Research Group of Thomas Loerting

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Nobel Prize

October 2017:

The Nobel prize 2017 in chemistry was awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for the development of the cryo-electron microscopy. Using this method, it is possible to image biomolecules in aqueous solution at the molecular scale. The main critical issue for the development of this method was the sample preparation, in particular the cooling of the sample without its destruction. Most notably, ice crystal formation needs to be avoided. However, for a long time it was thought that bulk water cannot be transformed into a non-crystalline, vitrified solid state, because it inevitably and very rapidly forms crystals at -40°C or below.

The breakthrough to solve this problem was achieved by Erwin Mayer in 1980. He came up with a novel method, nowadays called "Hyperquenching", and developed it for about 25 years. This method allows for cooling rates of up to 10 million Kelvin per second, which is sufficient to beat ice crystal formation for pure water samples and all aqueous solutions. Now, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences emphasizes the key role of the hyperquenching method and Erwin Mayer in the scientific background for the 2017 chemistry Nobel prize. From the first breakthrough to his later works Erwin Mayer has often interacted with Jacques Dubochet - even after 2000 samples made in Innsbruck were investigated by Jacques Dubochet under the cryo-electron microsope.

PDF-file The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017

PDF-file Scientific Background on the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017

external link Ultrakalte Mikroskopie hat Wurzeln in Innsbruck - iPoint (University of Innsbruck)


August 2017:

We welcome our group member Johannes back in our group after earning his bachelor's degree in 2016.

In his thesis Johannes focuses on hyperquenching of aqueous solutions and polyamorphism.


August 2017:

We congratulate Alexander and Bernhard for finishing their master's theses.

Alexander will continue his work on Raman spectroscopic examinaton of hydrogen order/disorder transitions in our group as a Ph.D. student. Bernhard will leave us to start his Ph.D. study in Edinburgh. We wish all the best and continued success in his future work.


May 2017:

Our sincerest congratulations to Alina who finished here master's thesis at the University College London.

We enjoyed the very successful time with her and hope to see her soon!


November 2016:

We welcome our new group members Alina and Christina.

In her thesis Alina focuses on vibrational spectroscopy of chemical processes at cryo-conditions while Christina investigates high pressure phases of ice.


Eva-Maria Köck

October 2016:

We welcome Eva-Maria as a new member of our group.

Her research will focus on spectroscopic (in-situ FT-IR) characterization of heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysis with/in water/ice and catalytic activation of water and carbon dioxide.


May 2016:

We congratulate Thomas Loerting for being honored as a Top reviewer for The Journal of Chemical Physics 2015.

More than 8000 experts in the field were evaluated according to the number, the quality and the reliability of their reviews, as well as their timeliness.

external link doi: 10.1063/1.4951669


March 2016:

We welcome our new group members Bernhard and Tobias.

In his thesis Tobias focuses on phase transition of aqueous solutions under extreme conditions while Bernhard´s research topic is the formation of clathrate hydrates.


ÖAW

March 2016:

Congratulations to Violeta and Josef who have been awarded with the DOC Fellowship of the external link Austrian Academy of Science in November 2015.

Now the ceremonial awarding of the DOC Fellowship 2016 has taken place in Vienna.

There they presented the posters of their work, titled “Phase transitions in doped ices” (Violeta) and “Entering water´s no man´s land” (Josef).


Markus Seidl

October 2015:

Our sincerest congratulations to Markus who finished his doctoral studies on October 30.

We wish Markus only the best for the future and thank him for his work and in all times readiness to help and share his knowledge. We hope to see you soon!


Georg Schantl, Julian Fuchs, Juergen Bernard and Sabine Schindler

June 2015:

The faculty of chemistry and pharmacy awarded the Georg und Christine Sosnovsky-Preis 2015 with equal shares to Juergen and Julian Fuchs. The grant is given annually since 1999 to an outstanding dissertation in the faculty. The award was handed over on June 15 by the vice rector for research Sabine Schindler and the coordinator of the grant Prof. Joachim Schantl.

For a German article see external link iPoint (University of Innsbruck).


Foto von Linus Pauling und schematische Darstellung der Kristallstruktur von Eis XII bzw. Eis XIV.

June 2015:

Publikation von Karsten W. Köster, Violeta Fuentes-Landete, Agnes Raidt, Markus Seidl, Catalin Gainaru, Thomas Loerting und Roland Böhmer in der Zeitschrift external link Nature Communications 6 (2015) 7349: Dynamics enhanced by HCl doping triggers full Pauling entropy release at the ice XII–XIV transition.

Eine Beschreibung des Inhalts und der Ergebnisse der PDF-file Originalarbeit ist auf dem external link Informationsportal der Universität Innsbruck (iPoint) zu finden.


Paul Roell Medal

June 2015:

On June 2 Markus was awarded the first price of the Zwick Science Award 2014 Competition.

This competition is announced anually by the manufacturer of our material testing machine external link Zwick GmbH & Co. KG. The most innovative use of a material testing machine is rewarded with the Paul Roell Medal. This year the judges selected Markus' paper Volumetric study consistent with a glass-to-liquid transition in amorphous ices under pressure (bibliographic details, PDF-file Article).

