Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research

Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research

Lithium batteries that provide electric cars with power, superconductors that conduct electricity over long distances without loss, solar cells that harvest solar power – all of these examples are based on the electrical conductivity characteristics of solid materials. These are some of the phenomena which scientists investigate at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research. Solid state materials include metals, ceramics and even crystals of organic molecules. Just how the structures of these materials affect their electrical, mechanical and magnetic properties, is what solid state researchers seek to understand. To this end, the researchers particularly focus on solids at the nanoscale, which behave differently compared to materials in larger dimensions. In order to miniaturize electronic circuits even further or to prepare for the electronics that will follow on from the silicon era, the behaviour of these solids needs to be controlled.


Heisenbergstraße 1
70569 Stuttgart
Phone: +49 711 689-0
Fax: +49 711 689-1010

PhD opportunities

This institute has an International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS):
IMPRS for Condensed Matter Science

In addition, there is the possibility of individual doctoral research. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

Department Electronic Structure Theory more
Department Solid State Spectroscopy more
Department Nanoscale Science more
Department Physical Chemistry of Solids more
Department Solid State Quantum Electronics more
Department Quantum Many-Body Theory more
Department Low Dimensional Electron Systems more
Department Electronic Structure Theory more
Department Inorganic Solid State Chemistry more
Light gets ions going
Light controlled current transport by charged atoms, now demonstrated for the first time, makes new applications conceivable more
Nuclear magnetic resonance scanner for individual proteins
Thanks to improved resolution, a quantum sensor can now identify individual atoms in biomolecules more
The first glimpse of a single protein
A folded protein molecule can be clearly imaged with the help of electron holograms more
Trickling electrons
Close to absolute zero, the particles exhibit their quantum nature more
Nanotechnology: Molecular Lego with an encoded blueprint
In a self-organized process, a selected peptide forms a honeycomb structure on a surface more
<p>Let there be hydrogen</p>

Let there be hydrogen

October 16, 2015
An organic framework serves as a catalyst for the photocatalytic conversion of water into hydrogen more
Touchless displays superseding touchscreens?
Touchless displays could react to moisture emitted by the human body more
Scientific partner UBC earns $66.5-million investment to strengthen quantum materials research
A $66.5-million investment from the Government of Canada—the single largest government investment in University of British Columbia (UCB) research—will enhance UBC’s standing as a global leader in quantum matter research and help connect university research with industry. more
Framework compounds: metal-organic transformations
The mechanosynthesis of cage compounds suitable for storing gases can be monitored in real-time with the help of X-ray powder diffraction more
Jumping crystals

Jumping crystals

January 07, 2015
Insights into structural transformations explain why mechanical tension causes some crystals to jump, while others crumble more
A nanolamp with lightning-fast switch
A light source and its transistor-operated brightness control shrink to the size of a single molecule more
How <em>Paramecium protozoa</em> claw their way to the top
Thanks to their asymmetrical form, the slipper-shaped microorganisms can swim to the surface of the water under their own steam more
Custom-made nanotubes

Custom-made nanotubes

August 13, 2014
Carbon nanotubes can be specifically produced with a desired structure from suitable precursor molecules more
The atomic picture of magnetism
Atomic scale imaging of magnetic structures allows for new aspects of high-temperature superconductivity to be studied. more
Atoms and molecules on the same wavelength

Organic dye molecules are used as single photon sources and can be tuned to the optical transitions of alkali metals


Quantum World in a Cube

1/2014 Material & Technology
Nanoelectronics is at once a promise and a challenge. Within their tiny dimensions, electrons, the drivers of electronic circuits, exhibit some exotic quantum effects. Using ultrasensitive techniques, researchers in Klaus Kern’s department at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart are studying the behavior of electrons in nanostructures.
Electric cables that routinely conduct electricity without loss – physicists have been motivated by this idea ever since superconductivity was discovered 100 years ago.
Researchers aim to revolutionize blood sample analysis with highly sensitive diagnostic chips.
Rechargeable lithium batteries have a big future as energy storage. Discoveries by Joachim Maier and his co-workers in the field of nanoionics help boost their performance.
No job offers available

Flexible organic transistors and integrated circuits with extremely small supply voltages of 0.7 V

2018 Klauk, Hagen
Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research
Compared with transistors based on inorganic semiconductors, organic transistors can be fabricated at much lower temperatures of about 100 degrees Celsius. This makes it possible to manufacture electronic systems on a variety of unconventional substrates, such as plastics, paper and textiles. As this type of electronic systems is of interest for mobile applications, it is critical that the transistors and circuits can be operated at very low supply voltages. We have therefore developed an ultra-thin gate dielectric that reduces the required supply voltage to 0.7 Volt. more

