Another memorable moment was positioned some months before the very end of his work as a PhD, leading to one of his main results. Chris worked on alternative STS methods allowing him to perform experiments in electrochemical environments, unhindered by strict vacuum conditions or special hardware interventions. ‘While performing experiments in water and alcohol based liquid environments, I observed clear tunneling effects, or phenomena quite similar,’ he says. ‘I was really surprised by this, and very glad being able to characterize the exponential features, corroborating the tunneling effect was actually there.’
Here again the preparations for the experiments were the main part of the huge scientific efforts Chris had to undertake. When ready, the actual measurements only took two afternoons. Chris: ‘In order to analyze the data properly and come up with a coherent story for the last chapter, I was allowed to work on that in some extra time.’
Chris published his findings in leading journals such as: Physical Review Letters B, Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Advances, and Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology. His first publication was a paper based on results obtained during his master’s assignment, working for the Physics of Interfaces and Nanomaterials (PIN) group already at that moment.
Chris: ‘During the PhD period my work shifted towards performing measurements using scanning tunneling methods as an independent researcher. I was able to explore the physical boundaries, and extended my knowledge towards electrochemical layers and samples, adding complexity as compared to performing experiments under vacuum conditions. The collaboration with the Mesoscale Chemical Systems group also contributed to further widen my horizon.’