The school was kicked off by a
lecture by Walter Riess (IBM Zurich) who illustrated how the nanotechnology is becoming the everyday reality in electronic devices. He illustrated the broad range of materials which are now being used, spanning nearly the full Mendeleev table. He also pointed out the energy requirements (information technology currently consumes about 2 % of the global electricity production, but this share is bound to increase and the energy requirements of the expected Exaflop computers are staggering).
Thus the topic of energy and especially the role of nanotechnology for renewable energy resources was strongly present in the school. The topic was introduced by M. Londesborough (Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic) in a fascinating talk which included demonstrations of energy content in fuels, biomass and food. As a chemist, Michael has focused on how photosynthesis provided us with ample resources of energy on which our current civilization is based - and how fast we use them now.
One of the prominent topics of the school was a section on photovoltaics, started by Ivan Gordon (IMEC, Leuven, Belgium) with a talk on
Crystalline Silicon solar cell research: where nanotechnology meets photovoltaics,, certainly one of the highlights of the school. He was followed by Jens Schneider from a company CSG Solar (Thalheim, Germany), who showed what obstacles need to be overcome to bring the research into reality. His talk was thus aptly titled: "Reality is a bitch" - from lab to production (actually a quote of one of the company founding fathers).
The photovoltaic section was rounded up by Markus Schubert (Stuttgart University). We usually invite new speakers for each school in a series and thus the lectures are not repeated but there are notable exceptions. Markus Schubert came again after 12 years and he brought a fascinating sequel to the previous talk on using flexible solar cell array as a retina implant which included a fascinating video of the first patients with a vision restored after complete blindness.
Nanoscience requires proper tools for manipulating and measuring the matter down to atomic precision. This topic was represented by Franz Giessibl (Regensburg University) who pioneered the atomically resolved atomic force microscopy. Klaus Wandelt (Universities of Bonn and Krakow) gave a persuasive presentation how atomically resolved studies can be performed even in liquid environments, contradicting a commonly held opinion that ultra high vacuum is required to keep surfaces clean enough. Very advanced results were presented by Hongjun Gao from Beijing Institute of Physics, illustrating the enormous progress of Chinese research. Use of scanning probe microscopy for a wide range of electronic measurements was shown by Christian Teichert (Montan University Leoben).
A unique lecture titled Exploring Nano: what can we learn/expect from theoretical studies? by Pavel Jelínek (Institute of Physics, Prague) aimed at bridging the gap between experiments and theoretical results.
AFM is now also basis of nanomechanical research which allows X-ray diffraction study of individual nanostructures mechanically stressed by the AFM tip, as presented by Thomas Cornelius (ESRF Grenoble).
Javier Aizpurua (CSIC, San Sebastian, Spain) gave the audience an enthusiastic insight into the subject of resonant optical antennas being a part of the emerging field of plasmonics.
A short dive into nanomagnetism and spin electronics was presented by Olivier Fruchart (Institute Neel, Grenoble), seconded by Markus Etzkorn (Max Planck Institute Stuttgart). Finally, an interface between the nanostructures, especially nanowires, and life scienceswas the subject of the final talk by Lars Montelius (Lund University).