The award celebration was part of the 6th Zwick Academia Day at the ETH Zurich to which we contributed a proceedings paper:

High-performance dilatometry under extreme conditions. Markus Seidl, Alice Fayter, Josef N. Stern, Katrin Amann-Winkel, Marion Bauer, Thomas Loerting; In: Proceedings of the 6th Zwick Academia Day 2015. Published by Zwick GmbH & Co. KG, Ulm 2015.
PDF-file Article


Flag of France

May 2015:

We welcome Flora Aubrée from the Université de Lyon who will join our group for three months. Flora, we hope that you can benefit a lot from your research stay here in Austria!


Philip Handle

April 2015:

We sincerely congratulate Philip for finishing his doctoral studies on April 30!

We thank Philip for his valuable work in our group and wish him all the best for his future endeavours – perhaps as a Post-Doc in Rome!


Phase diagram of disordered forms of water

March 2015:

In water's "no man's land" very interesting physics happen. For example, based on computer simulations a liquid-liquid phase transition has been proposed to occur. However, experimental investigation of the phase behavior in this pressure-temperature region is hampered by rapid crystallization.

In a paper we now show that it is possible to shrink the no-man's land by lifting its low-temperature boundary, i.e. the pressure-dependent crystallization temperature Tx(p). In particular, we investigate two types of high-density amorphous ice and show that the commonly studied unannealed state, uHDA, is much less stable against crystallization than a pressure-annealed state called eHDA! Accordingly, utilizing eHDA enables the study of amorphous ice at significantly higher temperatures. This will boost experiments aiming at, e.g., investigating the proposed liquid-liquid phase transition.

Bibliographic details:
Shrinking water's no man's land by lifting its low-temperature boundary. Markus Seidl, Alice Fayter, Josef N. Stern, Gerhard Zifferer, Thomas Loerting; Phys. Rev. B 91 (2015) 144201.
external link doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.91.144201, PDF-file Article


Awardees of the Preis des Fürstentums Liechtenstein together with representatives

March 2015:

On March 24 Katrin has been awarded with the Preis des Fürstentums Liechtenstein. This grant is given since 1983 to honor excellent research by young scientists working at the two universities of Innsbruck. The award was handed over to Katrin by the universities' rectors Tilmann Märk and Helga Fritsch, and by Arnold Kind as representative of the principality Liechtenstein.

We congratulate Katrin and wish her continuing success at the Stockholms universitet where she has just started to work in the group of Anders Nilsson!

For a German article see external link iPoint (University of Innsbruck).


Phasendiagramm von nicht-kristallinem Wasser

Februar 2015:

Immer noch wird kontrovers diskutiert, warum ausgerechnet Wasser das Molekül des Lebens ist und es sich im Vergleich mit anderen Flüssigkeiten so anomal verhält.

In einem Artikel in den external link Nachrichten aus der Chemie diskutieren wir einen besonders faszinierenden theoretischen Ansatz (vgl. die nebenstehende Abbildung), der die ungewöhnlichen Eigenschaften von Wasser verständlich macht. Wir zeigen, welchen Herausforderungen sich aktuelle experimentelle Arbeiten stellen, um die bereits 1992 vorgestellte Theorie zu testen.

Bibliographische Angaben:
Eine Substanz, zwei Flüssigkeiten. Markus Seidl, Katrin Amann-Winkel, Jürgen Bernard, Thomas Loerting; Nachr. Chem. 63 (2015) 111–115.
external link doi:10.1002/nadc.201590041, PDF-file Article


through-barrier tunneling

November 2014:

Publikation von Catalin Gainaru, Alexander L. Agapov, Violeta Fuentes-Landete, Katrin Amann-Winkel, Helge Nelson, Karsten W. Köster, Alexander I. Kolesnikov, Vladimir N. Novikov, Ranko Richert, Roland Böhmer, Thomas Loerting und Alexei P. Sokolov in der Zeitschrift external link Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (2014) 17402–17407: Anomalously large isotope effect in the glass transition of water.

Der folgende Text und die Abbildung wurden mit Genehmigung von der external link Fakultät Physik der TU Dortmund übernommen:

Wieso kann Wasser bei Temperaturen von -157 °C flüssig sein? Und warum ändert sich in Wasser die Zeitskala der Molekülbewegung beim Einfrieren in die amorphe Phase so wenig wie bei keiner anderen Flüssigkeit? Wie Catalin Gainaru, Karsten Köster und Helge Nelson aus dem Team um external link Roland Böhmer (Dortmund) zusammen mit den Gruppen um Thomas Loerting (Innsbruck) und external link Alexei Sokolov (Oak Ridge) in der Fachzeitschrift PNAS berichten, sind dafür Quanteneffekte verantwortlich. Diese bewirken, dass ein Austausch der Protonen durch Deuteronen die Glasübergangstemperatur von Wasser mehr als zehnmal stärker ändert als bei "normalen" Flüssigkeiten. Bei H2O, also bei leichtem Wasser, fallen Tunneleffekte zunächst überraschenderweise viel stärker ins Gewicht als bei schwerem D2O Wasser. Rechnungen zeigen: Ohne Quanteneffekte wäre der Glasübergang von ultrakaltem Wasser etwa 35 Grad höher!


