Nikl's Blog

Wrapping up my physics studies

13th of April 2018

Quick info:

  • Found a new room in a nice flat with two other guys
  • Master thesis is about s-SNOM (see old blog entry)
  • Got a programming job with a company that does campus management for universities (Java with a lot of Database stuff)
  • Released version 2 of GameBox on Spigot

This week was the official start of my master thesis. That means that my physics studies should be almost completed at this time next year. I am not sure jet what to do afterwards (maybe PhD, maybe something completely different), but after all the time I spend in my masters, it's a good thing that I am wrapping it up. I got to know all the people from my research group in the last couple of days. I think it will be a nice time with them and I should learn a lot during the next year.

Since I have 8 working hours per week at my job, I am spending one day of the week there and the other days I am sitting in the institute for my thesis. With more then an hour drive one way (by bike) that makes a lot more sense then doing 4h on two days or so. On my first day at my job I was occupied with setting up my workstation, but I am really looking forward to collecting some programming experience in a company. It is a very small company with a friendly atmosphere. I even got a room for myself.

Erasmus in Poland - The end

21st of February 2018

My time in Poland is almost over and I just finished my last exam. It was a great time with lots of good memories and new friends. University was harder then I expected, but very interesting. Having lectures about theoretical physics almost three years after my last one in my bachelor was a challenge. But the topics were interesting and I don't regret taking these courses.

Tomorrow my sister will arrive in Krakow, I will move out of my dorms and finish up my Erasmus paper work. For a few days we'll stay in Poland, then drive back to Germany, back home.

In the next few weeks I'll try to find myself a topic for my thesis and a new place to live in Aachen. Wish me luck ^^

My new repository manager - Artifactory OSS

20th of February 2018

The last week I've been studying for Field Theory I, my last exam this semester. It's tomorrow...

But this evening I had enough of it and decided to do something else. For a long time I wanted to have a remote place for my maven repositories. I knew that there were some free open source solutions, but never actually installed one. But yesterday I stumbled upon the blog entry "How to setup a Private Maven Repository for in-house Android libraries distribution" and today I just did it.

I got myself a droplet at Digital Ocean and more or less followed the instructions. The blog entry Is slightly outdated, but in general still valid. I mixed in some of the instructions from another article I found ("How-to Install JFrog Artifactory on Ubuntu 14.04") and ended up with a working installation of the free and open source version of Artifactory!

There are still some things I would like to improve, like using MySQL as the database and adding a TLS certificate, but I already like the setup a lot. After a small DNS update on a new sub domain, my repository manager is now accessible at

Weekend trip to Zakopane - Mountains and a lot of snow

5th of November 2017

up on the mountain

Together with two friends I made a trip to Zakopane, south of Krakow over the long weekend. It was my first time in the mountains with that much snow. On the first day we had bad luck with the weather, it was almost constantly raining or snowing. We made it up to a summit, but learned the hard way that some equipment like snowshoes and crampons are nice to have.

On the second day we rented crampons and started our tour with perfect weather. The sky was cloudless for the whole day and it didn't snow or rain at all. During the last night the snow froze a bit and we didn't sink in up to our hips anymore. There was a lot of ice and I am glad that we rented the crampons in the morning.

Because of perfect weather I took a lot of pictures on the second day (see: Poland). Now that I am back in the city I made a slideshow and set it as my desktop background.

I hope that I will have time for another trip to Zakopane. Maybe next time I'll go skiing.

Big Family meeting in Harz

25th of October 2017

hiking in Hartz

My grandmother had birthday a few days ago and my whole family from my mothers side met in the Harz (east germany) for a week. We were almost 30 at the beginning and had a house to ourselves. It was a lot of fun meeting all my cousins and aunts/uncles, especially since I hadn't seen many of them in a long time. There was a billiard table and a lot of board games. Apart from that we had trips planed for almost every day of the week.

Today we went to visit the mountain "Brocken" which translates to chunk or lump (the name shows great imagination xD ). There is a steam train going up the "Brocken" and we took it to go up. I am pretty sure it was the first time for me to take a steam train anywhere and it was interesting standing outside between the wagons watching the lok spitting steam while pulling everything up the mountain.