Quantum chemical approaches to electronic structure theory for materials

2017 Grüneis, Andreas; Alavi, Ali
Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research
Quantum chemical approaches to the description of the electronic structure of real materials can be used to predict even strong electronic correlation effects with high accuracy. However, the scaling of the computational complexity to calculate and store the true many-electron wave function often makes these methods intractable. In this review we report on recent progress to reduce the computational complexity of wave function based methods for the study of molecules and solids. more

Ultrafast Lithium between two graphene layers

2017 Kühne, Matthias; Paolucci, Federico; Popovic, Jelena; Maier, Joachim; Smet, Jurgen H.
Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research
In analogy to lithium-ion technology, bilayer graphene is employed as an electrode in an electrochemical cell for the first time. An innovative cell design allows for the application of electronic transport methods known from the field of nanostructures and low-dimensional systems. This unusual combination offers unprecedented direct access to the motion of lithium-ions that may be reversibly inserted in between the two carbon sheets of bilayer graphene. An ionic mobility much higher than in bulk graphite can thus be revealed. more

The exotic faces of entangled electrons in solids

2016 Takagi, Hidenori
Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research

In transition metal compounds, electrons are strongly entangled (correlated) by Coulomb interaction and forms a rich variety of solid, liquid and gas phases. We are aiming to explore exotic electronic phases formed by spin, charge and orbital degrees of freedom of entangled electrons. In this review, we report that by incorporating relativistic spin-orbit coupling, entanglement of spin and motion of electrons, in complex iridium oxides, even richer phases of correlated electrons emerge including spin orbital electron solid (Mott insulator), Dirac electron gas and Quantum spin liquid.


Magnetism at the limit

2016 Loth, Sebastian
Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research

Atomically small magnets behave drastically different compared to macroscopic magnets. Quantum mechanical phenomena determine their stability and dynamics. Scanning probe methods can be used to create individual quantum magnets atom by atom. The atomically precise magnetic structures enable the exploration of new concepts for ultra-dense data storage and magnetic sensors for atomic-scale environments.


Oxide electronics

2015 Mannhart, Jochen
Material Sciences Quantum Physics Solid State Research
The rich array of conventional and exotic electronic properties that can be generated by oxide heterostructures is of great potential value for device applications. However, transistors with voltage gain have not yet been realized from complex oxides. Here we report on the fabrication of such transistors and on monolithically integrated NMOS logic circuits that utilize a two-dimensional electron liquid generated at an oxide interface as channel material. These results illustrate the practicability and the potential of oxide electronics. more

Polymers go solar – molecular materials for artificial photosynthesis

2015 Lotsch, Bettina
Chemistry Material Sciences Quantum Physics Solid State Research
The efficient conversion of solar energy into useful chemical fuels has been identified as one of the major challenges facing modern materials science. In the quest for powerful, abundant and economic photocatalysts capable of light-induced hydrogen evolution, a new generation of porous polymers has recently been brought to fruition. The molecular structure of these materials enables the rational design of photocatalysts with tailor-made properties according to Nature's blueprint. more

Molecules under a sharp tip

2014 Rauschenbach, Stephan; Kern, Klaus
Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research

Non-evaporable functional molecules such as proteins and peptides can be converted into intact gas phase ions by electrospray ionization. This allows the deposition on surfaces in a vacuum, and thus the atomically resolving analysis by scanning tunneling microscopy. In addition to a detailed insight into the structure of these large molecules, electrospray ion beam deposition allows steering of the molecular conformation into folded, unfolded or two-dimensionally folded structures.


Epitaxial graphene on silicon carbide with taylor-made electronic properties

2014 Starke, Ulrich
Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research

Graphene, a single atom thick carbon layer, is grown on top of silicon carbide (SiC). When the topmost silicon atoms are sublimated by annealing the SiC substrate, the remaining carbon forms the graphene layer. In order to retrieve the extraordinary electronic properties of the graphene, it must be chemically decoupled from the substrate. This is achieved by inserting hydrogen between graphene and SiC, so-called intercalation, which passivates the substrate. Intercalation of other materials, such as germanium allows to functionalize the graphene, so that a taylor-made doping is possible.


