Bodil Holst




Department of Physics and Technology

Research groups


I am an experimental physicist, specialised in surface science with a PhD from Cambridge University, Cavendish Laboratory. My main research interest is the development of new scientific instrumentation and methodologies, using molecular beams.

As a PostDoc at TU-Graz, I coordinated an EU NEST project on the development of a new microscope using neutral helium atoms as an imaging probe. January 2008, we published the first images. This lead to a new EU project here in Bergen 2013-2016. The research is continuing with the ultimate aim of developing a nanoscale neutral helium stereo-microscope. My group has also used molecular beam diffraction to characterize oxide surfaces. In 2015 we discovered one of the largest surface reconstructions ever observed on a bulk substrate on α-quartz(0001). In 2021, we were the first group to measure the temperature dependent bending rigidity of a 2D material. This experiment was done using inelastic helium atom scattering. The work continues in a FRIPRO project 2D Material Properties, financed by the Norwegian Research Council. In 2019, together with collaborators I published a theoretical paper extending binary holography to the near field, and showing how this can be used to do mask-based lithography with 1 nm resolution using metastable helium atoms. 2020 we got funded by FET-OPEN to realize this experimentally. I am the project coordinator.

I have extended my interest in scientific methodology to the field of archaeometry, where I have collaborated with conservators and archaeologists to develop identification methods for ancient plant fibers

Finally, I am applying my knowledge about surfaces at the atomic scale to develop novel smart surfaces and coatings. In 2019, my group published the first ever study of the isophobic properties of graphene. We could demonstrate that fluorinated graphene provides long-lasting ice-inhibition on high humidity.  This work is ongoing in an M-ERA.NET project, which I also coordinate.



I am interested in teaching and the development of novel teaching methods. For the last five years, I have been responsible for lecturing the basic physics course in classical mechanics, and I use it as a testing ground for trying out new teaching methods. This led to a recent publication on how students' performance can be improved by including retrieval practice sessions in the lectures. With support from the university we have also investigated how the Covid-19 lock down in 2020 affected students.

For many years, I have been interested in promoting young researchers, phds and postdocs, carrying out workshops on scientific paper writing an publishing at various universities for a total of several hundred students. This led to the publication of the book "Scientific Paper Writing - A Survival Guide", illustrated by Jorge Cham of PhD Comics.

Academic article

See a complete overview of publications in Cristin.

Selected Recent Publications

S. D. Eder, S. K. Hellner, S. Forti, J. M. Nordbotten, J. R. Manson, C. Coletti, and B. Holst, Temperature-Dependent Bending Rigidity of AB-Stacked Bilayer Graphene. Phys. Rev. Lett. 2021, 127 266102

Holst, B. et al. Material properties particularly suited to be measured with helium scattering: selected examples from 2D materials, van der Waals heterostructures, glassy materials, catalytic substrates, topological insulators and superconducting radio frequency materials. Physical Chemistry, Chemical Physics 2021: 23, 7653-7672 

Gjerde, Vegard; Holst, Bodil; Kolstø, Stein Dankert. Retrieval Practice of a Hierachical Principle Structure in University Introductory Physics: Making Stronger Students. Physical Review Physics Education Research 2020; 16, 013103

Nesse, Torstein; Simonsen, Ingve; Holst, Bodil. Nanometer-Resolution Mask Lithography with Matter Waves: Near-Field Binary Holography. Physical Review Applied 2019; 11, 024009 (editors' suggestion)

Büchner, Christin; Eder, Sabrina Daniela; Nesse, Torstein; Kuhness, David; Schlexer, Philomena; Pacchioni, Gianfranco; Manson, Joseph R.; Heyde, Markus; Holst, Bodil; Bending rigidity of 2D silica Physical Review Letters 2018; 120, 1-6

Akhtar, Naureen; Anemone, Gloria; Farias, Daniel; Holst, Bodil. Fluorinated graphene provides long lasting ice inhibition in high humidity. Carbon 2018;141. s451-456

Akhtar, Naureen; Thomas, Peter James; Svardal, Benny; Almenningen, Stian; De Jong, Edwin; Magnussen, Stian; Onck, Patrick R; Fernø, Martin; Holst, Bodil. Pillars or Pancakes? Self-Cleaning Surfaces without Coating. Nano letters 2018; 141, 7509-7514

Eder, Sabrina Daniela; Flatabø, Ranveig; Ravn, Anders K; Samelin, Bjørn; Greve, Martin Møller; Reisinger, Thomas; Holst, Bodil. Fast resolution change in neutral helium atom microscopy. Review of Scientific Instruments 2018; 89, 053702 (editors' pick)

Valluvar Oli, Arivazhagan; Schmitz, F.D.; Vullum, Per Erik; Van Helvoort, Antonius; Holst, Bodil. Atomic resolution imaging of beryl: an investigation of the nano-channel occupation. Journal of Microscopy 2017 ; 265, 245-250

Lukešová, Hana; Salvador Palau, Adria; Holst, Bodil. Identifying plant fibre textiles from Norwegian Merovingian Period and Viking Age graves: The Late Iron Age Collection of the University Museum of Bergen. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 2017; 13, 281-285 - Highlighted in Nature Materials:


Scientific Paper Writing: A Survival Guide, Illustrated by Jorge Cham (Phd Comics):

Surface Science Techniques, Springer Series in Surface Sciences, G. Bracco, B. Holst ed.




Ongoing, externally funded projects:


2D Material Properties - NFR FRIPRO

Nanoscale mask-based lithography with metastable helium atoms ( - FET-Open sponsored Project

Prevention of Erosion on Off-Shore Wind Turbine Blades - Equinor sponsored project (Akademiavtalen)

ISOS: Multifunctional icephobic, robust, lightweight and transparent coatings for windows and lenses - M-ERA.NET sponsored Project

PAFYS: Princippbaseret aktiv undervisning for sterkere fysikk- og ingeniørstudenter - DIKU sponsored project



2019: Valgt til leder for Kavli Prize-komiteen i nanovitenskap for 2019 - 2024.
2018: Innvalgt som medlem i Norges Tekniske Vitenskapsakademi
2015: Innvalgt som medlem i Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi 
2007: Trond Mohn stiftelse, Rekrutteringsstipend
2000: Alexander von Humboldt-stiftelsen, stipend
1999: Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Forskningsstipend