Juergen Bernard and Prof. Hubert Huppertz

November 2014:

Juergen has been awarded with the Dissertations-Förderungspreis 2014 for his Ph.D. thesis "Solid and gaseous carbonic acid" by the external link Austrian Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Österreichischer Chemiker). It was presented to Juergen on November 6 at this year's general assembly of the Austrian Chemical Society in Vienna. In the picture you can see him receiving the certificate from Prof. Hubert Huppertz.


Picture of the awardees

October 2014:

We congratulate Thomas for being awarded with a Forschungspreis der Stiftung Südtiroler Sparkasse. It has been handed out to him by Karl Franz Pichler, president of the external link Stiftung Südtiroler Sparkasse and by the university's vice rector external link Sabine Schindler on October 31. In the picture you see Thomas with the other awardees. We wish them all successful and especially also joyful further research in future!

For a German article see external link iPoint (University of Innsbruck).


Alice Fayter

October 2014:

We welcome our new group member Alice from Edinburgh/Scotland, who joins our group as Erasmus student from now until June next year. In her thesis Alice focuses on the crystallization of distinct amorphous ices at high pressure.

Best wishes for your work and for your stay in Austria, Alice!


Austrian Physical Society

September 2014:

Katrin has been honoured with the Fritz Kohlrausch-Preis 2014 for her paper entitled Water's second glass transition (bibliographic details). This price is awarded by the external link Austrian Physical Society (Österreichischen Physikalischen Gesellschaft) and honours outstanding work of Post-Docs and other young independent researchers. It was presented to Katrin at this year's annual meeting of the Austrian Physical Society in Pöllau.


Markus Seidl and vice rector Sabine Schindler

July 2014:

On July 1, vice rector external link Sabine Schindler handed Markus the Dr. Otto Seibert-Wissenschafts-Förderungs-Preis by the University of Innsbruck.

Markus received this award for his study From parallel to single crystallization kinetics in high-density amorphous ice which has been published in Phys. Rev. B 88 (2013) 174105 recently. Already a year ago, Markus presented its main results at the 7th International Discussion Meeting on Relaxations in Complex Systems in Barcelona, Spain.


Mont Blanc

June 2014:

From June 1–6, Thomas and Markus attended the conference external link WATER 2014 which took place at the Les Houches Physics School close to Mont Blanc (France).

The focus of this meeting was metastability and nucleation in water. Thomas and Markus contributed a talk and a poster, respectively, discussing both the glass transition of amorphous ices and their stability against crystallization!


Karl Handle

April 2014:

Congratulations to Karl, who finished his diploma studies on April 30!

In his thesis, Karl has studied the crystallization behavior of aqueous droplets. In paticular, he focused on the influence of the chemical environment by studying droplets emulsified in different continuous phases, using several emulsifying agents, too. In addition, Karl aimed at characterizing the size dependence of droplet crystallization. Thus, his work provides a solid basis for all solidification and melting studies on emulsified water and aqueous solutions!


Christian Mitterdorfer during defending his thesis

April 2014:

We sincerely congratulate Christian for finishing his doctoral studies on April 25! The picture shows him during defending his thesis.

We thank Christian for his valuable work in our group and wish him all the best for his future endeavours!


Hinrich Grothe, Klaus Liedl, Thomas Loerting and Juergen Bernard

March 2014:

We sincerely congratulate Juergen for finishing his doctoral studies on March 28! The picture shows Juergen after defending his thesis, celebrating together with external link Prof. Hinrich Grothe, external link Prof. Klaus Liedl and Thomas (from left to right).


Bernhard Massani in front of the vapor deposition apparatus

January 2014:

From October last year on, chemistry student Bernhard Massani has been working in our group on his Bachelor thesis. He studies the formation of clathrates from vapor-deposited amorphous material. In the picture you can see him in our laboratory in front of the vapor deposition apparatus.

Bernhard will graduate soon, and we all wish him the best for his Master studies!


Thomas, Valeria Molinero and Nicolas Giovambattista in Berkeley

January 2014:

In the very beginning of this year, Thomas was invited to participate in the Berkeley Mini Stat Mech Meeting organized by external link David Chandler. One aim of this meeting was to discuss recent approaches to distinguish soft glasses from liquids, a topic that is controversially discussed in the case of, e. g., amorphous ice and water.

Thus, in his presentation Thomas provided an insight into our current experimental work in which we compare the time-scales of relaxation and transformation, respectively, in high-density amorphous ice. He enjoyed the constructive discussions and motivating debates with David Chandler and the other attendees, e. g., external link Valeria Molinero and external link Nicolas Giovambattista (see picture).


Guadalupe Ruiz

December 2013:

Congratulations to Guadalupe who graduated at the external link University of Buenos Aires on December 9!

In her M.Sc. thesis Guadalupe has studied the glass transitions of amorphous solids made from aqueous LiCl solutions, being supervised by Thomas and external link Horacio Corti. Her results will be published soon. We wish Guadalupe all the best and we are looking forward to further joint research in future!


