Invited Speakers

Robert Feidenhans’l

Managing Director of the European XFEL in Hamburg, Germany

Robert Feidenhans´l

Robert Feidenhans´l received his Master’s degree in Physics in 1983 and his PhD in 1986 both from the University of Aarhus. He worked as a staff scientist in the Physics Department at Risø National Laboratory from 1986-2001, where he became Head of the Materials Department also at Risø. In 2005 he became professor at the Niels Bohr Institute at University of Copenhagen, where he was vice institute leader 2007-2012 and Head of the Institute 2012-2017. January 2017 he became Managing Director of the European XFEL in Hamburg. Robert Feidenhans’l has been working in the field of X-ray Synchrotron Radiation and Free Electron Laser nearly all his career and has also been Chairman of Council at the European X-ray Radiation Facility in Grenoble and also at European XFEL. He is co-author of about 190 publications.


Robert Thomas

Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Chemistry, University of Oxford, UK

Robert Thomas FRS

Robert Thomas is renowned for his application of neutron and X-ray scattering methods to problems in physical chemistry, and in particular, the development of the grazing incidence reflection technique and its application to the study of wet interfaces. Wet interfaces are the surfaces separating air–liquid, liquid–liquid, and solid–liquid phases and, although they are of considerable fundamental and technological importance, were poorly understood because of an almost total lack of experimental techniques for investigating them at the molecular level. In 1981, Robert was the first to propose that neutron reflection be applied to the study of adsorption, and he has subsequently developed the experimental technique and its analysis to a point where it gives uniquely detailed information about molecular structure at wet interfaces. He was the first to apply it to the air–liquid and solid–liquid interfaces and he has been able to reveal the structure of a variety of amphiphilic molecules and polymers at these two interfaces.


Gary Harlow

Researcher, Lund University, Sweden

Gary Harlow

Gary Harlow studies surface and nanoscale electrochemistry using synchrotron radiation. He graduated in physics from the University of Glasgow, UK in 2009. In 2012 he started a PhD with Prof. Christopher Lucas at the University of Liverpool, UK, working on surface X-ray diffraction studies of electrochemical interfaces and was awarded his PhD in 2016. After this he has worked as a postdoctoral researcher and then researcher with Prof. Lundgren at Lund University, Sweden, performing in situ studies on a variety of electrochemical interfaces with grazing incidence (small and wide-angle) X-ray scattering. Recently he has also been working on high energy surface X-ray diffraction studies of single crystal electrodes.


Thorsten Hesjedal

Professor of Condensed Matter Physics, University of Oxford, UK

Thorsten Hesjedal

Thorsten Hesjedal is Professor of Condensed Matter Physics, working on quantum materials in the form of thin films and nanostructures. He graduated with a Dr. rer. nat. degree in physics from the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Before coming to Oxford, he was Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada), Visiting Associate Professor at Stanford University, and Visiting Professor at the UC Santa Barbara. His research facilities are located both in the Clarendon Laboratory in Oxford and at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) site. He is cross-appointed to ISIS and the Diamond Light Source, where he is responsible for the operation of the MBE on the ARPES beamline I05.


Elin Grånäs

Researcher, DESY, Hamburg, Germany

Elin Grånäs

Elin Grånäs received her PhD entitled “Above and Below Graphene: Nanoparticle Chemistry and Interface Reactions” at the division of Synchrotron Radiation Research in Lund, Sweden in 2014. After that she held a position as researcher in the group ”X-ray physics and nanoscience” at DESY, Germany until 2019.

Her research focuses on the surface structure and chemistry of oxide surfaces (zinc oxide, magnetite) and the growth of- and adsorption on supported metal nanoclusters using various experimental methods such as STM, XPS and SXRD.


Nina-Juliane Steinke

Instrument Scientist, ILL, France

Nina-Juliane Steinke

Dr. Nina-Juliane Steinke has recently joined the ILL as instrument scientist for the D33 small angle scattering instrument. Before joining the ILL she spent 7 years as instrument scientist on the spin-echo enabled, polarised neutron reflectometer Offspec at the ISIS neutron and muon source, UK. She completed her PhD in physics at the University of Cambridge, UK and then a research fellowship at Newnham College, Cambridge, where she worked on magnetic thin film heterostructures using MBE growth and polarised neutron reflectometry techniques. Her current research is focused on the interplay of topological electronic structure and magnetism in thin film and bulk systems using a variety of complementary techniques, mainly polarised neutron reflectometry and SANS, X-ray magnetic circular dichroism and muon spectroscopy.


