Last Friday, I was fortunate enough to be allowed to make an early start on my return to the lab by taking part in the EPSRC Directed Assembly Network’s meeting in Warwick, “Molecular Self-Assembly on Surfaces: from theory to experiment & back”. With a packed day of exciting talks from theorists and experimentalists alike, it was great to have the opportunity to catch up with some familiar faces from the UK community in the field and to get up to speed with the latest directions in the assembly of supramolecular networks on surfaces as well as a few slightly simpler model systems.
During my time teaching, I have remained involved in some collaborations and so contributed a talk to one of the flash presentation sessions. Trying to write a talk during my final week in another demanding, yet unrelated, post may have been slightly ambitious but it was great to have an opportunity to present this recent work.
One of the directions I discussed was the benchmarking of Density Functional Theory calculations with van der Waals corrections using surface dynamics data. By looking at the trajectories of the motion of molecules on surfaces we are able to deduce the energy landscape through which the molecule is moving and hence make a comparison with calculated values. Molecules that bond weakly to the surface, with little exchange of charge, have been particularly challenging to model and the molecular degrees of freedom can quickly lead to a very complicated system.
Last week’s meeting was an excellent opportunity to meet with my main theory collaborator and to discuss the latest developments with the wider community. My thanks especially go to Dr Jenny Woods, University of Bath, and Dr Giovanni Costantini, University of Warwick, for organising the meeting for the Network.