Dielectric loss spectra of HDL for several temperatures

Oktober 2013:

Publikation von Katrin Amann-Winkel, Catalin Gainaru, Philip H. Handle, Markus Seidl, Helge Nelson, Roland Böhmer und Thomas Loerting in der Zeitschrift external link Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110 (2013) 17720–17725: Water's second glass transition.

Presseberichte anlässlich des Erscheinens der PDF-file Originalarbeit sind unter anderem auf dem external link Informationsportal der Universität Innsbruck (iPoint), auf external link science.orf.at, in der PDF-file Süddeutschen Zeitung und der PDF-file Presse am Sonntag zu finden. Außerdem berichteten die Radiosender Ö1 des ORF, audio file MP3 (2 MB, 02:08 min), und radioeins vom RBB, audio file MP3 (6 MB, 06:15 min), darüber.


Thomas in Paris

September 2013:

The Bessel-Award (Humboldt Foundation) helps Thomas to strengthen relationships with scientists in particular in Germany. In September Thomas works as a visiting professer at the TU Dortmund closely with external link Roland Böhmer's research group there. In addition, Thomas could also visit the MPI chemistry in Mainz and get to know external link Ulrich Pöschl's department. Finally, Thomas also gave an invited talk at the external link 19th International Vacuum Congress IVC-19 (section Astronomical Frontiers for Surface Science), which took place in the heart of Paris.


Violeta in the mountains

July 2013:

We congratulate Violeta for finishing her studies at the external link Universitat de València on July 19!

In her M.Sc. thesis Violeta has prepared and characterized doped high-pressure ice phases with emphasis on the transformations taking place therein. We are happy that Violeta continues joining our group by following up with Ph.D. studies. Best wishes from all of us!


Lake Como

July 2013:

From July 8–13, Josef and Thomas attended the external link 187th course of the International School of Physics "Enrico Fermi" in the beautiful village of Varenna, situated right at the shores of Lago di Como in the north of Italy.

A surrounding quite fitting for a course titled Water: Fundamentals as the basis for understanding the environment and promoting technology. Lecturers were some of the world's most renown scientists in the area of research, including Thomas, talking about the amorphous solid phases of water.


Juergen Bernard

June 2013:

Juergen was awarded with a Best Student Paper Award 2013 by the University of Innsbruck for his important contribution to environmental chemistry Formation and stability of bulk carbonic acid (H2CO3) by protonation of tropospheric calcite. It has been published in ChemPhysChem 13 (2012) 3087–3091.

In his work Juergen proposes a novel mechanism by which bulk carbonic acid is produced under conditions relevant to our atmosphere. As can be seen from the picture, Juergen likes to explore high altitude conditions also in his spare time.


Josef during hiking close to Seefeld

March 2013:

In February, our new group member Josef started to work on proton ordering of ices and the low-temperature synthesis and characterization of highly reactive inorganic species. Before, he graduated in chemistry at the external link Universität Münster (Germany). Josef has much experience in solid state nuclear magnetic resonance which he gained within his diploma thesis on perovskites. Therefore, he valuably enriches the methodic know-how of our group!

Of course, Josef also started to investigate ice in nature during hiking trips around Innsbruck. We are happy that Josef joins our group and we wish him successful Ph.D. studies!


Prof. Helmut Schwarz and Thomas

March 2013:

We congratulate Thomas for being awarded with the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the external link Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation, which has been handed out to him by president external link Prof. Helmut Schwarz (see the picture) at the 41st Symposium of the Humboldt-Awardees in Bamberg (Germany) on March 15.

The award is associated with funding of a collaboration with German scientists. Thomas will use this opportunity for studying the dynamics of hydrogen bonds in deeply supercooled amorphous and crystalline ice phases together with external link Prof. Roland Böhmer at the TU Dortmund. They will apply nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and dielectric relaxation spectroscopy that will help to further develop our fundamental understanding of water and ice. We wish Thomas the best for the upcoming research!

For a German article see external link iPoint (University of Innsbruck).


Violeta on a hiking trail in Innsbruck

November 2012:

We welcome our new group member Violeta from Valencia/Spain, who joins our group as Erasmus student since the end of September. In her thesis Violeta focuses on the dynamic and thermodynamic characterization of crystalline high-pressure ice phases and the transformation kinetics between them.

Besides performing great experiments, Violeta also started to enjoy hiking in the mountains near Innsbruck and sightseeing in other cities like Salzburg. We wish Violeta the best for her stay in Austria!


Thomas and Roland Psenner

August–September 2012:

The summer-school external link Microstructures of Ice and Snow took place from August 27 through September 1 in Obergurgl, Austria. The event is sponsored by the ESF research networking programme external link Micro-DICE and organized by Thomas on behalf of the University of Innsbruck.

Students had the opportunity to listen to lectures about snow, ice cores, sea ice, ice in space, ice in the atmosphere, glaciers, microstructures in ice and rocks or life in ice. A sunny field trip to Rotmoosferner, one of the mountain glaciers in the Ötztaler alps, and live snowfall later in the week allowed to study ice and snow not only in the lecture room, but also outdoors. Undergraduates, Graduates and Post-Docs like Guadalupe and Stephan also enjoyed a career-day with some personal insights into the careers of lectures and practical tips how to write proposals by external link Paul Bons (Micro-DICE chairman). The picture shows vice rector external link Roland Psenner, who is responsible for teaching and student agenda and who himself has studied ice, together with Thomas at the welcome reception in Innsbruck.


