In 2016 I started my PhD in the group of Dr. Kees Flipse, were I am currently working on the functionalization of epitaxial graphene by Hydrogen. Substrate effects, stemming from the buffer layer that is specific to the Si-face of SiC, may couple the magnetic moments of the electron-states that constitute C-H bonds leading to a capacity for ferromagnetism that is not present in freestanding hydrogenated graphene
After obtaining a Bachelor degree from University College Utrecht in 2012 and doing a pre-master year in (theoretical) physics, I joined the first generation of the research-oriented Experimental Physics master at the University of Utrecht. I graduated in 2016 on the topic of (spatially) beamshaping ultrashort laser pulses using digital light modulators. When starting my PhD I switched fields from optics to solid state physics. I am now trying to recreate the results of former group members surrounding hydrogenated graphene, while also getting acquainted with a range of common experimental techniques within solid state physics. These include scanning probe microscopy, raman spectroscopy, x-ray photo-emission spectroscopy and (thin-film) magnetization measurements. The main objective is the direct detection and quantification of covalent bonds between hydrogen and graphene Carbon-atoms.
The first year of my PhD was marked by a number of procedural problems: a so-called miscut of the SiC wafers used for graphene growth resulted in irregular terrace shapes and multilayer graphene growth and an upgrade of the device used for hydrogenation led to an unlucky estimation of the parameters to be used for its operation, resulting in the deposition of Wolfram instead of (or in addition to) Hydrogen.