Many of the electronic properties of materials are enclosed in the symmetry of their atomic or molecular lattice. Good examples are ferroelectrics that break space inversion symmetry or ferromagnets that break time reversal symmetry. In recent years advances in scanning probe microscopies show that in addition to these macroscopic phenomena, novel properties emerge at the nanoscale. In addition to the symmetry, also local topology, such as vorticity, determine the properties of these materials on the nanoscale. This provides new opportunities for novel device configurations.
Professor Palstra has an impressive track record as a scientist. His research is focused on the interface of Chemistry, Physics and Nanotechnology, the main research theme is electron transport. In addition to his numerous publications and citations throughout his scientific career, Palstra received several academic awards, honors and grants. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science (KNAW), elected as of 2010. There, he is chair of the section Chemistry, member of the TWINS-board and advisory member of the section Physics and Astronomy. Since 1998 Palstra is also a Member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW). In 2013 he was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the leading US organization for physicists, in the division Material Physics.
After his Master Degree, Palstra received his PhD at the University of Leiden. For 10 years he has been working as a staff member at Bell Laboratories. Since 1996 he is affiliated with the University of Groningen. He holds the chair Solid State Chemistry. Additionally he fulfilled several management positions since 2006. He has been an associate director of the Chemistry educational programme in Groningen. He held the position of Vice Dean and later on Acting Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and Director of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials in Groningen, an institute with a top-20 position in the world measured by citations per article in the Thompson Reuters rankings.
Palstra has various additional activities. He is an editor of the journal Solid State Communications, he is Board Member of the NanolabNL foundation, he is a member of the COMOP section of the FOM foundation and he is a member of the scientific advisory board PEARL, University of Luxembourg. Besides he is an ESRF Council advisor for the NWO and reviewer of National and International Grant proposals.