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30 under 30: Finding Beauty in Luminescence

Meet Chantal Pia Lorbeer, one of the promising young chemists attending the 2013 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting



Courtesy of Chantal Pia Lorbeer

Each year hundreds of the best and brightest researchers gather in Lindau, Germany, for the Nobel Laureate Meeting. There, the newest generation of scientists mingles with Nobel Prize winners and discusses their work and ideas. The 2013 meeting is dedicated to chemistry and will involve young researchers from 78 different countries. In anticipation of the event, which will take place from June 30 through July 5, we are highlighting a group of attendees under 30 who represent the future of chemistry The following profile is the 13th in a series of 30.


Name: Chantal Pia Lorbeer
Age: 27
Born: Bochum, Germany
Nationality: German

Current position: Manager of the European project LUMINET of the 7th Framework Program, Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) at Ruhr University Bochum in Germany
Education: Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Master’s degree in chemistry (specialization in functional materials) and a PhD in inorganic chemistry from Ruhr University Bochum

What is your field of research?
My research focuses on size-property and structure-property relationships of insulating nanoscale materials and their luminescent properties. I also try to find new phosphors for mercury-free lighting applications such as compact fluorescent lamps or light-emitting diodes. Lighting consumes about 20 percent of the electrical energy produced worldwide, so there is huge potential for conserving energy in this field.

What drew you to chemistry, and to that research area in particular?
My chemistry teacher in school nominated me for a summer school about light and colors. Although the topic was addressed by biological, physical, medicinal and chemical approaches, chemistry attracted me most. The combination of synthesis, trends and possible learning opportunities provoked my interest. My current research area—luminescence—is a beautiful way that life uses energy. Nothing matches the beauty of the moment when your sample glows in the dark or emits a bright red or green light after a day of hard work.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I would still like to be devoted to research at the intersectionof chemistry, physics, and material science. I believe that we need to combine our knowledge and different approaches to further advance science and cope with the social and economic issues that will arise in the future.
 
Who are your scientific heroes?
Historical: Marie Curie and Richard Feynman; more recently in my research area: George Blasse and Andries Meijerink for writing excellent educational books and papers.

What is your dream study or experiment? If you had unlimited resources, what kind of research would you conduct?
I would like to couple transmission electron microscopy with luminescence spectroscopy and other spectroscopic techniques in order to obtain deep insights into nanoscale (inorganic) luminescent centers and the effect of defects, crystallinity and particle size on the materials’ properties.

What activities outside of chemistry do you most enjoy?
My hobbies are photography, Latin American dance and ballroom dance.

What do you hope to gain from this year’s Lindau meeting?
I look forward to learning how a successful research story develops over time and what the Nobel laureates can teach young researchers like us. I also hope that new collaborations and friendships can arise in this stimulating atmosphere.

Are there any Nobelists whom you are particularly excited to meet?
I am particularly excited to meet Daniel Shechtman and Alex Müller. They both started a new chapter in science. I am very interested in quasicrystals and superconductors, even though they are not directly connected to my primary research interests.

 

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12. Thomas Lunkenbein
30 Under 30:
Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting
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14. Jennifer Meyer

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