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Dr. Aleksandra Mitrovic

Since 2017, Dr. Mitrovic works at the Chair of Organic Chemistry II as an Humboldt Fellow. (Image: Dusan Milenkovic)

Since 2017, Dr. Mitrovic works at the Chair of Organic Chemistry II as an Humboldt Fellow. (Image: Dusan Milenkovic)

From 2004 to 2010, Dr. Aleksandra Mitrovic studied Chemistry at the University of Belgrade, where she obtained her Graduate Diploma with outstanding grades. Right after, she started her Ph.D. studies in Chemistry, also at the University of Belgrade. In 2017, Dr. Mitrovic defended her doctoral dissertation titled “Fulleropyrrolidine dyads and triads: synthesis, investigation of electrochemical properties and hierarchical self-organization” and received the best grade possible.

Dr. Mitrovic is also a member of the Serbian Chemical Society and the Serbian Young Chemists´ Club and was issued with several grants and awards such as a grant by the Montenegro Ministry of Education from 2004 to 2009. Since 2017, she is a Humboldt Research Fellow at the Chair for Organic Chemistry II at FAU. However, Dr. Mitrovic has been at FAU before, namely in the frame of the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship in 2012.

One thing is for sure, whatever dreams or wishes you might have regarding your scientific careers, they can come true at FAU.

What is your field of research and what initially sparked your interest in this area?

While studying I was interested in classic organic synthesis. I thought that I could contribute to mankind mostly as a chemist that works in the field of medicinal chemistry. However, global trends in science took some turns and supramolecular chemistry became a hot topic. This is the domain of chemistry that focuses on assembled chemical systems in which molecular components are held together by weak and reversible interactions. During my PhD I took interest in fullerenes, which are carbon allotropes, just like graphite or diamond.  After exploring their role in constituting organic solar cells, a postdoc in material sciences came as a logical continuation of my research activities.

What would you say to students or young researchers who are considering choosing FAU for a stay abroad?

I would say, “Please do!” One thing is for sure, whatever dreams or wishes you might have regarding your scientific careers they can come true at FAU.

How visible is FAU in your field of research?

Very. In fact I would say not only visible, FAU is currently creating and directing the flow of modern materials science.

How do you find the interaction between researchers at FAU thus far?

In this group we all come from different parts of the world and the atmosphere is always welcoming, friendly and very inspiring.

Could you give us a short summary of the project your research group is working on?

The group of professor Hirsch is currently focused on developing materials with a thickness of a few nanometres or less, known as two dimensional (2D) materials. They usually possess remarkable properties in their ability to be exceptionally strong, lightweight, flexible, and excellent conductors of heat and electricity. Graphene for example is one million times thinner than paper and believed to be the strongest material in the world. Researchers in our group are focused on understanding the fundamental behaviour of graphene, but also other 2D materials like black phosphorus and antimony.

In fact I would say not only visible, FAU is currently creating and directing the flow of modern materials science.

And what is your main task within your research group?

My main task is to investigate fundamental properties of black phosphorus chemistry, as well to explore the possibility of making hybrids out of various 2D materials. Tuning of the properties of pristine materials is required to enable novel functionalities or novel devices and products.

How does your research affect society?

Revealing the properties of black phosphorus will generate new device concepts and by changing its physics, it would definitely facilitate the production of more powerful functional devices in the future.

What were your first (and subsequent) impressions of the Erlangen-Nuremberg region?

Beautiful nature, cozy and easy-going life.

Do you already have a particular highlight, an experience or a moment during your stay so far, that you’ll remember?

That everything is easy in Germany.

What are your favourite places at FAU and in Erlangen or Nuremberg?

My research group is situated in Fürth, but we often meet in Erlangen at the new   Chemikum building, which is amazing.  In both Nünberg and Erlangen I love the  historic quarters the most.

Thank you for the interview, Dr. Mitrovic.