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About us How to find us prof. dr. P. (Petra) Rudolf

prof. dr. P. Rudolf

Professor Experimental Solid State Physics
prof. dr. P. Rudolf
+31 50 36 34736 (secretary 0503634973)


1987, Laurea in Fisica [equivalent to Msc in Physics]110/110con lode (magna cum laude), Prof. Andrea Frova, Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy, Thesis title: "Silicio amorfo idrogenato depositato mediante fasci ionici" (Hydrogenated amorphous silicon deposited by ion beams).

1995, Doctorat en Sciences - groupe des Sciences Physiques [PhD in physics] plus grande distinction avec félicitations du jury (magna cum laude), Prof. Roland Caudano, Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix, Namur, Belgium Thesis title: "Structural, vibrational and electronic properties of ultrathin C60 films on metallic substrates".

Professional Positions

  • 2003-present Full Professor of Experimental Solid State Physics at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of Groningen, The Netherlands (tenure position).
  • 2003-08 Editor-in-Chief of the European Physical Journal B (part-time in addition to teaching and research duties at the University of Groningen)
  • 2002-03 Consultant to the European Commission (DGXII) for assistance and monitoring of contracts in Materials Science (part-time, in addition to teaching and research duties at the Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix de Namur and at the Materials Science Centre, University of Groningen )
  • 2002-03 Chef de travaux, Maître de Conférences (tenure position), 1998-2002 Premier assistant, Maître de Conférences (tenure position) and 1997-98 Assistant, Maître de Conférences at the Physics Department of the Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix de Namur.
  • 1995-97 Senior research assistant of the National Fund for Scientific Research (Belgium) at the Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Spectroscopie Electroniques of the Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix de Namur, from 1996 onwards Maître de Conférences.
  • 1994-95 Senior research fellow at the at the Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire de Spectroscopie Electroniques Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de laPaix de Namur,Belgium.
    • 1991-93 Senior research fellow at the TASC-INFM laboratory, Trieste, Italy.
    • 1990-91 Guest scientist at the AT&T Bell Laboratories in the Soft-X-Ray Spectroscopy group working on the Dragon beamline at the National Synchrotron Light Source, Brookhaven, N.Y., U.S.A.
    • 1989-1990 Research fellow at the TASC-INFM laboratory, Trieste, Italy.
  • 1987-89 Research fellow of the AREA di Ricerca,Trieste,Italy, and, for the last four months, at the AT&T Bell Laboratories in the Soft-X-Ray Spectroscopy group at the National Synchrotron Light Source,Brookhaven,U.S.A.
    • 1987, Scientific collaborator of Dr. Carlo Coluzza and Prof. A. Bianconi, Università degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza", Rome, Italy


  • Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau (2013)
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (2010); Fellow of the Institute of Physics (2001); Lid van verdienst of the Dutch Physical Society (2006)
  • 2007 EU DESCARTES Prize for the work on Molecular Machines
  • 2008 Professeur Invité of the Institut Universitaire de France
  • 2000 - 2001 President of the Belgian Physical Society (1999 & 2002 Vice-President)




  • Member of the Editorial Board New Journal of Physics (since 2011), External Advisor of the European Physical Journal B since 2008.
  • Chairperson of the Surface and Interface Section of the Condensed Matter Division of the European Physical Society (SIS-CMD-EPS) since 2010; Chair of Board of the European Conferences on Surface Science (since 2010).
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Dutch Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM, since 2011);  Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the SOLEIL synchrotron, France (since 2009), of the SPIN Institute of the Italian National Research Foundation (since 2010) and of the Helmholtz Zentrum, Berlin (since 2012); of the FWO advisory committee on Condensed Matter Physics, Belgium (since 2007); Member (and since 2012) vice-chair of a selection panel for the ERC Starting Researchers Grants (since 2010); Member (2004-2007) and Chairperson (2007-2012) of the Board of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials; Expert evaluator of research projects for the Academy of Finland (2006), the Research Council of the United Kingdom (2006-2010), the OTKA - Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (2006-2009), the Italian National Research Foundation (2012), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (2006-2013), the Austrian Wissenschaftsfond (2013), the Swiss National Science Foundation (2009), Ministery of Higher Education of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2010) and ERC Advanced Researchers Grants (2008, 2009).


