14 September 2010

New Assistant Professor to toughen theories for molecular electronics

By Jes Andersen

With a PhD in molecular conductance from the University of Sydney, Australia, and with three and a half years of postdoctoral experience at Northwestern University in the USA the new Department of Chemistry assistant professor Gemma Solomon comes highly qualified, and highly motivated to start work on the theoretical end of molecular electronics in Copenhagen.

Gemma Solomon is an international specialist in the theory of molecular electronics 

Bright spark is well known face in Copenhagen

Although Dr. Solomon started work on July first, she is far from being a newcomer in Copenhagen. During her PhD studies, she visited the Department of Chemistry, to keep abreast of developments in the software needed to calculate electrical properties of single molecules. In recent years she has computed the properties of cross-conjugated molecules, related to those synthesised by Professor Mogens Brøndsted Nielsen at the Department.

How to switch of molecules

With a Danish boyfriend and a four year Steno Grant, Professor Solomon is planning to stay in Denmark "for a good long haul", as she says. Apart from the daunting task of learning Danish, her main objective is to figure out just what makes currents flow in a molecule; but not just because she is interested in wires. She wants to understand how to switch current on, because that'll help her figure out how to switch them off.

Molekylærelektronikeren Gemma Solomon
"There is an immense range of molecules out there. Surely we can make them do something more interesting than simply functioning as wires. I'm interested in the more exotic and dramatic electrical behaviours, and how we control the chemistry to make that happen.", smiles Gemma Solomon, and continues "Highly insulating molecules are really interesting. In fact, any kind of extreme properties interest me", concludes Professor Solomon.