Hyunjung Kim

Professor of Department of Physics at Sogang University, Seoul, Korea

Hyunjung Kim

Hyunjung Kim is a Professor of Department of Physics at Sogang University, Seoul, Korea, since 2002. She served as Chair of the Department from 2007-2009. She has led an active research group with coherent x-ray scattering and ultrafast x-ray scattering to study dynamics and nanostructures, namely by X-ray Photon Correlation Spectroscopy and Coherent X-ray Diffraction Imaging, and X-ray pump-probe techniques using synchrotrons and XFEL. Her research covers structural behavior on nanomaterials, polymeric materials, energy-related materials, organic semiconductors, nano-porous Zeolite materials, and 2D materials. Prof. Kim earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Sogang and Ph. D. from Purdue University, USA. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory and University of California, San Diego, USA before joining the Sogang University. She received a Simke award for excellent achievement in Synchrotron science by Pohang Accelerator Laboratory in Korea. She has served as an International Advisory Committee member of Pohang Accelerator Laboratory and proposal review panels for several synchrotrons, XFELs, and neutron scattering facilities, e.g., PETRA III, Pohang Light Source, LCLS, PAL-XFEL, and NIST. She served as a chair for the “X-ray Science” of Gordon Conference in 2017 and as a vice-chair in 2015. She will be the chair of Korean Synchrotron User Association Committee, Korea from 2020.


Kazue Kurihara

Professor, Tohoku University, Japan

Kazue Kurihara

Kazue Kurihara is a professor of New Industry Creation Hatchery Center (NICHe) of Tohoku University, where she is also a professor emeritus after working at the Institute of Multidisciplinary Research for Advanced Materials as a professor since 1997.  Her research forcuses on surface forces measurement for materials science.  Her study includes characterization of solid-liquid interfaces, liquids confined between solid surfaces, polymer brushes and gels; development of new instruments such as a twin-path surface forces apparatus for opaque samples and resonance shear measurement apparatus.   Recently, her group is active in X-ray diffraction study on liquids of nm thickness confined between solid surfaces. She has received various awards including the Chemical Society of Japan Award for Creative Work in 2000, and A. E. Alexander Lectureship Award from the Royal Australian Chemical Institute in 2011, IUPAC Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering Award in 2013, SPSJ Award for Outstanding Achievement in Polymer Science and Technology in 2016.


Binhua Lin

Professor, Center for Advanced Radiation Sources (CARS), James Franck Institute and Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, The University of Chicago, USA

Binhua Lin

Binhua Lin is a Research Professor and the Executive Director of NSF’s ChemMatCARS at The University of Chicago. ChemMatCARS, operating Sector 15 at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, is a National User Facility dedicated to synchrotron research in chemistry and materials sciences. Binhua started her research on structural phase transitions and dynamics of monolayers of molecules at the air/water interface during her PhD research with Prof. Pulak Dutta at Northwestern University and her postdoctoral research with Prof. Stuart A. Rice at the University of Chicago. Since 1994, Binhua has been with ChemMatCARS, serving first as the beamline scientist for the liquid surface/interface scattering facility, and then as the Executive Director for ChemMatCARS. Binhua’s research has been focused on the interactions, ordering and elastic response of liganded nanoparticles self-assembled at the air-water interface, as well as on the hydrodynamic coupling of colloids in confined geometries.


Ka Yee Lee

Professor in Chemistry and Provost of the University of Chicago, USA

Ka Yee Lee

Ka Yee C. Lee, Professor in Chemistry, the James Franck Institute, Institute for Biophysical Dynamics and the College, is Provost at the University of Chicago. She currently serves as the Chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the UChicago Hong Kong Campus. Her research interests lie in the area of membrane biophysics and her laboratory is engaged in several projects, examining the differential recognition of phosphatidylserine by immnoreceptors, the interaction of alpha-synuclein with synaptic vesicles, the membrane sealing capabilities of polymers, the targeting selectivity of antimicrobial peptides, the role of cholesterol in lipid ordering in membrane, the interactions of lung surfactant peptides and lipids, and biomimetic materials. She is an elected member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. She was a Searle Scholar, a Packard Fellow and a Sloan Research Fellow. Ka Yee obtained her Sc.B. in Electrical Engineering from Brown University, her M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University.


Alessandra Luchini

Researcher, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Alessandra Luchini

Dr. Alessandra Luchini is a postdoctoral researcher at the Niels Bohr Institute – University of Copenhagen (Denmark) since 2017. She completed her PhD in Physical Chemistry in 2016 at the University of Naples “Federico II” and then became postdoc in 2016 at the Institute Laue Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble (France). Her research focuses on the experimental investigation of membrane proteins with surface-sensitive techniques, in particular using Neutron Reflectometry.


