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Applying Knowledge

Instrument Development

Modern problems in surface science require a modern methodology. The Institut für Grenzflächenforschung und Vakuumphysik (IGV), from which PGI-3 emerged, has a proven track-record of instrument development. Examples are the Jülich design of magnetically levitated turbo pumps, the Besocke-design of scanning tunnelling miscroscopes that is still widely used today(the figure on the left is taken from Besocke´s original patent), and the Ibach-type high-resolution electron energy loss spectrometers that are still unsurpassed in energy resolution.
Currently, in PGI-3 we are working on a range of development projects, among them multi-tip scanning tunnelling microscopy for nanoscale transport experiments. Our most recent innovation in the field of scaninng tunnelling microscopy is the method of scanning tunnelling hydrogen microscopy (patents pending 2008, 2009), which yields images of unprecedented resolution.

Spin-Off Company mProbes: Scanning Probe Microscopy Solutions with the KoalaDrive®

The spin-off company mProbes offers scanning probe microscopy solutions of highest performance. The products are based on the KoalaDrive® nano-motor technology which was invented at the research center Jülich and makes scanning probe microscopy design ultra-compact and stable. Scanning probe microscopy solutions from mProbes allow integrating scanning probe microscopy to existing surface analysis or deposition systems and provide operation at low temperatures or high magnetic fields.

A specialty of mProbes is the multi-tip scanning probe microscopy which allows expanding the capacity of scanning probe microscopy from imaging towards electrical measurements at the nanocale. The spin-off company mProbes GmbH was launched in 2012 by three JARA-FIT scientists


Some products of mProbes: KoalaDrive®, scanning tunneling microscope, and the ultra-compact four tip scanning probe microscope.

Crystal Preparation Laboratory

High quality single crystals are an indispensible prerequiste for surface science. The Crystal Preparation Laboratory at PGI-3 is known for its excellent single crystal surfaces and has over the years pioneered many innovate surface preparation techniques. Laboratory staff orient, cut and polish single crystals . Most transition metals surfaces and many alloy surfaces can be prepared. More recently, a gradient oven for the purification of organic materials by re-sublimation has been designed and built.

A speciality of our Crystal Preparation Laboratory is the fabrication of so-called bead crystals. These are small crystals of a few mm diameter which are made from molten metal wire, following a patented process. They are of exceptional quality (strain-free, low mosaic). Bead crystals with one, two or even three wires for clamping and/or heating can be ordered through icryst, a spin-off company of PGI-3’s Crystal Preparation Laboratory.