Conference Site

August 2012:

Markus attended the first external link Gordon-Kenan Research Seminar and the external link Gordon Research Conference on Water & Aqueous Solutions which took place from August 11–17 (Holderness, New Hampshire, USA). At the seminar he gave a talk on the (non)crystallinity of high-density amorphous ice, and at the conference he presented our group's recent results on the glass-to-liquid transition of the same material. Markus enjoyed the inspiring atmosphere and discussions a lot!


measuring team at ISIS

June 2012:

Amorphous solid water (ASW), if deposited under certain conditions, is a highly porous material. To gain more insight into the porous structure neutron diffraction measurements on ASW have been carried out in collaboration with Dr. Helen Fraser, Prof. John L. Finney and Dr. Daniel T. Bowron on NIMROD at the external link Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (ISIS). We are grateful for financial support from ISIS and ESF (project: external link Micro-DICE).

NIMROD: The Near and Intermediate Range Order Diffractometer on the ISIS second target station is characterized by combining small angle scattering and wide angle scattering in a single measurement on one device.


Markus in front of the Chemistry building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

January 2012:

Since January 25, Markus joins the group of external link Mark D. Ediger at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) for 6 months. For this purpose, Markus has been awarded with the Marietta Blau-Fellowship by the external link Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research, conducted by the external link Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research.

Markus has already studied the crystallization behavior of glassy water, especially high-density amorphous ice, in detail here in Innsbruck. Now he will extend his studies to organic glasses made from small molecules like tris-naphthylbenze in the group of Mark Ediger. We hope that Markus will enjoy his stay and extend our very best wishes.


Jänner 2012:

Im Sommer 2011 hielt Markus beim interfakultären Symposion Reduktionismen – und Antworten der Philosophie in Wien einen Vortrag, in dem er aktuelle erkenntnistheoretische Herausforderungen vor dem Hintergrund seiner naturwissenschaftlichen Forschung diskutierte. Sein Vortrag wird Ende Februar/Anfang März in einem Sammelband erscheinen, der sämtliche Beiträge des Symposions enthält.

Buchumschlag

Bibliographische Angaben:
Komplexität und scheinbare Emergenz – Wissenschaftstheoretische Überlegungen in naturwissenschaftlichem Kontext. Markus Seidl;
In: Grießer, W. (Hg.): Reduktionismen – und Antworten der Philosophie. Studien zum System der Philosophie Bd. 9. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2012, 27–44. ISBN: 978-3-8260-4738-1.


Juergen Bernard

December 2011:

On December 1 Juergen was awarded with the Dr. Otto Seibert-Wissenschafts-Förderungs-Preis by the University of Innsbruck for his outstanding work Spectroscopic observation of matrix-isolated carbonic acid trapped from the gas phase. It has been published in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 50 (2011) 1939–1943. Before, Juergen presented his research at the XIX. International Conference on Horizons in Hydrogen Bond Research in Göttingen, Germany.


Left to right: Thomas Loerting, Mark D. Ediger, Markus Seidl and Katrin Winkel

November 2011:

From November 3–5, 2011 our group attended the workshop Phase Transitions and Novel Materials held at the external link Obergurgl University Center located in the Tyrolian alps at an altitude of 1940 meters.

Markus presented an overview of his most recent results on the properties of high-density amorphous ice. We all enjoyed the very interesting program and informal discussions with conference participants from other groups. For example, we have learned much about how to make highly stable glasses from external link Mark D. Ediger (see picture).


Marion Bauer at ISIS

September 2011:

We sincerely congratulate Marion for defending her Ph.D. thesis with highest honors on September 30! Marion studied high pressure water-ice polymorphs as well as clathrate hydrates. Her work yielded to a so far unknown structure of crystalline tetrahydrofuran hydrates with monoclinic symmetry. Another very interesting aspect of her excellent work is the study of pressure amorphization of the former. Some experiments on this topic are still going on and we can expect fascinating results from her future work.


At the banquet in the Vienna city hall

September 2011:

Nearly our whole group attended the external link 8th Liquid Matter Conference in Vienna from September 6–10.

Katrin and Anatoli presented their experimental results in talks, especially the glass-liquid transition in amorphous ice was highly debated. But also the poster session, where Markus, Philip and Christian took part, led to many fruitful discussions. Thomas was involved in the organization and enjoyed the conference and the banquet in the Vienna city hall, just like most of the 800 participants.


Schematic representation of the potential energy surface at 0.5 GPa. Please note the open question emphasized in this diagram.

March 2011:

Many myths surround water, especially because it is so different from almost all other known liquids. It is thought that many of water's fascinating secrets can be revealed by studying water at subzero temperature. Our recent perspective article invited by the editors of external link PCCP provides an overview of the current state of research with a focus on amorphous ices. We address structural relaxation and polyamorphism and try to define criteria distinguishing similar states of different degree of relaxation from fundamentally different states. We show where our frontiers of understanding are and where future research may help in extending these frontiers.

