Crystal Growth Prize 2003

Dr. Raoul van Gastel wins NVKG Crystal Growth Prize 2003

During the annual meeting on November 14, 2003, the NVKG Crystal Growth Prize 2003 was awarded to Dr. Raoul van Gastel.

He received this prize for his thesis “The atomic slide puzzle: Vacancy-mediated diffusion of a surfactant”. This work was carried out at the FOM Institute Amolf and Leiden University in the group of Prof. dr. Frenken. The jury, consisting of Prof. dr. Witkamp (TU Delft), dr. Grimbergen (DSM, Zwolle) and Prof. dr. Vlieg (KU Nijmegen) was very impressed by the quality, the combination of experiment and theory and the presentation of this research.

The main message in Raoul van Gastel’s thesis is that the diffusion of vacancies plays an important role in surface diffusion and thus in crystal growth. This unexpected and important discovery was made using STM and has changed our view of surfaces forever. Raoul van Gastel’s merit is not only that he has discovered this mechanism, but also that he has modeled and quantified it in detail in collaboration with theoretical physicists. Moreover, he has elegantly marketed this mechanism by presenting it as an atomic sliding puzzle. The quality of this work has been internationally recognised, including publications in the top journals Nature and Physical Review Letters.

Currently dr. Raoul van Gastel works at the University of Twente, where his research includes nanoscale ordering using Low-Energy Electron Microscopy (LEEM), a topic on which he also gave a lecture at the annual meeting.

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