After a meal on top of the mountain most of the group walked down. Starting from a paved road that led to a gravel path on to a track through the forest it took us a few hours to arrive back at the lower train station.

First two weeks in Krakow

14th of October 2017

Two weeks ago I arrived in Krakow for my Erasmus semester at the Jagiellonian University. The orientation week planed by ESN Krakow was a great start for the semester. Events like "speed friending" helped with getting to know many of the other Erasmus students. There (of course) where also a lot of parties.

After the orientation week lectures started. There are no experimental physics lectures in english so I am attending the lecture "Data Science" where we use Python for data analyses and two lectures on theoretical physics.

Cycling in south Germany - more fun in summer ^^

14th of September 2017

A week ago I bought a new tent and thought it would be a great idea to test it. I still had two weeks left until heading to Poland, so I went on a cycling trip. After taking the train to Stuttgart, I made my way down the Neckar and then continued along the Rhine. Because of the current weather in South-Germany I quit after five days and visited friends in Darmstadt instead of continuing cycling. The weather got really bad with gusts of up to 60kmph, rain and hail, but other then that camping was nice and I like the tent ^^

I'll do a trip like that again in a warmer month...

Nanooptics - optical microscopy below the diffraction limit

2nd of August 2017

I had the lecture 'Nanooptics II' this semester and just finished it with an oral exam. The lecture was interesting and the professor was good at explaining and presenting the topic. My interest in the matter even grew during the last two weeks while studying for the exam. Repeating the whole lecture in short time and connecting all the topics with themselves and previous knowledge was kinda fun (what studying normally isn't ^^ ).

In a nutshell: Light cannot be focused to an infinitely small spot due to it's wave nature. The diameter of the smallest possible spot with conventional optics (lenses) is roughly half the wavelength (for visible light ~200nm). This limits conventional optical microscopes and makes it impossible for them to see smaller structures with visible light (for example: single molecules).

There are several ways to 'trick' the diffraction limit, but the biggest improvement for resolution is probing the near field, which contains exact spacial information, but cannot propagate (evanescent waves). Basically that means, that we have to look at our object from a very close distance (<<λ). The two techniques the lecture concentrated on where a-SNOM and s-SNOM. With resolutions of up to 10nm one can see single molecules and even get information about the optical properties and carrier-densities of the samples.

Semester Halftime

3rd of June 2017

Recently I started a 16h per week HiWi (Hilfswissenschaftler -> Research Assistant) job at the Institute for Automatic Control. My work is concentrating on c++ software that localizes a moving object using gps signals, a map of the surroundings and signals from a laser scanner mounted on the object. This will be used on a model car later on and is part of a bigger project around automatically driving cars. I find the topic very interesting and I am also happy to be able to work on a quite large c++ project.

Before starting the job I had a lot of free time and picked up running again. Many years ago, before university, I sometimes went running in the forest with my father, but in the following years I almost completely stopped. A month ago I received an e-mail from my university announcing a running event and simply decided to register for the "Fun-Run" (4.6 Km... got to start somewhere ^^). This was an effective motivation for some training runs in the weeks before the event and I must say that I enjoyed it. The run was yesterday and I made a rank in the upper middle. I am quite satisfied with my time, especially considering my preparation. Hopefully I'll be able to stick to running and train at least once or twice a week on a regular basis.

Time flies... the semester is half done already and the first polish exam is upcoming. Only 3 months left before I will leave to Krakow.

Back at uni

4th of May 2017

I've been back in germany for a few weeks now and I already had itchy feet a few days in. Thinking about the last years I would like to go to a different continent then Asia for a change. Middle America or South America sound pretty good. I've also always wanted to visit Kanada and Alaska. Maybe it is time for some cold countries...

This semester is a rather empty one concerning lectures. I am prolonging my masters with an erasmus semester in Krakow and there are almost no credit points missing for me to start my master thesis. Thus I have only two lectures and one language course (polski ☺). I have lots of time to write new plugins and recently I've added a few to GameBox. Since I am always looking for new things to learn I've started using MySQL and Maven. After almost half a year with only one times sport per week in Oman I can finally visit training in Aachen again. The RWTH has a wide offer of sport activities that I've really missed at other places.

I'am looking forward to an awesome experience in Poland.