesh for the organization), attending Arturo’s birthday party, and viewing the movie Oppenheimer with the group members. Farewell to people who graduated (Julia) with PhD degree, and (Roberto) left for professorship in Netherlands, is also a nice part of memory in Hamburg.

Looking forward to visiting Hamburg again next year and working together with the Lab013 fellows.

Aachen — Farewell

Right before the 2nd ESR training event in IMEC, Leuven, I went back to Aachen, where I had spent 3 unforgettable years, to participate in the long overdue master’s graduation ceremony. The festival was a one-day event, filled with a variety of activities including exhibitions of academic work, live performances, and group photos of graduates. The highlight of the festival was the graduation ceremony, where the student received their degree certificates with pride and joy. I was so excited and so lucky to additionally be awarded the ‘Springorium Commemorative Medal’ for my Master’s degree with distinction in materials science. The city mayor and the university president also participated in the ceremony and delivered great speeches. A variety of cultural and entertainment shows were also performed by the students.

2022 RWTH Graduation Ceremony [Image is taken from]

Aachen is a city overflowing with culture, history, and innovations. It is also a very tolerant city, where people speaking different languages and having different backgrounds gather together here from all over. I am so grateful that I have lived here for years, have studied with plenty of smart brains, and have made lots of friends with whom I share considerably unforgettable memories.

Springorium Commemorative Medal
Aachen’s autumn

Zurich — Inception

It has been several months since I settled down in Zurich. I really enjoy the new start as a PhD student here at QZabre and Degen’s Group. People here are very nice and helpful, and willing to help me out when I get problems. Now I am occupied with the first project in my PhD life, i.e., to improve the spatial resolution of quantum sensor.

Quantum Sensing Magnetometer, QZabre AG

During the spare time, I’d like to explore the nature here in this country. Hiking around and breathing the fresh air, can always recharge me with maximum of energy so that I am able to dedicate myself back to the scientific work. 

É Mé (on the top of Rigi)

Sometimes hiking brings me unexpected rewards. One huge stone engraved with Chinese characters ‘É Méi (峨眉, one of the most well-known mountain in China)’ on the top of Mountain Rigi is one of these unexpected rewards. You cannot imagine how excited and touched I was, when I saw thing possessing the same root and culture with me myself in a foreign country, especially as a ‘wanderer’ who has been away from home for more than two years.

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