Barbara Lechner reports from The 18th International Vacuum Congress (IVC-18)

Eric Rideal winner Barbara Lechner sends her report from The 18th International Vacuum Congress (IVC-18) was held from 23 - 27 August 2010 in the International Convention Center in Beijing, China.

'The International Convention Centre is beautifully located close to the new Olympic stadium in Beijing. As one of the biggest meetings in Surface and Vacuum Science, IVC brings together researchers and students from all over the world, thus promoting communication and collaboration among different groups. Support from the Sir Eric Rideal Travel Bursary gave me the opportunity to attend IVC-18 and present my own work to an international audience.

I had the opportunity to present my own work in a talk entitled 'The dynamics of thermally activated motion of cyclopentadienyl and pyrrole on Cu(111)' on the second day of the conference. The main aims of this talk were to present my study of the atomic-scale motion of organic molecules on metal surfaces, as well as promote the unique – but not yet very widely known – Helium Spin-Echo Spectrometer developed by the Surface Physics Group at Cambridge. I have received good feedback for my talk and was asked several interesting questions which opened up valuable discussions and new ideas.

Over a total of five days more than 2000 participants from all over the world presented their work in about 1500 talks in eleven parallel sessions and countless posters. A wide selection of topics was covered, ranging from Surface Science to Thin Films and from Surface Engineering to Vacuum Technology. This allowed me not only to attend talks of particular interest to my own research – such as the sessions on 'Surface and Adsorbate Systems' – but also to learn more about topics not of immediate relevance to my current work yet interesting on a broader perspective and to broaden my general knowledge in the field.

The structure of the conference with several coffee breaks and long combined buffet lunch breaks/poster sessions promoted networking with fellow researchers from all over the world. I had the opportunity to talk to numerous students from other universities about their work and studies, as well as several senior researchers about their fields of research and their respective groups. This networking opportunity turned out to be very beneficial for my current research in terms of gathering new ideas and meeting potential new collaborators, and equally for finding perspective for my future career. In addition, the impressive exhibition at IVC-18 was informative and might prove helpful for future projects involving the design, construction, and maintenance of the experimental equipment in our work.

Since I was sent as a delegate representing my research group at this meeting I have also sought dialogue with researchers working on topics relevant to my colleagues' work such as new adsorbate systems on non-metal surfaces. I hope this will allow us as a group to establish new connections with other research groups and obtain ideas for new research. In addition I sought to promote our Helium Spin-Echo Spectrometer to as wide an audience as possible.

Overall, I consider this conference a great success and a valuable experience. I would like express my thanks to both the Sir Eric Rideal Trust and Gonville & Caius College for their financial support enabling me to spend a productive and informative week in Beijing.'

Barbara Lechner,
Cambridge University 

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