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 In Focus

Carbon nanotubes

Published 2000-01-17

Professor Eleanor Campbell, at the Department of Experimental Physics, Chalmers/Göteborg University and Professor Yung Woo Park, Seoul National University, Korea started their STINT supported collaboration in 2003 on the topic of transport studies involving carbon nanotubes. The project has received an annual funding of SEK 600 000.

Our STINT Institutional Grants Programme started in 2003 after some initial contacts with the South Korean group and earlier short-term hosting of Korean students paid with Korean funding. The research area involves electronic and nanoelectromechanical studies of low dimensional systems such as carbon nanotubes and conducting polymers. This is a topical field which is developing extremely quickly at present. The scientific advantage of the collaboration was firstly for the Swedish partner to gain from the expertise of the Korean group in terms of electronic transport measurements and to host extremely talented South Korean students who could contribute to the activities in Göteborg. The advantage for the Korean partner was to obtain access to state-of-the-art nanofabrication facilities (at MC2, Chalmers), to benefit from the work in Göteborg concerning the growth and characterisation of carbon nanotubes as well as theoretical transport and nanoelectromechanical studies and to expose the Korean students to Western culture.

The scientific collaboration has been very successful so far and there has been very good complementarity in the background and expertise of the two partners. Both sides have benefited very much from the intensive exchange and publications in high profile journals such as PRL and Nano Letters have appeared. The combination of know-how made available by the exchange programme allowed us to tackle problems that we would not have been able to do otherwise. In my opinion however the best aspect of this exchange programme is the possiblity it has given me and my students to interact closely with the South Korean students. Four South Korean students have spent periods of at least 3 months each (in two cases considerably longer) working in my laboratory and interacting on a daily basis with my students. They are very talented and hard-working students with an excellent theoretical background knowledge. It has been extremely interesting to observe how both sets of students have reacted to each other. The Korean students have a very different social background and are used to a much more structured and hierarchical society. To begin with they tended to keep very much to themselves and were uncomfortable in communicating with us. This was maybe partly a language problem initially but also uncertainty in how to communicate. It was very obvious that my Swedish students reacted to me and talked to me in a very different way from the Korean students with their professor in Seoul. Now they are much more used to the Swedish way and the communication and collaboration is working very well. Similarly, the Swedish students who spent some time working in the Korean laboratory experienced a major ”culture shock” when first arriving there. Although they had been warned that things were done differently there, I think they were very surprised at just how different it could be. I am sure that this was a very valuable educational experience for them and will stand them in good stead when dealing with Far Eastern colleagues in the future. The generous funding that we have obtained in this programme means that relatively long-term visits are possible. This is important for being able to develop genuine collaboration on a long-term basis.

Among the highlights of our collaboration so far have been the Workshops. The first was held in South Korea at the end of 2003 and the second was held as a satellite meeting of a European Workshop held on a Scottish Island in the summer of 2004. The students have played the major role at these meetings. All have given short talks on their research topics and there has been extensive questioning and discussions. I believe that the senior scientists involved, both from Sweden and from South Korea, were all very pleasantly surprised by the high standard of the presentations and the degree of scietific discussions that went on throughout these meetings. They also helped enormously to induce close social interactions between the Swedish and Korean students. We all have very fond memories of our first experience of Korean karaoke and a very memorable dinner hosted by the Korean students for the Swedish visitors in Seoul.

Eleanor Campbell
Chalmers/Göteborg University

Senast uppdaterad: 05-04-04 13:17

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