Meet the People: Luisa Wartner

After finishing high school and subsequent one-year orientation studies in Berlin, Luisa decided to study nanoscience at the university of Hamburg. Towards the end of her Bachelor studies, she went to the University of Windsor in Canada for a research internship on the incorporation of drugs into HOFs (hydrogen bonded organic frameworks) before returning to Hamburg for her Master’s degree.

In March 2023, she was awarded the Lieselotte Templeton Prize for her Bachelor’s thesis at the annual conference of the DGK. Reason enough to introduce her here.

Luisa, please give us a brief overview of your work.

My bachelor thesis was generally about synthesizing anisotropic Ytterbiumferrite microparticles. Ytterbiumferrite has particularly good photocatalytic properties, which we hope to further improve by controlling the crystal facets present on the particle surfaces. My goal was to investigate the influence of mineralizer and additive concentration on the formed particle morphology in order to obtain different anisotropic particles with as many different crystal facets as possible. The formed particle morphologies, present crystal facets, and purity of the samples were examined by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and the comparison of the reflection intensities of the six main crystal facet groups of Ytterbiumferrite collected by Powder X-Ray Diffractometry (XRD).

In total, I was able to obtain four different particle morphologies, which are now being investigated for their photocatalytic activity.

How did you come to study nano sciences?

I came across it by chance during my orientation studies and was immediately fascinated. It was the first time I had heard anything about nanomaterials and their special properties. Before that, I thought of studying chemical engineering, because for me this seemed to be the perfect combination of my favorite high school subjects, mathematics and chemistry. However, I could never really get comfortable with the idea of working on large-scale industrial processes. This was one reason why I immediately liked nano sciences, which was only strengthened by the topicality of the research field with still a lot of room for development, the diversity of directions in which one can specialize, and Hamburg as a very good research location with many opportunities.

What was the most fun part of your bachelor thesis?

Definitely taking the SEM images, which was also one of the most exhausting parts, because it almost never worked properly right away. However, it was so fascinating to look at the individual particles of powders that are hardly distinguishable to the human eye and to see that in one sample all particles are cube-shaped and in another one with a little less additive suddenly stars appear between impurities that we did not expect at all.