Nguyen Van Thang

Faculty of Natural Sciences, Quy Nhon University, Vietnam

In the framework of the MOMA project, during the time from 01/10/2019 to 29/11/2019, I paid a visit to KU Leuven, Belgium with the aim to develop the course “Materials Characterization” for the Master of Theoretical and Physical Chemistry Program of my home university – Quy Nhon University (QNU).

I was so excited about the trip because I had heard that KU Leuven is among the best 100 universities in the world. More inspired to me, it was ranked as the most innovative university of Europe by Reuters four years in a row (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019). Therefore, this business trip was expected to offer me an excellent opportunity to accumulate knowledge and experience a new culture, broadening my horizons and contributing to the successful implementation of the MOMA project.

During my two-month trip at KU Leuven, as a visiting scholar at KU Leuven, I not only attended lectures of the course “Physics of beam-solid interactions” which was given by Prof. Lino da Costa Percira but also discussed in detail about the content of the QNU course “Materials Characterization” with Prof. André Vantomme. With the aim to upgrade the currently existing course at QNU, we decided to introduce new characterization techniques such as chemical and surface analysis techniques, neutron and electron diffraction, etc. Moreover, we have discussed how to design activities to develop research skills for students, for example guiding students to read published scientific articles relating to characterization methods, then summarize, present and explain to their peers. Each student will be free to choose a published scientific article which he/she is interested in and write a critical assessment of this article, using what he/she has learned in this course. We hope that such activities will allow our students to deepen knowledge and think of the various applications of the materials characterization methods.

Furthermore, in order to take advantage of my stay at KU Leuven, I visited the lab of Prof. André Vantomme and learnt the procedures to do the STM and AFM measurements which are the techniques in the QNU course. I also participated in group meetings that were organized by Prof. Ewald Janssens. Attending these group meetings allowed me not only to gain new knowledge, discuss with colleagues but also to know how to effectively organize a small scientific meeting.

Coupled with academic activities, I have paid a visit to some beautiful landscapes in Leuven and cities nearby during the weekends. That was a memorable experience. Below are some pictures taken during my stay in KU Leuven, Belgium.

Prof. Lino da Costa Percira is lecturing the course “Physics of beam-solid interactions”

Taking photo with Prof. Lino da Costa Percira who give the course “Physics of beam-solid interactions” for master students

Dr. Renan Villarreal showed me how to do Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) measurements

Learning the procedures to do Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) measurements

Learning the procedures to do Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) measurements

With Prof. André Vantomme who supports for developing the course “Materials Characterization” in Quy Nhon University

Visiting the Libary of the University of KU Leuven on the campus

Visiting the Libray of the University of Leuven in the city centre

Beautiful view from the balcony of my room

Taking photos with my Vietnamese colleagues in front of Arenberg Castle which is now used by the Engineering Science faculty of the KU Leuven and is the focal point of a green campus for the group Sciences & Technology

Visting Durbuy town, Belgium – The smallest town in the world

Visiting Tervuren Park, Belgium – The most beautiful place to see fall scenery I have ever been to.