MAINZ Summer School "Investigating Solid-Liquid Interfaces – Complementary Theoretical and Experimental Approaches"

June 11-15, 2018, Schloss Waldthausen (Mainz)

The MAINZ Summer School 'Investigating Solid-Liquid Interfaces' was a huge success. All participants and speakers had plenty opportunity for networking and scientific communication.


Impressions from the Scavenger Hunt


Group photo in front of the historic venue 'Schloss Waldthausen'


Prizes and Awards for our participants - the poster prize was sponsored by SCIENTA OMICRON.
The awardees are congratulated by the scientific organizers of the summer school, Adam Foster (left) and Angelika Kühnle (right)
The first poster prize of 250 € was awarded to Sebastian Seibert (left picture)
The second poster prize of 150 € was awarded to William Janke (middle picture)
The third poster prize of 100 € was awarded to Lisa Dreier (right picture)

The scientific focus of this summer school is on investigating solid-liquid interfaces. Solid-liquid interfaces play a decisive role in a wide range of natural and technological processes. For example, mineral dissolution, growth and weathering are pivotal within geochemistry and environmental science. Molecularly controlled nucleation and growth at the solid-water interface govern biomineralization and biomimetic crystallisation, processes that are known to result in highly sophisticated, tailor-made materials. Moreover, interfacial reactions are at the heart of many industrial fields such as catalysis and corrosion protection.

In all these fields, fundamental reactions take place at the solid-liquid interface. For understanding, modelling and predicting these interfacial processes, the accurate knowledge of the atomic structure of the surface and the local arrangement of the solvent molecules at the interface under realistic conditions is essential. During the summer school, we will discuss state-of-the-art methods for elucidating the interfacial structure as well as fundamental processes at the solid-liquid interface. An emphasis will be put on presenting a wide range of experimental and theoretical methods, many of which are available on our campus.
The solid-liquid environment also provides inherent challenges for simulations, with the time- and length-scales making ab initio approaches particularly difficult. Nevertheless, significant progress has been made in applying free energy atomistic approaches to the understanding of hydration structures at interfaces, and ab initio methods are being increasingly applied to study the electronic and chemical details at solid-liquid interfaces. The school will draw on experts from several different simulation approaches, including those with particular application to some of the experimental techniques being discussed.
To stimulate in-depth discussions, each subject will be introduced by tutorial lectures that will provide the fundamental understanding required for a lively discussion of more specialized topics.

The overall program will include the following elements:

Opening Session

  • Welcome by Adam Foster and Angelika Kühnle
  • Opening lecture by Andrew Putnis: “Why Mineral Interfaces Matter”

Scientific Program

  • Session I: High-resolution imaging and three-dimensional solvation layer mapping using the scanning force microscopy (Takeshi Fukuma and Hiroshi Onishi)
  • Session II: Sum frequency generation spectroscopy (Ellen Backus, Yuki Nakata)
  • Session III: X-ray reflectivity and crystal truncation rod diffraction investigations (Paul Fenter, Markus Mezger and Frank Heberling)
  • Session IV: Computational approaches (Julian Gale, Marialore Sulpizi, Marie-Pierre Gaigeot, Axel Gross)
  • Session V: Applications in mineralogy, geochemistry and biomineralization (Andrew Putnis, Christine Putnis and Susan Stipp)
  • Poster Session I and II

Career Program

  • Alumni Talk: Career options after PhD in chemical industry (e.g. BASF)
  • Excursion: BASF (introduction, scientific applicability, premises)

Cultural Program

  • Scavenger hunt through Lenneberg forest: quizzes on German/Mainz regional culture and history
  • Language course: playful learning of the German language

Closing Session

  • Closing lecture by Adam Foster: Open questions, grand challenges and lessons learnt
  • Poster award ceremony: Angelika Kühnle


3rd year B.Sc., M.Sc. and PhD students are welcome!
Deadline: April 05, 2018
Please register via Eventbrite:


Overnight guests: 548 € (all inclusive: single room, breakfast, lunch, dinner, conference package, excursions)
Daily guests: 234 € (including: lunch, dinner, conference package, excursions)


Angelika Kühnle (University of Bielefeld, Germany), Adam Foster (Aalto University, Finland; JGU Mainz, Germany), Marialore Sulpizi (JGU Mainz, Germany), Lisa Dreier (MPI-P Mainz, Germany), Hagen Söngen (JGU Mainz, Germany)