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Chemistry (joint degree UvA/VU)
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Students

 

Name: Paul Jansen

Internship: Sandia National Laboratory Livermore, San Francisco (USA)

 

'I am now living in the country where Burger King rules and Coca Cola is the drink of choice. I’m doing an internship in the US. San Francisco has a great climate and mellow atmosphere, making it an amazing place to be. But, of course, I’m really here for the science. Livermore is about 60 km east of San Francisco. The city revolves around the two major government-run research labs, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Sandia National Laboratory Livermore. I’m working at Sandia. I’ve started an experiment we hope will produce super-cold molecular deuterium (T ~ 500 mK). The technique we’re using is based on collisions between a D2 molecule and a helium atom. When these two particles collide, there is a chance that the molecule will rebound with an equivalent speed in the opposite direction of the centre-of-mass velocity of the collision. Then the molecules stop moving in the lab frame. This technique also works for particles of unequal mass, because the ‘extra’ impulse can be captured by striking the molecule rotationally. It’s extremely interesting research in a great location, and a fantastic experience. I can heartily recommend studying abroad to everyone.'