Hans Hilgenkamp researches new (nano) materials with special electronic properties, such as superconductors
Hans Hilgenkamp is a professor in the fields of Applied Physics and Nanotechnology at the University of Twente. His research focus is on materials with unconventional electronic and/or magnetic properties. Examples are superconductors or electrically conducting contacts between insulating materials. His research is foremost experimental, making use of thin films and nanostructures. A specialty in his lab is superconducting scanning SQUID microscopy, that allows highly sensitive imaging of magnetic fields in a variety of materials.
In his group, fundamental studies on the nature and causes for unusual electromagnetic properties go hand in hand with developments towards their applications. A prominent example is his research on grain boundaries and related interfaces in high-temperature superconductors. With his team, he realized a method for enhancement of the current carrying capacity of the grain boundaries, of relevance for applications, and has studied the fundamental symmetry properties of the superconducting state, of importance for the understanding of the remarkable quantum phenomenon of superconductivity. His current research interests include new materials and device concepts for energy-efficient electronics, partly inspired by the energy efficiency of the brain.
Hilgenkamp reminds that students choose their study programme primarily based on their interest and enthusiasm. “That is a good starting point, as a university we must support and feed this intrinsic motivation. This is why I always strive to connect my lectures to current developments, so the fundamental knowledge they learn is related to today’s events and recent research.” The professor feels that universities must very aware of the important role they play in the transformation of students to young professionals. “The students make their first steps in a certain field and we have to coach them and make them aware of the fact that they are on a track to become professionals. For example by not only looking into the scientific content of a report or presentation, but also to the use of language and the clarity. It is important that during their education, they get the chance to be a full-fledged member of a professional research team, which consists of members with different levels of experience and knowledge, so they get practical experience and maintain the initial interest and enthusiasm which motivated them in their initial choice to study in Twente.
After completing his MSc. (1991) and PhD (1995) at the University of Twente, Hans Hilgenkamp worked as a Postdoc at the IBM Zurich Research Lab, Switzerland, and at the University of Augsburg in Germany before returning in 2000 to Twente. Via Assistent and Associate Professorships he became a Full Professor in 2005. In 2007 he was awarded the University of Twente Central Education Prize (Best-teacher award) and in 2012 became an honorary member of the Applied Physics study association Arago.
He was a visiting professor at the CSIRO-Lindfield Lab in Sydney, the National University of Singapore and at Leiden University. Among other recognitions he was awarded a KNAW Research fellowship (1997) and the NWO VIDI (2002) and VICI (2008) grants. He was an inaugural member of the KNAW Young Academy and is co-founder of the Global Young Academy. In 2018 he was elected into the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW). He is board member of various (inter)national organisations and from 2014 till 2019 he was dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology. Hans Hilgenkamp is living together with his partner Joyce and their three children.
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