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Investigation of Atomic-scale Phenomena in Crystalline Solids


Major research activities at the Institute of Microstructure Research cover the in-depth investigation of atomic-scale phenomena in crystalline solids with a special emphasis on electroceramics, complex metallic alloys, multifunctional nanoclusters, and low-dimensional quantum systems. Relevant issues include the understanding of structural and electronic properties associated with heterointerfaces and lattice imperfections via a multidisciplinary research approach making use of a broad portfolio of microscopic and spectroscopic analysis techniques.


With these research activities at the fore, PGI-5 supplements its competence in the fields of single crystal growth, sputtering deposition technology, sensorics based on Josephson junctions and SQUIDs as well as scanning tunnelling microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. In some of these fields, its expertise covers a whole range of areas, from basic research via materials synthesis to the design and manufacturing of technical devices. In other fields, access to novel material classes and the opportunity to examine intricate problems are provided by specific scientific collaborations, targeting the application of ultra high-resolution transmission electron microscopy techniques, and accompanied by the development of novel analysis methods.

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Over and above general solid state and technology-related activities, ER-C-1 jointly operates the Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons on a pari passu basis together with ER-C-2 and the Central Facility for Electron Microscopy (GFE) at RWTH Aachen University. Representing one of the world's foremost establishments in the field of electron optics research, the ER-C features several unique tools for nanocharacterisation complemented by a strong expertise in the development of advanced methods. This expertise is also available to external researchers within the framework of the ER-C user services. Pushing back the frontiers of fundamental electron optical research is thus accompanied by the application of advanced techniques in the investigation of a variety of solid state phenomena taking place on the atomic scale.


The above three basic fields of research activity - materials synthesis via single crystal growth and thin layer deposition, the design and fabrication of devices for sensory and spectrometric purposes as well as the broad portfolio of atomic-resolution microscopic techniques - constitute a well balanced research programme which benefit from the multidisciplinary and complementary expertise of the PGI-5 work groups. In this sense, in-house research is a perfect reflection of a multipurpose, target-oriented cooperation between internal work groups, supplemented by external collaborations.