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Information about the lectures of the CUI Graduate Days 2015

Here you can find further information about the lectures of the CUI Graduate Days 2015 like abstracts and eventually the notes or slides of the lecturers.


Morning long courses (Mon-Wed, 9:30-12:30)

Ultrafast phenomena in condensed matter systems: Prof. Thomas Elsaesser (Max-Born-Institute, Berlin, Germany)

This lecture combines an introduction in nonlinear light-matter interactions on ultrashort time scales with a discussion of recent results of ultrafast science. The following topics will be addressed:

–       Nonlinear resonant and nonresonant light-matter interactions

–       Generation of ultrashort pulses and experimental methods

–       Ultrafast processes in liquids and biomolecular systems

–       Nonlinear and quantum-coherent charge transport in solids in the terahertz frequency range

–       Ultrafast structural dynamics of solids mapped by time-resolved x-ray methods.

While theoretical aspects will be discussed, the lecture mainly focuses on experimental results.

Slides of lecture 1, lecture 2, lecture 3, lecture 4, lecture 5, and lecture 6.


Time resolved crystallography: Prof. Arwen Pearson (Universität Hamburg, Germany)

The timescales of interest in biomolecular science span a wide range, from  fast local reaction chemistry occurring on the femtosecond to nanosecond time scales, to the long range motions (changes in macromolecular conformation) over much slower timescales (tens of milliseconds to seconds). These often gate the reaction chemistry and link to biological responses such as signalling or complex assembly. Understanding biological mechanism thus requires understanding the coupling between structure, dynamics, chemistry and function over these time-scales as well as over a range of length scales from the molecular to the supramolecular and beyond. In this series of lectures we will look at the range of dynamic processes occuring in living organisms and discuss the biophysical tools that can be used to probe these, illustrated with a series of case studies. We will also discuss the peculiar challenges that arise in the application of physical and chemical anaytical tools to the study of biological soft matter.


Soft matter and glass physics: Prof. Walter Kob (University of Montpellier, France)

Soft matter refers to materials that are easily deformable at ambient temperatures since the interaction strength between the constituent particles are comparable with the thermal energy scale. Important examples are colloids, polymers, foams, gels, liquids crystals, as well as many biological systems, i.e. materials that are ubiquitous in our daily life (plastics, cosmetics, food, etc.). Since the particles of most soft materials have a non-trivial shape (polymers) or are not of strictly identical size (colloids), the material they form is usually not crystalline but amorphous, i.e. a glass. In order to understand these materials it is therefore necessary to understand the properties of viscous liquids and glassy materials, systems that from the point of view of theory are rather difficult to handle.

In these lectures I will first give an introduction to the physics of soft matter and how their properties can be characterized on the microscopic as well as the macroscopic level. I then will present the theoretical approaches that are used to describe these complex materials. Subsequently I will discuss the phenomenon of the glass transition and how it relates to the properties of soft materials as well as other type of glasses.

Slides of lecture 1, lecture 2, lecture 3, and lecture 4.


Afternoon short courses (Mon-Wed, 14:00-15:30)

Strongly correlated systems in condensed matter and ultracold atoms: Prof. Rosario Fazio (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, Italy)

1) Phase diagram(s) of interacting bosons on a lattice
2) Non-equilibrium properties – adiabatic dynamics
3) Quantum quenches

In the first lecture I will introduce the basic models of strongly interacting systems on a lattice, I will discuss how they can be realised in optical lattice and (in the case of bosonic systems) their equilibrium phase diagram. In the second and third lectures I will move to non-equilibrium. In the second lecture I will discuss the so called Kibble-Zurek mechanism when a system is dragged adiabatically through a critical point. I will conclude the third lecture by discussing how/when a system thermalises after a quantum quench.

Slides of the lecture


Electron microscopy: Dr. Rudolph Reimer (Heinrich Pette Institute, Hamburg, Germany)

Electron microscopy (EM) is currently undergoing a revival. Recent developments in the fields of cryo EM and volume EM help to circumvent the obstacles of classical electron microscopy and open a complete new view on many current research topics. The lecture will give an overview over the principles and historical developments in electron microscopy, the main problems of classical EM and modern solutions to them. Cryo-techniques and 3D EM will be discussed in detail. A strong focus will be put on the preparation of biological samples, with intent to keep them in a “lifelike” state. All topics will be illustrated with examples from recent research projects.

Slides of lecture 1, lecture 2, lecture 3, and lecture 4.


Ultrafast dynamics in nano-magnetic systems: Prof. Ralf Röhlsberger (Desy, Hamburg, Germany)

The manipulation of magnetic moments on nanoscale dimensions and ultrashort timescales has developed into a fascinating research topic in modern magnetism, not only due to its technological relevance for magnetic data storage and retrieval, but also for the understanding of the underlying principles of magnetization dynamics. This field is of particular importance nowadays when it comes to replace the electric charge by the magnetic spin as elementary carrier for information which could form the basis for a spin-based information technology of the future.

Time scales in magnetism reach from geological periods of the Earth’s magnetic field reversal down to the femtosecond regime that is related to the exchange interaction between individual magnetic spins. The quest for increasingly faster speeds of information processing in magnetic media together with the intrinsic limitations that are connected with the generation of magnetic field pulses by electric currents have initiated intense searches for ways to control magnetization by other means than magnetic fields. Here the interaction of ultrashort pulses of light with magnetic materials is of paramount importance.