Mrinmay Mukhopadhyay

Associate Professor, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata, India

Mrinmay Mukhopadhyay

Mrinmay Kumar Mukhopadhyay is a researcher at Surface Physics & Material Science Division at the Saha Institute. He gained his PhD. from University of Calcutta and has had post-docs at UC San Diego before taking up his current position in Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics.  His research interest and activities include the structure and dynamics of ultrathin organic films and their phase transitions under the influence of different parameters. More specifically areas of research include the investigation of the structure and phase transition in Langmuir Blodgett (LB) films – The role of self-assembly in determining the structure of LB films, the evolution of 2D to 3D melting transition and the two-dimensional magnetic ordering in these films are being studied to understand phase transitions in low dimensional materials. He is also interested in the structure and surface dynamics of polymer thin films, investigated using x-ray scattering techniques (GISAXS and XPCS) to study the confinement of polymer chains in ultrathin films and the effect of this confinement on the surface dynamics. Another area of research is into the effect of exogenous bio-molecules in determining the structure of model membranes and regulating membrane properties in order to understand different biological processes in living cells.


Peter Müller-Buschbaum

Professor, Department of Physics, Technical University of Munich, Germany

Peter Müller-Buschbaum

Peter Müller-Buschbaum is full professor in the Physics Department at the Technical University of Munich, Germany, heading the Chair of Functional Materials. Moreover, he is scientific director of the Munich neutron source FRM-II and scientific director of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum MLZ. He is heading the keylab “TUM.solar”, which focuses on research of solar energy conversion and storage based on nanomaterials. He is heading the “Network for Renewable Energies” (NRG) of the “Munich School of Engineering” (MSE), and he is the German representative at the “European Polymer Federation” (EPF) for polymer physics. He is elected chairman of the “Hamburg User Committee” (HUC) at the synchrotron radiation laboratory DESY in Hamburg, member of the “European Synchrotron User Organization” (EUSO) and associate editor of the journal “ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces”. His research interests cover polymer and hybrid materials for energy applications with a special focus on thin films and nanostructures, including kinetic, in-situ and in-operando experiments on solar cells, thermoelectric materials and batteries.


Ben Ocko

Senior Scientist, NSLS-II, Brookhaven National Lab, USA

Ben Ocko

Ben Ocko is a soft-matter physicist and has published over 250 papers. He has pioneered the study of liquid and soft-matter interfaces using surface x-ray scattering methods and has contributed to the understanding of the phase behavior of surfaces under temperature, electrochemical, and pressure control. With Moshe Deutsch (Bar Ilan University), they discovered surface freezing at the liquid/vapor interface in alkane and alkane derivative molecules. His team discovered surface layering in liquids metals and elaborated the role of capillary waves in setting the roughness of liquid surfaces. More recently he has turned his attention to ordering at liquid/liquid surfaces and molten salts. Ben has also contributed to our understanding of wetting behavior on nanostructured substrates, the structure of electrode surfaces under potential control, self-assembled monolayers, block copolymer thin films, organic photovoltaic materials under confinement, ionic liquids, and Langmuir monolayers on mercury. 

Together with Prof. Peter Pershan (Harvard University) they developed the X22B Liquid Surface Spectrometer (LSS) at NSLS in the 1980’s, the first synchrotron based LSS in the US.  Ben also developed the LSS at ID10 at the APS in the 1990’s. Ben joined NSLS II in 2015 where he is developing the LSS program and the instrument is currently being commissioned.


Adrian Rennie

Professor, Uppsala University, Sweden

Adrian Rennie

Adrian Rennie graduated from the University of Cambridge, UK with a Ph.D. for work in polymer physics in 1981. He subsequently worked in Germany and France and at the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and London before taking his present position as Professor of Neutron Scattering, at Uppsala University, Sweden in 2003. His work has been mainly in the field of soft matter and he has been using reflection and scattering techniques for more than 30 years, primarily to investigate solid/liquid and liquid/vapour interfaces. He has also been involved extensively with neutron and synchrotron facilities, including directing the Neutron Research Laboratory at Studsvik.


Elias Vlieg

Professor, Radboud University, Institute for Molecules and Materials, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Elias Vlieg

Elias Vlieg is professor in Solid State Chemistry at the Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands and also head of the Applied Materials Science Group. Since 2009 he is further CEO of the small spin-off company tf2 devices. His research interest is the fundamental understanding of crystal growth. For this his group uses a wide range of experimental, computational and theoretical methods that are applied to a wide range of crystals. Elias Vlieg’s current interests include chiral separation, self-assembly, thermal batteries, solar cells and the atomic-scale structure of solid-liquid interfaces.