Bibliographic details:
How many amorphous ices are there? Thomas Loerting, Katrin Winkel, Markus Seidl, Marion Bauer, Christian Mitterdorfer, Philip H. Handle, Christoph G. Salzmann, Erwin Mayer, John L. Finney, Daniel T. Bowron; Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 13 (2011) 8783–8794.
external link doi:10.1039/c0cp02600j, PDF-file Article


Komet Hale-Bopp (Foto: E. Kolmhofer, H. Raab; Johannes-Kepler-Observatory, Linz, Austria)

Jänner 2011:

Publikation von Juergen Bernard, Markus Seidl, Ingrid Kohl, Klaus R. Liedl, Erwin Mayer, Óscar Gálvez, Hinrich Grothe und Thomas Loerting in der Zeitschrift external link Angewandte Chemie 123 (2011) 1981–1985: Spektroskopische Beobachtung von matrixisolierter Kohlensäure, abgeschieden aus der Gasphase.

Presseberichte anlässlich des Erscheinens der PDF-file Originalarbeit sind unter anderem auf dem external link Informationsportal der Universität Innsbruck (iPoint) und auf external link science.orf.at zu finden.


Philip Handle and Prof. Hubert Huppertz

November 2010:

Philip has been awarded with the Diplomarbeits-Förderungspreis 2010 for his diploma thesis "Relaxation dynamics in high-density amorphous ice (Relaxationsdynamik in hochdichtem amorphen Eis)" by the external link Austrian Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Österreichischer Chemiker). It was presented to Philip on November 4 at this year's general assembly of the Austrian Chemical Society in Vienna. In the picture you can see him receiving the certificate from Prof. Hubert Huppertz.


Marion and Katrin at the Institute of Low Temperature Science of the Hokkaido University

September 2010:

Katrin and Marion attended the external link 12th International Conference on the Physics and Chemistry of Ice in Sapporo (Japan) from September 5–10. Katrin presented our latest results on amorphous ice, giving a talk in the session Stable and metastable phases of ice, and also presented a poster on this subject. Marion showed a poster about our results in clathrate hydrate studies.

Katrin and Marion really enjoyed the conference, "we met some very nice people and had a lot of fruitful discussions with other ice- and clathrate-researchers". The picture shows them visiting the Institute of Low Temperature Science of the Hokkaido University.


Philip Handle at the Gordon Research Conference 2010

August 2010:

From August 8–13 Philip attended the external link Gordon Research Conference on Water & Aqueous Solutions in Holderness, New Hampshire (USA). He presented a poster titled Structural relaxation times in high-density amorphous ice (HDA) showing most of the work he has done for his diploma thesis. For Philip it was a great experience leading to new connections and knowledge.


measuring team in Grenoble

June/July 2010:

Neutron scattering is a suitable method for studying the microscopic structure of condensed matter. This summer we did neutron scattering experiments at the external link Institute Laue-Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble, France, as well as at the external link Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (ISIS) near Oxford in the United Kingdom. The ILL operates the most intense neutron (reactor) source on Earth, whereas ISIS is a pulsed neutron and muon source.

Measurements on amorphous ice have been carried out on the thermal backscattering spectrometer IN13, in cooperation with the working group of external link Prof. Franz Fujara (TU Darmstadt, Germany). The picture shows the measuring team in Grenoble: Florian Löw (TU Darmstadt), Katrin Winkel and Philip Handle (both University of Innsbruck). Diffraction measurements on clathrates have been done in collaboration with external link Prof. John L. Finney and external link Dr. Daniel T. Bowron on SANDALS (ISIS), which is a diffractometer especially built for investigating the structure of liquids and amorphous materials. We are grateful for financial support from the external link France Focus of the University of Innsbruck (K.W.), the ILL and ISIS.


Tilmann Märk, Katrin Winkel, Karlheinz Töchterle

June 2010:

The faculty of chemistry and pharmacy awarded Katrin with the Georg und Christine Sosnovsky-Preis 2010. The grant is given annually since 1999 to an outstanding dissertation in the faculty. The award was handed over on June 14 by the vice rector for research Tilmann Märk and rector Karlheinz Töchterle, at the presence of the coordinator of the grant Prof. Joachim Schantl.

For a German article see external link iPoint (University of Innsbruck).


Katrin at the fellowship awarding

May 2010:

Katrin was awarded by the external link Austrian Science Fund FWF with a Hertha-Firnberg fellowship. Her new project will run three years and is titled Amorphous ices and their relation to ultraviscous liquids. On May 18 the ceremonial disposition took place in Vienna.


Philip Handle at famelab 2010

April/May 2010:

This year Philip took part in FameLab, which is a competition to find the best new talent in science communication among young scientists. Herein the competitors have to present their scientific projects to a panel of expert judges in only three minutes. The talks should be easily understood, thrilling and precise with respect to the scientific issues presented.

Philip met all these challenges at the audition in Innsbruck on April 21 (external link film recording of the audition-talk) and therefore he accomplished to move into the final contest on May 8 in Vienna (external link film recording of the final-talk), where he achieved the second jury-prize. After the competition the winners were awarded by the Austrian federal minister of science and research Beatrix Karl (see picture). Congratulations to Philip for his remarkable performance!


