Miss Francesca P. Quacquarelli
Francesca was born in Terlizzi, Italy. She grew up in Andria, a town historically linked to Castel del Monte, a castle erected on the top of a hill, 20 km from the town centre, which remains shrouded in mystery. Federico II di Svevia ordered its erection around 1240, although scholars do not agree yet on the date. Every year in Andria there is a summer festival of music and theatre named after the castle . The festival is called Castel dei Mondi because of its multicultural and cosmopolitan spirit. While this sounds very close to Castel del Monte, it actually means The Castle of the Worlds. Most of the shows take place in the suggestive background of the recently restored historical venue.
Francesca graduated with a Bachelors degree in Physics at the University of Bari, Italy, with a thesis on Phase Synchronization of Biological Signals. Her work developed from that of S. Strogatz on fireflies and ended up studying the phase synchronization of neuronal ensembles leading to different migraine issues by means of EEG recordings.
She then flew to Sheffield, England, to start a PhD about Energy Transfer in Directed Reconfigurable Nanomachines under the supervision of Dr. Ashley J. Cadby. Her work forms part of the EPSRC funded Directed Reconfigurable Nanomachines collaboration between the Universities of Sheffield, Glasgow, Liverpool and Nottingham. The goal of her project is to control the motion of single molecules down onto a surface.
At the present stage, she is enjoying discovering some unusual views of matter by means of the novel and amazing perspective of Single Molecular Spectroscopy (SMS). She also enjoys finding 5 um x 5 um tiny squares with a laser beam, and then exploring and wandering around these large areas with the tiny 1.30 um diameter laser spot. Finally, her Italian high standard cleanliness and hygiene requirements are conveniently fulfilled by setting the AFM code to draw a desired fancy shape onto a thermally smoothed expensive floor of transparent Sapphire dot-coated with gold. And the best is still yet to come!…
When she is not beavering away in the laboratory, Francesca is an aspiring artist and is a member of the ‘Physics and Astronomy Art Group’. Some of her work can be found at: http://www.shef.ac.uk/physics/art-group/gallery/francesca.
Right: A SMS image of gold dot grid on sapphire. The laser spot can be seen in the centre of the image. Taken with both white light and a 405 nm laser.