Public Lecture: Beyond Nano-Tech: Particle Beams Drive Molecular Engineering and Ato-Technology

Date: April 6, 2017 (Thursday)
Time: 5:30 pm (light refreshments from 5 pm)
Venue: Wang Gungwu Theatre, Graduate House, HKU
Medium: English
Speaker: Dr Gregory A Chass
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, UK


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  • Public Lecture: Beyond Nano-Tech: Particle Beams Drive Molecular Engineering and Ato-Technology


Neutrons are found in the nuclei of atoms, unlike protons and electrons they do not carry any charge. The fact that electrons can be used in an electron microscope is familiar, but what is less well known is that neutron beams can also be used to ‘look at’ matter.

Like billiard balls colliding, neutrons scatter off the atomic nucleus when fired at matter, providing very high resolution of the atomic-level structure of solids, liquids and gases at any temperature. Changes to the speed, and thus momentum, of the neutrons before and after these collisions gives scientists an unparalleled view of the atomic movements and vibrations. Exciting challenges arise in relating these atomic motions with the functions and applications of the systems under study.

There are very few facilities in the world that use neutrons like this. One is being developed in Dongguan near Shenzhen. The ultramodern Chinese Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS, Dongguan, PRC) and the European Spallation Source (ESS, Lund, SE) will bring agenda-changing power to molecular and materials neutron science, and greatly expand our ability to rationally engineer molecular level architectures.

The talk provides an overview of the background and application of neutron science in tackling global problems in materials, energy and health at the atomic-level – and the exciting career opportunities arising. 

About the speaker

Dr Gregory Chass received his BSc in Chemistry from University of Toronto, Canada and PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from University of Szeged, Hungary. After research fellowships in USA, France and Spain and a visiting professorship in Beijing, he became lecturer (Assistant Professor) in University of Wales, UK. In 2011 he moved to Queen Mary University of London, UK where he is now Reader of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry. His research focuses on anti-oxidants in red wine and green and puer tea, in addition to ancient and modern (bio)cements, using a combination of quantum chemical computations and neutron/muon beam experiments. 

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