Katrin Winkel and vice rector Tilmann Märk

April 2010:

The university's management has selected Katrin's doctoral thesis to receive support for publication costs. In a ceremony on April 13 vice rector Tilmann Märk presented the awards to the 17 young scientists whose proposals succeeded. In the picture you can see Katrin receiving the certificate from Prof. Märk.


Michael Elsaesser after his doctoral viva

March 2010:

Congratulations to Michael, who defended his Ph.D. thesis with highest honors on March 24! Michael has developed a novel method of observing the transition from the glassy state to the supercooled liquid state of matter at pressures up to 20 kbar. After benchmarking this method on glycerol he went on to study low-density amorphous ice. In addition to the excellent work described in the thesis Michael did research on a more applied project dealing with the optimization of mechanical properties of ice. In his future Michael plans some more work on mechanical properties of snow and ice. Thanks Michael for having pursued two projects in our group and all the best for your future endeavours!


snow crystals

March 2010:

Maybe those of you waiting eagerly for springtime can accept winter's apologies in the form of these nice snowflakes which were observed and photographed by Thomas on his windowsill a few days ago … Who can spot a five-armed flake?

A closer look to snow crystals (as given by the small insert) can be taken at the marvellous website external link SnowCrystals.com, presenting the photography work of external link Kenneth G. Libbrecht as well as some scientific descriptions.


Thomas und Volksschüler

Februar 2010:

Am 15. Februar bekam unsere Arbeitsgruppe Besuch von zwei Klassen der Volksschulen Rum und St.Nikolaus/Innsbruck, um im Rahmen ihres Projekts Wasser – eines der wichtigsten Elemente auf der Erde Laborexperimente an Wasser durchzuführen. Die Aktivität der jungen Forscherinnen und Forscher wird von der Initiative generation innovation des external link bmvit und des external link bm:ukk zur Förderung von Kindern und Jugendlichen in Naturwissenschaften und Technik finanziell unterstützt.

Zusammen mit Thomas, Katrin, Magdalena, Markus, Christian und Marion konnte den verschiedensten Erscheinungsformen von Wasser und Eis nachgegangen werden. Beispielsweise wurde die Ursache der Bildung von Wolken erforscht, aber auch die Wirkung des Luftdrucks auf den Siedepunkt von Wasser war Gegenstand eines Experiments. Um die Frage nach der Temperatur einer Eis-Wasser Mischung richtig beantworten zu können, bestimmten die Kinder mithilfe eines Thermometers den Zahlenwert. Außerdem versuchten sie zu verstehen, warum im Winter die Straßen weniger glatt sind, wenn man Salz auf die eisige Fahrbahn streut. In anderen Experimenten konnten die "Nachwuchsforscher" die besonderen Eigenschaften von flüssigem Stickstoff erleben und durch seine Verwendung als Kühlmittel innerhalb weniger Sekunden Speiseeis herstellen. Abschließend hielt Prof. Huppertz vom Institut für Allgemeine, Anorganischen und Theoretische Chemie eine spannende Experimentalvorlesung ab, in der er unter anderem farbenprächtige chemische Reaktionen in wässrigen Lösungen präsentierte.


Pro Scientia

February 2010:

From March on Markus will be fellow of external link Pro Scientia, an Austrian organization supporting interdisciplinary discussions between highly talented students. In addition to providing financial benefits, Pro Scientia assists its scholars by organizing a summer academy every year. During this week renowned scientists give lectures and the opportunity for discussions. Additionally, periodic meetings during the year provide insight into various scientific disciplines by means of presentations given by fellows from different faculties.


Liquid coating around ice crystals

Februar 2010:

Publikation von Anatoli Bogdan, Mario J. Molina, Heikki Tenhu, Erwin Mayer und Thomas Loerting in der Zeitschrift external link Nature Chemistry, 2 (2010) 197–201: Formation of mixed-phase particles during freezing of polar stratospheric ice clouds.

Presseberichte anlässlich des Erscheinens der PDF-file Originalarbeit stehen unter anderem auf dem external link Informationsportal der Universität Innsbruck (iPoint) und auf external link AlphaGalileo zur Verfügung, außerdem ist ein Artikel in der PDF-file Presse erschienen. Eine kurze Zusammenfassung auf Englisch stellt Nature Chemistry im Rahmen der external link Advance online publication zur Verfügung.


Markus Seidl with Sigrid Jalkotzy-Deger and Beatrix Karl at the fellowship awarding

January/February 2010:

With beginning of the new year Markus startet his research project "The nature of amorphous ices (Das Wesen amorpher Eisformen)" within the framework of the DOC-fellowship which he has been awarded with by the external link Austrian Academy of Sciences (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften). This project will focus on basic research regarding structural and dynamic properties of amorphous ices. As there is still controversial debate in literature on the question wheter, e.g., high-density and low-density amorphous ice correspond to distinct liquid states or rather represent nanocrystalline materials, Markus is aiming at answering this question among others.

In the picture you see Markus together with the vice president of the Austrian Academy of Sciences Sigrid Jalkotzy-Deger (left) and the Austrian federal minister of science and research Beatrix Karl (right) at the fellowship awarding in Vienna on February 26.


