Q-Team: Rousing new interest in the basics

Ask questions and look beyond your own study horizons: that is the opportunity the Q-Teams of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin offer. A new group is now set to start at the initiative of an HZB PhD student.

A motley, interdisciplinary crew of chemistry, physics, mathematics, informatics and engineering science students will be jointly researching the electron interactions between quantum dots. For this concept, Axel Molle has put together a Young Investigator Group at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin. Molle is a PhD student in the Volkswagen Foundation-funded Freigeist Group of Annika Bande at the HZB Institute of Methods for Material Development, and is soon to be a lecturer at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. In the summer semester of 2017, he will be supervising a so-called Q-Team.

Q stands for “a creative blank slate and the opportunity to ask your own questions, to query that which is accepted as given, to go in quest of your own solutions, and to gain experience and acquire qualifications,” as the HU bologna.labs programme describes it. Molle’s interdisciplinary Q-Team will be discussing and researching the topic of “Intermolecular Coulomb Electron Capture in Quantum Dot Pairs”. It is set to start in April with at least ten students from the universities of Berlin.

“So far, there are very few Q-Teams in the natural sciences,” Molle says. In this semester, apart from his project, one group was selected in the agricultural sciences and eight were selected in the humanities and legal sciences.

For 30-year-old Molle, the Q-Teams are a little-known and yet major opportunity for young researchers in the natural sciences. “While I was studying physics, I worked as a volunteer in the experimental lab, and that enriched my way of thinking. I would really like to offer that to other students.” Last year, Sean Berglund and Aafke Bronneberg of the Institute for Solar Fuels already jointly led a Q-Team for HZB.

More information about the project can be found on the HU website