Dr. Rudolfspecialised in Solid State Physics during her university studies. As research fellow she moved into the field of Surface Physics. She has been interested in different aspects of surface analysis, investigating electronic structure with the help of direct and inverse photoemission spectroscopy, electron energy loss, X-ray absorption and autoionisation spectroscopies; studying the vibrational properties of adsorbed atoms and molecules by high resolution electron energy loss and infrared spectroscopies, and the surface crystalline structure by low energy electron diffraction and scanning tunnelling microscopy. Very recently she has also focused on time-resolved electron diffraction studies. Dr. Rudolf has extensively used synchrotron radiation techniques. Her main research interests have been catalytic reactions at metal surfaces, adsorption of alkali metals on metallic, semiconducting and semimetallic surfaces, adsorption and self-assembly on surfaces of supramolecular architectures such as catenanes and rotaxanes and the characterisation of clay nanocomposites and of ultrathin films of fullerene-based materials. Over the recent years her research interest has been divided between synthetic molecular motors and switches on surfaces to create new functional surfaces that harness and reveal mechanical motion at the single molecule level and at the macroscopic scale, organic thin films for molecular electronic applications, organic-inorganic hybrid thin films and (pillared) graphene for spintronics, hydrogen storage, catalytic and biomedical applications.


Research Management

Dr. Rudolf coordinated a Human Capital and Mobility Research Network on Alkali Adsorption on Graphite, Interaction with Coadsorbed Molecules and Alkali Interaction with C60 and the EU Research Training Network Composites of Augmented Strength: Study of Intercalates of Uniquely Structured Clays. Shewas a partner in other three Training and Mobility of Researchers Networks, one on Electronic Structure and Physical Properties of Novel Fullerene-based Materials, one on Benzylic Amide Catenanes: Versatile Building Blocks for Complex Multifunctional Materials and one on Development of Rotaxane-based Unconventional Materials, in the EU Research Training Network Exploiting Mechanical Motion within Molecular Architectures, and in the Shared-cost RTD project Mechanized Molecules of the EU Information Society Technologies Programme and in the EU Specific Targeted Research for Innovation Project  Hydrogen-bond geared Mechanically interlocked Molecular Motors (Hy3M), all financed by the European Commission (DGXII). Dr. Rudolf was a partner in a Belgian-French bilateral collaboration project Tournesol and in a Belgian-Italian bilateral collaboration project, both on fullerene-based materials. She currently participates in the Vrije FOM-programma Graphene-based electronics and the NWO Programme on Astrochemistry, coordinates the project Unraveling the lipid-amylose inclusion complex formation of the FOM-TIFN-DPI Industrial Partnership Programme 'Bio(-related) materials (BRM)’ and is principle investigator of FOM-projectruimte 2008 project A new approach to structural dynamics: Ultrafast electron diffraction experiments.


Publications: 172 peer-reviewed research publications and 26 book chapters (h-index 34)

Lectures/Invited Talks at Nat. and Int. Conferences/Presentations: 90/68 (of which 9 plenary)/435 worldwide.


Collaborations in the past 4 years:  F. Carbone (EPFL, Switzerland), D. Gournis (U. Ioannina, Greece), C. Cepek (IOM CNR, Trieste, Italy), V. Marvaud (Univ. Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France), P. Milani (U. Milan, Italy), E. Pardo (Univ. Valencia, Spain), M. Prato (U. Trieste, Italy), C. Puglia (Uppsala U., Sweden), F. Remacle (U. of Liège, Belgium), G. van Tendeloo (U. of Antwerp, Belgium), F. Zerbetto (U. Bologna, Italy).


