Electronic Structure and Physical Properties of Matter
At PGI-6 we explore the intricate interrelations between the electronic structure and the physical properties of matter. Particular emphasis is given to the fundamental aspects of magnetism and the exploitation of magnetic and spin-based phenomena in nanoscience and information technology. The systems of interest range from thin film stacks and quantum wires to quantum dots, clusters and magnetic molecules.
In order to address the wide variety of physical aspects and scientific questions arising in the field of magnetism, we develop and employ advanced experimental techniques in the laboratory, including high-resolution magnetic microscopies and ultrafast laser-based spectroscopies. Additionally, we operate our own beamlines with highly-specialized endstations at the synchrotron radiation facilities in Dortmund (DELTA) and Berlin (BESSY-II) for state-of-the-art electron spectroscopy and element-selective electron microscopy investigations.
The results of these studies on magnetic materials and spin-based phenomena form the basis for our fundamental and application-oriented research in the field of magneto- and spin electronics, where we endeavour to employ spin as a state variable in future nanoelectronic devices. These activities also serve as a gateway to solid-state based quantum information technology.
Pioneering work at PGI-6 includes the discovery of Giant Magnetoresistance (GMR) by Peter Grünberg - concomitantly with Albert Fert of the Université Paris Sud. GMR revolutionized magnetic data storage technology and laid the foundations of spintronics. In 2007, this discovery was honoured with the Nobel Prize in Physics.