Luc van der Krabben

Portrait Luc van der Krabben
The programme gives a broad view on how physics is the underlying concept in all of chemistry and biology, while at the same time providing the most intricate details on specific processes.
Luc van der Krabben
Physical Chemistry
Study start date
Current role
Student Physical Chemistry
Previous education
Bachelor's Chemistry at Utrecht University

Luc van der Krabben is a Master's student Physical Chemistry at Radboud University. After the first year of the programme Luc wrote a testimonial about the Master's and atmosphere in Nijmegen. 

What do you like about the Master's specialisation and why?

Studying the physics of chemistry is what makes this Master's specialisation in Physical Chemistry unique. It gives a broad view on how physics is the underlying concept in all of chemistry (and biology), while at the same time providing the most intricate details on specific processes as well. The sometimes difficult physics of the latter is also what challenged me most, as I needed to quickly master concepts not covered during my Bachelor’s in Chemistry at the Utrecht University, but that is what a Master is for. What I furthermore like is that during the first few mandatory courses, you are introduced to almost all research groups and scientific staff working in the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) on topics that might interest you. In this way, I found the perfect research internship for me.

What do you think about the atmosphere in class?

The classes are generally small, which makes it easy to have classroom discussions with the teacher. Moreover, researchers are approachable for questions in an informal way, which is made easier by the fact that the whole of IMM is located in one building, so everyone is within reach.

What do you find most challenging in your Master’s specialisation?

The Master’s in Chemistry is structured to have about half a year of courses, about a year of research internship and the remaining six months can be allocated freely, often as a second internship. At the start of my Master’s, I found it difficult to choose how to structure the full two years. Some choose to first do all courses and then start with the internship, others start their internship during the first or second quarter of the first year and do some courses during their internship. I chose the former, which had the advantage that I could really focus on my research internship without having to worry about upcoming hand-ins or exams. However, doing all the required courses for the Master’s specialisation in Physical Chemistry in half a year proved to be very challenging in time and stress management. Fortunately, it eventually paid off in having a stress-free year of research internship.

Are you currently doing an internship?

I am currently working on increasing the efficiency and reducing the costs of ultra-thin GaAs solar cells at the Department of Applied Materials Science. What I like about this project is that I am applying concepts of physics and chemistry, such as advanced light trapping techniques and the growth of semiconductor layers, to real-world applications that aim to help mankind with the search for renewable energy sources.

Why do you think is it important that there are people out there with this degree? 

I hope that having the knowledge of physical concepts underlying chemistry and biology helps us in gaining a better understanding of the world we live in and make it a better place to live for future generations. My current plan is to perform my second internship at a company so that I can also get a feeling for the business world, apart from my research ambitions. At that point, I will decide if I want to keep doing research at the university or start a career outside of the university.