In the Zernike Institute Advent Calendar, we are presenting 24 short spotlights in December. In these specials, we highlight PhD students, postdocs, support staff and technicians of our research groups and team - providing a glimpse in their typical day at work. In Episode 23 meet Ilaria Squillante, PhD student in the
Physical Chemistry of Polymeric and Nanostructured Materials
group of Prof. Giuseppe Portale.
I am working as a PhD candidate at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the group of Physical Chemistry of Polymeric and Nanostructured Materials under the supervision of prof. Giuseppe Portale. My research project is part of the polyolefin cluster from the Dutch Polymer Institute, and, besides me, it includes other two researchers, from the University of Salerno and Napoli.
A very urgent problem nowadays regards the accumulation of plastic waste in the environment, mostly packaging materials, which are typically non-recyclable multi-material films. In this context, this research project aims at developing a new generation of recyclable packaging polyethylene-based mono-materials.
To do so, it is crucial to perform some real-time characterization of the material during its processing which needs to be as close as possible to the real industrial conditions. As real-time means millisecond temporal resolution, only the high power of X-rays in synchrotron facilities can help. As a consequence, I’m often traveling, which gives me the chance to meet and exchange ideas with scientists from different places and research fields.
So, when I’m not abroad doing experiments, you can find me either in my office working on my data, either designing my next experiment (or working trip) or having meetings with my research colleagues. Being part of a team of researchers, everyone with their background, working together to reach the same aim, is very inspiring for me. Having the chance to be in contact with companies that share their knowledge, and visit and use industrial facilities for the project, allows me to enrich my background and stimulates my interest in science even more.
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