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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 comprise 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.


For the above purposes, PGI-5 complements competence in the fields of single crystal growth, sputtering deposition technology, sensorics via Josephson admittance and Hilbert spectroscopy as well as scanning tunnelling microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. In some of these fields, the competence covers the whole range from basic research via materials synthesis to the design and manufacturing of technical devices. In other fields, access to novel material classes and intricate problems are provided by qualified collaborations targeting on the application of ultra high-resolution transmission electron microscopy techniques accompanied by the development of novel analysis methods.

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Over and above general solid state and technology-related activities, PGI-5 jointly operates the Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons on a pari passu base with the Central Facility for Electron Microscopy (GFE) of 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 provided also to external researchers within the framework of ER-C user services. Pushing the limits in the field of fundamental electron optical research is, hence, accompanied by the application of advanced techniques to 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, 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 standing to benefit from multidisciplinarity and complementary expertise of PGI-5 working parties. In this sense, in-house research represents a perfect reflection of a multipurpose target-oriented cooperation between internal working parties which is supplemented by external collaborations.