High-resolution neutron spectroscopy

2013 Keller, Thomas; Keimer, Bernhard
Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research
The neutron spectrometer TRISP constructed by the MPI-FKF at the FRM II in Garching allows measurements of the lifetimes of lattice vibrations (phonons) and of spin excitations (magnons) in solids as a function of energy and momentum. The data generated by TRISP throw new light on several prominent problems in solid state physics. This article describes measurements of phonon lifetimes in the superconductors niobium and lead, and of magnon lifetimes in the antiferromagnet MnF2. In addition, the thermal expansion of MnSi was determined under extreme conditions by the Larmor-diffraction method. more

100 years after Max von Laue – Phase transitions and parametric symmetry modes: innovative methods in crystallography

2013 Dinnebier, Robert. E.; Etter, Martin
Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research
Since the first diffraction patterns by Max von Laue 100 years ago, crystallography underwent an enormous development. Today's position sensitive detectors and radiation intensive synchrotron and neutron sources allow to measure powder diffractograms with high time resolution. This possibility and innovative analysis methods such as the coupling of symmetry modes with parametric Rietveld refinement allow for direct observation and investigation of phase transitions in solids. more

Exploitation of size effects for electrochemical energy conversion

2012 Maier, Joachim
Material Sciences Solid State Research
Recent activities of our Department showed how crucial the parameter "size" is with respect to electrochemical overall properties. This paper highlights experimental contributions of our department in this respect, which are based on predictions that we made and succeeded to verify. more
The demands on the numerical methods to calculate the electronic and optical properties of nanostructures are presented. It is emphasized that a connection to experimental results requires to take many atoms into account, while considering the effects of correlations in the excited exciton states. A modern approach to this difficult challenge is presented along with an application of the method to predict the feasibility of a scheme aimed at the generation of entangled photon pairs. more

Iron arsenide superconductors – an example of the central role of crystal growth in solid state research

2011 Keimer, Bernhard; Lin, Chengtian
Material Sciences Solid State Research
The synthesis of high-grade single crystals plays a key role in solid state research, because the significance of experimental results depends critically on the sample quality. We will illustrate this relationship by highlighting experiments on the recently discovered high-temperature superconducting iron arsenides. more

Nematic order of electrons in solids

2011 Metzner, Walter
Material Sciences Solid State Research
Theoretical considerations indicated that, under suitable circumstances, conduction electrons in metallic solids may assume an ordered state with a preferred direction for the electron motion. This nematic order breaks an orientational symmetry of the underlying crystal, but not the translation invariance. Nematic order of electrons has now been observed in a high temperature superconductor and another transition metal oxide compound. more

Missing light signals the presence of a nanoparticle

2010 Lippitz, Markus
Material Sciences
Seemingly identical nanoobjects such as molecules, proteins, or nanoparticles differ in size, shape, and local environment. Averaging over many nanoobjects blurs the result one gets. Only measurements on single nanoobjects give the full picture. Optical spectroscopy of a single absorbing nanoparticle has to detect a small variation on a large, noisy background. Coupling the particle under investigation to a larger antenna particle simplifies the task and will allow experiments on tiny nanoparticles. more

The quest for high-temperature superconductivity: Can theory help?

2010 Andersen, Ole Krogh
Material Sciences Solid State Research
To find materials which superconduct at normal temperatures is an enormous challenge. So-far the discoveries of new superconductors were nearly always empirical and often surprising. The high-temperature superconductivity in cuprates has not been understood, but for all known cuprates it has been found that the experimental critical temperatures correlate with the calculated dispersions of the conduction band. Although it seems impossible to find cuprates with "better" bandstructures, this might be achieved with man-made heterostructures of alternating nickelates and insulating oxides. more

Symmetries and Spins

2009 Ast, Christian R.; Kern, Klaus
Solid State Research
Symmetries play an important role in science as well as in every day life. They are regarded as esthetic and they can be used to simplify problems. On the other hand, a reduction of symmetries may lead to the consequence that certain properties of a system become discernable. In the field of spintronics this is used to manipulate the electron spin without the use of magnetic fields. The design and characterization of nanostructures relevant for spintronics are studied in the Department of Prof. Kern and the Emmy-Noether-Research-Group "Electronic structure at surfaces and interfaces". more

Superconductivity in Intercalated Graphite

2009 Kremer, Reinhard K.; Kim, Jun Sung
Chemistry Solid State Research
Elementary properties of the recently discovered alkali-earth intercalated graphite compounds AC6 (A = Ca, Sr, Yb) will be described. These new superconductors with critical temperatures of up to 11.6 K can be described as electron-phonon coupled superconductors with a weakly anisotropic order parameter. Experimental results and ab-initio calculations are in good agreement. more

Organic Electronics

2008 Klauk, Hagen
Chemistry Material Sciences
Unlike transistors based on single-crystalline silicon, organic thin-film transistors can be processed entirely at temperatures below 100°C. This allows the manufacturing of flexible or rollable flat panel displays. Of particular importance for the performance of the transistors are the properties of the gate dielectric. more

Electronic properties of metal oxide interfaces

2008 Keimer, Bernhard; Habermeier, Hanns-Ulrich
Chemistry Solid State Research
Bulk metal oxides exhibit a large variety of unusual electronic properties, such as high-temperature superconductivity and magnetic order. This article describes the synthesis of heterostructures of complex metal oxides as well as the characterization of interfaces contained in these structures by different experimental methods. The results may lead to a new generation of electronic devices. more

