Visiting research institutes in Grenoble

Bonjour à toutes et à tous,

After 2 days in Geneva, it is already time to move to the next country in our study tour, namely France! The day started with a good breakfast, after which we were ready to start the journey to Grenoble. It was a foggy morning, so we were a bit hesitant on whether we could enjoy some views during the ride. Fortunately the fog cleared fast, and we were able to enjoy the beautiful views on the French Alps, while some other people took the time to get some extra sleep.

Around 12:00 we arrived into Grenoble. The afternoon program consisted of a visit to the research area of Grenoble. The first institute we visited was Institut Néel. It is a research laboratory focused on condensed matter physics. They gave us a few presentations on the research that they are doing, and we learned that their work is mainly based on the work of Nobel Prize winner Louis Néel. He won the prize in 1970 for the fundamental understanding of (anti)ferromagnetism. An interesting tour through the lab was given by professors and researchers afterwards.

The next research institute we visited was Spintec. After a 10-minute walk from the other institute, we arrived at their security gate. The institute is located in a secured area where they previously housed nuclear reactors for research. These were not used anymore, however the security is still in place. The institute mainly focuses on bringing research and new devices into the industry. Their main research is done on so-called Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory (MRAM). This is a new type of non-volatile memory that consumes much less power than conventional memory. The researches showed us their equipment and experiments, and we were even allowed to enter the clean room. This was a cool experience!

The evening was filled with a dinner in a typical French restaurant, and we enjoyed the delicious French food and wines. Afterwards, most of us experienced the great nightlife of Grenoble.