MESA+ University of Twente
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Volume 2, 2013

Greek wisdom

People generally think that MESA+ only has to do with research, facilities and spin-offs. But the institute also offers courses for postgraduates, PhD students and undergraduates. Greek Pantelis Bampoulis is such an undergraduate. He is following the MSc programme in Nanotechnology. “I already knew of MESA+ when I was engaged in my bachelor programme research in Greece.”

Why did you come to the Netherlands?
“Ten years ago I started to chat with a Dutch boy on an Internet forum. At first we mainly chatted about football, but later on our discussions turned to politics and our own countries. Ultimately we became friends and he came to Greece with his parents. To help me familiarise myself with my follow-up study the Dutch boy visited three universities of technology for me. Ultimately I chose for the University of Twente. That was because during my bachelor’s study in Greece I kept coming across the name MESA+. They had published the papers I was studying.”

So you were already reading scientific articles during your bachelor’s study?
“Yes, the bachelor phase is quite extensive in Greece. During my final research I made light-emitting materials. I used quantum dots and read articles written by MESA+ experts. That’s how I already knew about the institute.”

Can you tell us something about your study?
“I obtained my bachelors in material sciences in Greece from the University of Patras. In August 2011 I started on my Nanotechnology master’s degree programme at Twente. I passed in all my first-year subjects in one go and am now doing my masters research. If everything goes well I should have completed it in May 2013. I will then do three months of practical training and I hope to graduate at the end of August.”

What’s the subject matter of your research?
“I am growing thin layers of metal on semiconductor surfaces. The metal we are using, for instance, is iridium. We send a substantial electric current through a thread of pure iridium. The thread becomes hot and a small amount of iridium evaporates. We then allow it to precipitate onto a small piece of semiconductor. This allows us to make nanothreads. By changing the conditions and varying the materials we are able to make either short or longer threads. It may sound simple, but I can assure you it’s quite complicated. Everything must be done as accurately as possible and that’s why we use advanced equipment and the best materials. The study itself is a component of the Physics of Interfaces and Nanomaterials group. My daily supervisor is Tijs Mocking; the professor is Harold Zandvliet.”

What’s the atmosphere like in the group?
“There is a good atmosphere. No, I’m not exaggerating. For instance, a short while ago I was in the coffee area. That’s where we often go during breaks. And here in the lab my computer has been transformed into Ork out of The Lord of the Rings. The computer opposite is a Hobbit, and you can find other characters out of the series in other labs. Tijs is my daily supervisor. And Harold regularly comes down from his office on the first floor to our lab on the ground floor. He is always ready to give us useful suggestions and helps us enormously.”

Do you still have time to do other things in addition to your study?
“Well, initially I had little time over. I was usually engrossed in my books. But now that I’m in the lab every day I have some free time in the evenings. Two evenings a week I take Dutch lessons: three hours each evening. And I try to do fitness exercises on two other evenings. My friends are a mix of different nationalities and my girlfriend is from Germany. At the weekends we occasionally go somewhere in Germany or to a Dutch town. Of course, I do miss my family and friends in Greece. But you can’t have everything.”

NAME : Pantelis Bampoulis (1987)
POSITION : Studying for his master’s degree in Nanotechnology. Working on his master’s thesis in the Physics of Interfaces and Nanomaterials group under the supervision of Harold Zandvliet. He is studying metal deposition on semiconductors and attempts to make nanothreads, etc.
PREVIOUSLY: He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Material Sciences from the University of Patras in Greece
MESA+... “was the place I wanted to go to even when I was doing my bachelor’s research in Greece”

MESA+, for education too
MESA+ provides a major part of the nanotechnology lessons at the University of Twente. That starts as early as the bachelor’s programmes, through the master’s programmes, up to and including the graduate school for PhD students and postgraduates. The institute offers the Nanotechnology MSc programme for master’s degree students. MESA+ also participates in many other MSc programmes. The MESA+ Graduate School for Nanotechnology unites above 350 postgraduates and doctoral candidates and is accredited by KNAW, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.