A Concept for Synthesis Planning in Solid State and Materials Chemistry

2007 Schön, J. Christian; Putz, Holger; Wevers, Marcus A. C.; Hannemann, Alexander; ¿an¿arevi¿, ¿eljko; Pentin, Ilya; Fischer, Dieter; Jansen, Martin
Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research
Rational synthesis planning in solid state chemistry is presented as a self-consistent concept. The unbiased prediction of new compounds followed by an analysis of their properties allows the selection of the most appropriate route for their synthesis. more

Ferromagnetism and superconductivity – the combination of the antagonistic in complex oxides

2007 Habermeier, Hanns-Ulrich; Cristiani, Georg; Soltan, Soltan; Albrecht, Joachim
Solid State Research
Heterostructures consisting of superconducting and ferromagnetic oxides open a new field of research to study the mutual interaction of incompatible ground states in solids. As an example spin-polarized quasiparticle injection into high-temperature superconductors is used to study non-equilibrium effects and thus to contribute to the understanding of superconductivity in cuprates. more

Carbon Nanotubes

2006 Roth, Siegmar
Material Sciences
Carbon nanotubes are presented as prototype nanostructure objects. Experiments on charge transport and methods to identify individual nanotubes are described. Applications as transistors, electrical leads ("VIAs"), and electromechanical devices are discussed. more

Atomic and electronic properties of solid state surfaces and interfaces

2006 Starke, Ulrich
Material Sciences Solid State Research
The investigation of surfaces, interfaces and thin films represents a major subject of state of the art solid state research. The morphology of surfaces on an atomic scale can be measured in real space using a variety of microscopy methods. The detailed atomic structure of the surface is determined using a combination of electron spectroscopy methods, low-energy electron diffraction and scanning tunneling microscopy. An overview of research in surface and interface analysis is demonstrated by a set of exemplary experiments. more

Interplay of Electrons in Metal-Rich Compounds

2005 Simon, Arndt; Ryazanov, Mikhail; Mattausch, Hansjürgen; Kremer, Reinhard K.
Chemistry Solid State Research
Two examples out of the extended new chemistry of metal-rich lanthanoid compounds illustrate the mutual influence of different electronic systems leading to interesting physical properties. more

Solids under high pressure

2005 Loa, Ingo; Wang, Xin; Syassen, Karl
Chemistry Solid State Research
Progress in high pressure research has resulted in tremendous gains in knowledge on materials behavior over a wide range of pressures. Experimental high pressure research takes advantage of numerous recent developments in diamond-anvil-cell techniques, mainly with respect to advances in analytical methods that utilize synchrotron x-ray radiation (diffraction and inelastic scattering), optical spectroscopy, and synchrotron infrared spectroscopy. Our subjects of interest range from illuminating the interplay between subtle changes in atomic arrangements, electron delocalization, magnetism, and superconductivity to fundamental questions about phase transformations, crystal structure, and the nature of interatomic bonding. Some of our recent results are briefly highlighted here. more

Ion Transport and electrical storage in small systems ("Nano-ionics")

2004 Balaya, Palani; Bhattacharyya, Aninda; Fleig, Jürgen; Kim, Sangtae; De Souza, Roger; Sata, Noriko; Maier, Joachim
Chemistry Material Sciences
The investigation of electrochemical phenomena in the nanometer range reveals a variety of exciting anomalies of fundamental significance and technological relevance. This applies to anomalies of mass transport and mass storage in nanocrystalline materials and nanocomposites. A bunch of examples are discussed including mesoscopic ionic heterostructures, mesoscopic accumulation and depletion layers at grain boundaries, novel soft matter electrolytes, the appearance of ferroelectricity in nanocrystalline SrTiO3 and a new storage mode in nanocrystalline Li-battery electrodes. more

Strained semiconductor nanostructures

2004 Heidemeyer, Henry; Kiravittaya, Suwit; Deneke, Christoph; Jin-Phillipp, Neng Yun; Stoffel, Mathieu; Schmidt, Oliver G.
Material Sciences Quantum Physics
We apply strained layer heteroepitaxial growth to create two- and three-dimensional quantum dot (QD) crystals, SiGe heterostructures with unique optical and electronic properties as well as radial superlattices and accurately positioned semiconductor nanopipelines. The high degree of structural perfection of the QD crystals allows us to observe novel phenomena such as lateral strain field interferences. SiGe based heterostructures and interband tunnelling diodes, grown at extremely low temperatures (≈300°C), emit at wavelengths beyond 2 µm and experience peak-to-valley current ratios larger than 7:1. Furthermore, we roll up strained semiconductor bilayers and show that the walls of these structures consist of novel radial superlattices. Individual rolled-up nanotubes are filled up with red dye fluid. more
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