Students working in the QLUSTER Network

Theodora Menidiati


Jülich, Germany

Mrs. Menidiati completed her MSc degree in Chemistry at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. During her master, she worked on the synthesis of macrocyclic self-assembled cages consisting of functionalized BODIPY-Dyes for light harvesting and controlled energy transfer. Theodora as an Early Stage Researcher in the MSCA Doctoral Network "QLUSTER” will work on the experimental realization of soft-matter cluster crystals. She will focus on the synthesis and study of self-assembly of nanosized DNA-polymer cluster-forming constructs with dendritic, linear and circular architecture. Theodora will work under the supervision of Emmanuel Stiakakis.

Fran Ivan Vrban


Ljubljana, Slovenia

Fran Ivan obtained his MS in physics from the University of Rijeka, Croatia, where he theoretically studied photon-photon scattering under broken Lorentz symmetry. He works on many-body interactions between  deformable colloidal particles, especially within the so-called liquid drop model, and on the mapping of such particles on those interacting with simple effective potentials such as the hard-core/linear-ramp potential. He is supervised by Primoz Ziherl.

Leah Rank


Rome, Italy

Leah got her Master‘s degree in Physics at the University of Vienna. She will study ultra-low-crosslinked as well as hallow microgels via simulations under the supervision of Emanuela Zaccarelli. She will investigate their collective behavior and calculate the effective interactions between two types of microgels in order establish their phase diagram and to study their dynamics. 

Fabio Bensch


Tübingen, Germany

Fabio got his MSc in Physics from the University of Pisa. In his Masters he worked on the trapping of few Rubidium atoms for "Rydberg Atomtronics" in microtraps. For his PhD he moved to the University of Tübingen to join the QLUSTER project on Rydberg induced ultrasoft interactions in reconfigurable optical tweezers. He will work on experiments with the aim to improve the coherence highly controlled many-body systems with Laser induced interactions.

We welcome Fabio in our Team and look forward to the interdisciplinary collaboration within QLUSTER.

Pedro João de Oliveira Ildefonso


Innsbruck, Austria

Pedro completed his MSc in Engineering Physics from the Instituto Superior Técnico at the University of Lisbon. During his MSc program, Pedro specialised in General Relativity with a strong focus on numerical methods for Black Holes and Ultra Compact Objects simulations. However, his recent interest in Quantum Computing and Quantum Optimisation led him to switch fields to work under the supervision of Professor Wolfgang Lechner on the modelling of interactions between Ultrasoft Rydberg atoms for Quantum Optimisation purposes. His work will involve numerical simulations of quantum master equations and a deep understanding of atom-laser interactions for developing a 4-body coupler using alkaline-earth-metal-like atoms. We welcome Pedro to our research group in Innsbruck and look forward to working and exchanging knowledge with all our QLUSTER partners around Europe.

Maximilian Mullenbach


Strasbourg, France

Maximilian obtained his master from Heidelberg University, where he investigated operator growth in disordered quantum spin systems. Following his fascination with ultracold atoms, he is now an Early Stage Researcher in the MSCA Doctoral Network "QLUSTER - Quantum and Classical Ultrasoft Matter" at the University of Strasbourg, where he will study complex non-equilibrium dynamics and universality in systems of ultracold Rydberg atoms using spatially structured light and advanced trapping technologies.

Reyhaneh Afghahi Farimani


Vienna, Austria

Reyaheh will work under the supervision of Christos Likos on the topic of self-assembly of particles with logarithmically diverging interactions on patterned surfaces, a feature common to polymers and Rydberg atoms. We extend a warm welcome to Reyhaneh and we are looking forward to our collaborations with the direct partners in Innsbruck and the other QLUSTER nodes

Francesca Galluzzi


Heraklion, Greece

Francesca will work at the FORTH, Institute of Electronic Structure & Laser, under Dimitris Vlassopoulos’ supervision. The focus of her project is to investigate the links between microstructural characteristics of soft colloidal formulations and their viscoelastic and shear flow properties.

Christoph Schneck


San Sebastián, Spain

Christoph will work at the CFM under Angel Moreno's supervision. His research project will be focused on the use of ultrasoft effective potentials to describe and predict properties of self-healing polymeric dual networks, through a combination of simulations and liquid state theory.

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