ICSP at the “Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften”

The “Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften” in Erlangen took place on October 21st. The ICPS presented the basic aspects of crystallography and gave an introduction into our research at the exhibition in the physics department.

The afternoon started with a children program where kids from the age of three up to the age of 16 could build their own crystal shapes out of paper, do some diffraction experiments and investigate sugar crystals of different sizes. Big attractions were the experiments with sodium acetate showing fast crystallization and the visualization of the magnetic field lines with iron nanoparticles. In a playful way, the kids could experience the piezo-effect by pushing on crystal platelets that light up LEDs of different colors.

From 6 pm till 1 am, the program was adapted for the adult audience. The dependence of physical properties of nanoparticles on the particle size was demonstrated successfully using the fluorescence of CdSe nanoparticles. The explanation of diffraction and properties of the Fourier transformation lead to basic discussions on how to solve structures of crystals.

As an interactive highlight, the grid of the touch screen of modern smartphones could be characterized on the spot using a laser pointer and the smartphone in reflection geometry.
The exhibition was a full success: There was no quiet minute in the ICPS booth, at all times there were visitors eager to learn about crystallography and its applications. We hope that in this way our research was made more accessible and interesting for the general public.