Philip Handle

January 2010:

Congratulations to Philip, who defended his M.Sc. thesis with highest honors on January 22! Philip has studied structural relaxation in amorphous ice at high pressures and impressed the thesis committee with his devotion and diligence. Without these qualities the significant advance in our understanding of supercooled and glassy water detailed in his thesis would not have been possible. We are very glad he has decided to stay in our group for his Ph.D. thesis and look forward to more excellent work.


Markus Seidl

November 2009:

Markus has been awarded with the Diplomarbeits-Förderungspreis 2009 for his diploma thesis "The glass-to-liquid transition in high-density amorphous ice (Der Glasübergang in hochdichtem amorphen Eis)" by the external link Austrian Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Österreichischer Chemiker). It was presented to Markus on November 4 at this year's general meeting of the Austrian Chemical Society in Vienna.


Michael Elsaesser riding the bike

October 2009:

This year he got the title: Michael won the Austrian Academic Championchips 2009 in mountain duathlon, which were hold in Feistritz/Kärnten (Austria). The associated event "Kosiak Löwe" as well as the contest itself were organized perfectly by the external link University Sports Institut of the University Klagenfurt.


Austrian Physical Society

September 2009:

Katrin's Ph.D. thesis "Study of amorphous–amorphous transitions in water" has been honoured with the Karlheinz Seeger Preis 2009. This price is awarded by the external link Austrian Physical Society (Österreichischen Physikalischen Gesellschaft) annually since 1994 and honours outstanding theses within the field of solid state physics. It was presented to Katrin on September 4 at this year's annual meeting of the Austrian Physical Society in Innsbruck.


Juergen Bernard

May 2009:

Juergen has finished his diploma studies on May 29 and will continue his work on low-temperature synthesis of highly reactive inorganic species within Ph.D. studies – best wishes for his aims!


Thomas Loerting

May 2009:

Thomas was voted into the Junge Kurie of the external link Austrian Academy of Sciences (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften) as one of seven new members. On May 13 his membership was announced in the Feierlichen Sitzung in the presence of the Austrian Federal President Dr. Heinz Fischer and the Federal Minister for Science and Research Dr. Johannes Hahn. We wish Thomas all the best for his new engagement!


Katrin after her doctoral viva

April 2009:

We congratulate Katrin for finishing her Ph.D. studies with the final exam ("Rigorosum") on Wednesday, April 29. In the picture you see Katrin, Thomas and Erwin (from left) discussing on her doctorate which shows onto its top the "no man's land" of water, much ice and some tools Katrin used for discovering waters anomalies.


Markus Seidl

April 2009:

Markus, co-worker of our group since summer 2006, graduated at the external link University of Vienna on April 2. After passing the final exams with distinction he starts his Ph.D. studies at the external link University of Innsbruck. In this work Markus is going to carry forward investigations on the nature of amorphous ices, both using experimental and computational methods. The latter one will be done in collaboration with external link Gerhard Zifferer from the University of Vienna.


certificate

November 2008:

We are grateful to all visitors at the Langen Nacht der Forschung (Long Night of Research) on Saturday, November 8, for their great openness towards scientific questions and their interest in basic research. Moreover we are glad about their encouragement – thanks for all your SMS-votes! This has been an important contribution for getting awarded with the second prize within the category "Science Region Innsbruck" at the station-contest Lupe! On November 22 we received a certificate and a cheque for celebrating the achieved result.


stamp with the portrait of Thomas Loerting

November 2008:

On Monday, November 10, Thomas was honoured for his contribution to Cutting Edge Research made in Austria, associated with being awarded by the external link European Research Council (ERC) earlier this year (Starting Grant). At a celebration in Vienna, hosted by the external link Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research, Thomas was presented with a special issue stamp of the Österreichische Post showing his portrait. A German article by the Austria Presse Agentur is available as PDF-file PDF.


Michael Elsaesser riding the bike

October 2008:

Michael has become vice-champion in duathlon at the Austrian Academic Championships 2008 hosted by the external link University Sports Institut of the University Klagenfurt on October 11. The picture shows Michael riding the bike!


European Research Council

Summer 2008:

Thomas was awarded by the external link European Research Council (ERC) with the so called Starting Grant! For further details you can have a look at the related PDF-file press-release and the PDF-file list of awardees.


celebration of Thomas Loertings venia docendi

June 2008:

After his habilitation in Physical Chemistry at the University of Innsbruck in April, Thomas was invited by the University to celebrate his "venia docendi" on June 12. We wish him much pleasure in academic teaching and the best for his lectureship!


Markus Seidl at famelab 2008

April 2008:

Markus took part in FameLab, a national talent competition to find the best new talent in science communication. FameLab contestants have just a few minutes to present a scientific idea to a panel of expert judges in an engaging way.

At the auditions in Vienna on April 11 Markus first spoke about waters anomalous behaviour, showing a density-maximum at four degree Celsius (Eine Antwort auf das Dichtemaximum von Wasser?). In the second round his aim was to point out that science ist more than just science due to its philosophical background (Der kreative Moment naturwissenschaftlicher Erkenntnis).


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