From the discovery of subpicosecond demagnetization over a decade ago to the recent demonstration of magnetization reversal by femtosecond laser pulses, the manipulation of magnetic order by ultrashort pulses of light has become a fundamentally challenging topic with a potentially high impact for future spintronics, data storage and manipulation, and quantum computation. Understanding the underlying mechanisms implies understanding the interaction of photons with charge-, spin-, and lattice degrees of freedom, as well as the exchange of angular momentum between them.

This lecture series will review the manipulation and investigation of magnetic order by electromagnetic waves in a systematic way, ranging from microwaves all the way up to hard x-rays as they are generated by synchrotron radiation sources and x-ray lasers.


Afternoon short courses (Mon-Wed, 16:00-17:30)

Physicists in risk finance: Dr. Oliver Hein, Dr. Tobias Sander, and Dr. Jochen Meyer (d-fine GmbH, Frankfurt, Germany)

  • First day: From Physics to Finance (Dr. Oliver Hein)

Finance has evolved into a highly complex subject affecting the whole economy. The understanding of the complex dynamics of financial products and markets is a strongly needed matter. Physicists are currently in the process of transferring physical ideas and paradigms into the economic context. The lecture outlines the ideas behind it and gives a broad overview of different models and approaches.

Slides of the lecture

  • Second day: Introduction to the Measurement and Management of Market Risk (Dr. Tobias Sander)

Financial institutions are exposed to market risk whenever changes of market prices can impact their financial bottom line. For most banks prominent market risk drivers include interest and foreign exchange rates, commodity and equity prices, as well as credit spreads. This talk gives an introduction to the definition of market risk, the financial instruments it typically arises from, and statistical modelling approaches to quantitatively measure and control it.

Slides of the lecture

  • Third day: Introduction to Credit Risk (Dr. Jochen Meyer)

Looking at the lending activities of financial institutions, credit risk is the most relevant risk to be managed. Although the field of credit risk modelling has evolved substantially during the last decade, there is still a lot of room for new approaches, basically because of a substantial change in the business environment and many new regulations. This talk gives an introduction to basic assumptions and the most common statistical models used in credit risk management.

Slides of the lecture


LabVIEW: Mr. Mike Kesselmeier (National Instruments, Hamburg, Germany)

LabVIEW software is ideal for any measurement or control system. Also LabVIEW is the ideal development environment for innovation, discovery, and accelerated results.

In this lecture it will be explained what is LabVIEW and it will be shown how to programm with the graphical programming-language G.

The first part is especially for all LabVIEW-Rookies who never saw LabVIEW before.

In the second part it will be discussed how to control measurement devices like oscilloscopes. For example how can be used drivers or examples of the device manufacturers. An other point will be the implementation of the VISA-API.

The last day will be focused on programming architectures like Queues/Notifiers and Case Structures.


Management of collaborative research projects / Project management: Ms. Monica Schofield (TuTech Innovation GmbH, Hamburg)

This workshop provides a hands-on introduction to the art of managing multi-disciplinary, multi-organisational research projects. Horizon 2020 is used as a model, but the approach is applicable to multi-partner projects. It is targeted at researchers and management support staff who may find themselves in a management role, but also those who perhaps just need to know about management involves. This workshop is also suitable as a complementary skills course in project management for young researchers. The workshop will follow the form of lectures followed by group exercises with discussion feedback. It aims to be very practical an interactive in nature, giving students skills and understanding that they themselves can apply rather than theory on project management.

The lectures will be given in English. Groups may discuss in German if preferred.

First session: A short introduction to the basics of project management

  • Project management
  • Role of the coordinator
  • Basic management issues

Second session: Keeping control

  • Project governance
  • Effective communication
  • Project controlling
  • Managing multicultural teams

Third session: Dealing with conflicts and crises

  • Root causes of project difficulties
  • Handling conflicts
  • Managing expectations and completion

Summary, conclusions, feedback Q&A.

Note that for this course the maximum number of participants is 20.

Slides of the lecture 1, lecture 2, and lecture 3.



Objectives – Choices – Ideas. (Setting goals, making decisions and stimulating creativity): Mr. Rob Thompson (RTTA – Outstanding Interpersonal Skills for Research Scientists, Frankfurt, Germany)

A PhD is a huge undertaking and often the freedom that you are given can result in lack of direction rather than full motivation. Not having clear goals, being unable to decide how to progress while worrying that there is a better unexplored route will reduce anyone’s motivation. Being able to set appropriate goals, make timely decisions and think outside the box are skills essential for the progression and achievement of your PhD.

In the 3 separate workshop sessions, participants will learn useful, easy-to-follow guidelines which will enable them to:

1.    Make effective use of their time by setting productive and realistic goals.
2.    Be more efficient by being able to make appropriate and timely decisions.
3.    Think creatively to be able to generate the innovative ideas needed to solve the new problems encountered.

These workshops will teach participants techniques to be more efficient and productive.

Workshop style
The workshops draws on the personal experience of all participants as well as that of the trainer, thereby ensuring that the training is specific for and relevant to the participants’ individual needs. The workshop will be a structured discussion forum to facilitate ideas and develop strategies. The workshop will be very interactive. Expect to be asked lots of questions, expect to be challenged, expect to participate!

Note that for this course the maximum number of participants is 10.