Students/Postdocs Advised

Graduate Students                     now at:

Postdoctoral Research Associates    now at:

Charles-André Fustin*

U. Catholique   Louvain-la-Neuve, B

Michael R.C. Hunt#

U. of Durham,    U.K.

Ingrid Marenne*♀

AGC Flat Glass Europe, B

Caroline Whelan#♀

European Commission, B

Francesca Cecchet#♀

FUNDP, Namur, B

Annette Wingen#♀

Formerly at Avantium, NL, current position unknown

Tullio Toccoli

CNR, Trento,   I

Céline De Nadaï#♀

CNRS, Grenoble, F

Sandra M. Mendoza#♀

Fac. Reg. Reconquista, U. T. N.,   Argentina

Michael Pilling#

Formerly at UMIST, Manchester,   U.K, current position unknown

Roberto Macovez#

U. Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, ES

Imad Arfaoui#

Univ. Pierre et Marie   Curie, F

Illya Kulyk

CIVEN, Venice, I

Monika Lubomska#♀


Yu Wu+

ECN, Eindhoven, NL

Darja Benne#♀


Régis Gengler+

Univ. of Hamburg, D

Enrico Maccallini#

SAES Getter, I

Xiaonan Suno♀

Univ. Pierre et Marie   Curie, F

Fabrizio Evangelista

TMC, Eindhoven, NL

Tatiana Fernandez Landaluce♀

TMC, Eindhoven, NL

Tommaso Caruso

University of Calabria, I

Konstantinos Spyrou+

Univ. of Ioannina, GR

Marcella Felicissimo#♀

currently on maternity leave

Marco Lazzarino

IOM Trieste, I

Luminita Toma#♀

U. of Valencia, Spain

Naureen Akhtar♀

Oleksii Ivashenko+

Univ. of Groningen, NL


Longtian Kang¨

Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing

Muhammad Arshad


Panagiota Stathi#♀

Univ. of Ioannina, GR

Luca Bignardi¨

Peter van Abswoude +

Martina d’Angelo¨♀




Theodoros Tsoufis

Nat.l Center for Scientific Research   "Demokritos", Athens,   GR

Jiquan Wu˟

Tashfeen Zehra+♀



Moritz Speckmann

Highschool teacher,   Bremerhaven, D

* supported by the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research; # supported by the European Commission; o supported by the Bernoulli Fund; + supported by the Ubbo Emmius Fund;¨supported by FOM or NWO (Dutch Nat.l Science Foundation), ˟ supported byChina Scholarship Council. ♀ female

Undergraduate students supervised: past: 11 Bachelor students, 21 Master students, 3 DEA (2 year specialization course after master, required for accessing PhD in Belgium); current: 2 Master students.



Professor at the Physics department of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen – courses taught: "Structure of Matter 2", 28h for 2nd y. physics students, "Introduction to Nanophysics", 14h for 1st y. physics students, "Solid State Physics I ", 40 h for 3rd y. physics and chemistry students, "Surfaces and Interfaces", 28 h for 3rd and 4th y. physics and chemistry students, "Electronics", 28 h for management engineering students, Module on atomic, molecular and nanoscience of the course "From Small to Large to Life" for Bachelor Honours students, "Preparation of Nanomaterials and Devices" 14h and "Fundamental and Functional Properties of Nanomaterials" 8h for TopMaster students.

Lecturer at the Physics department of the FUNDP, Namur of the courses "Photoemission", 15 h for 4th y. students in physics, "Synchrotron radiation techniques", 15 h for graduate students and "Adsorption de molécules organiques", 8 h for PhD students in physics, chemistry and biology of the FUNDP - forth session of the "Cours de formation interdisciplinaire pour doctorands" (acad. y. 97/98). Supervisor of laboratory projects of 3rd y. students in physics; Supervisor for the physics laboratory courseand the physics exercise course (academic years 1997-1998 to 2002-2003) for 1st year students of mathematics, medical and veterinary science.

Last modified:09 May 2013 12.49 p.m.

Contact information

Surfaces and Thin Films group

Job title:
head of research unit
Working hours:
Monday through Friday 09:00-19:00
Office hour:
Monday 13:30-14:30
+31 50 36 34736 (secretary 0503634973)

Home address

Sterrebosstraat 14