Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics

Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics

The electronics of the future could operate with light instead of electricity – or a combination of the two. As yet, no ideal light sources are available for this, however, nor are fibre optics fully developed. The development of such materials is one of the challenges that the scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics in Halle have taken on. They investigate how the microstructure and nanostructure of metallic compounds affect their physical properties, for example how they behave as fibre optics or their magnetic characteristics. Their research concentrates on materials in low dimensions, for instance in a two-dimensional thin layer, a virtually one-dimensional nanowire or a minute heap of atoms, which physicists call a quantum dot and which, in some respects, resembles a single atom.



Weinberg 2
06120 Halle (Saale)
Phone: +49 345 5582-50
Fax: +49 345 5511223

PhD opportunities

This institute has no International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS).

There is always the possibility to do a PhD. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

Department Experimental Department II


Department Nanomagnetism, Experimental Department I

Millennium Technology Prize for new Max Planck Director

Stuart Parkin receives Finnish Millennium Technology Prize, which is worth one million euros and is regarded as Nobel prize for technological innovation

The smallest storage system in the world

Controlling the magnetic moment of individual atoms opens up new possibilities for compact data storage devices and quantum computers

A good wire for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanowires become doped with unexpectedly large amounts of aluminium during growth, so that their conductivity increases

An electrical switch for magnetic current

A multiferroic tunnel junction provides storage media with increased data density

Data storage takes an electric turn

The data density in random access memory could be radically increased


This physicist changed our world: It was Stuart Parkin’s developments in spintronics that first made Facebook and Google possible, as well as many other computer applications without which our everyday lives are now barely conceivable. Parkin has been Director at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle for one year now. For his colleagues there, his energy is impressive and challenging in equal measure.

No job offers available

What falling cats mean for density functional theory

2017 Requist, Ryan Tyler; Gross, Eberhard K. U.

Material Sciences Particle Physics Quantum Physics

Density functional theory, the most widely used method for calculating the properties of molecules and solids, is limited by its reliance on the Born-Oppenheimer approximation – the assumption that nuclei move infinitely more slowly than electrons. Research conducted at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics has overcome this limitation, exploiting recent advances in the concept of Berry curvature to establish a density functional theory that fully accounts for nonadiabatic coupled electron-nuclear motion.


Helical magnetism in iron nanoislands

2015 Sander, Dirk; Kirschner, Jürgen

Material Sciences Particle Physics Plasma Physics Quantum Physics Solid State Research

Two-dimensional iron islands, some thousand atoms small, exhibit a novel magnetic order on the nanometer scale, which was discovered by spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy. The local magnetization direction of iron rotates continuously over five nearest neighbor distances by 360 degrees. For iron, this magnetic order is unusual, and it is ascribed to the reduced dimensionality of the iron nanostructure. Structural relaxation within the nanostructure modifies the spin-dependent interaction between electrons, and a non-collinear spin alignment results.


Electric field as a switch for nanomagnets

2014 Brovko, Oleg O.; Ruiz-Diaz, Pedro; Dasa, Tamene R.; Stepanyuk, Valeri S.

Material Sciences Particle Physics Plasma Physics Quantum Physics Solid State Research

“Electric Field as a Switch for Nanomagnets” – Nanomagnets are nowadays ubiquitously used as elementary building blocks for data storage devices. The constant strive for miniaturization of those building blocks calls for novel methods of controlling sub-nanoscale magnetic particles and molecules efficiently and selectively. At the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics the effect of electric field on spin (magnetization) orientation and interaction of nanomagnets is studied (with first principles theoretical methods).


Ultrafast magnons for spintronics

2013 Zakeri Lori, Khalil; Zhang, Yu; Chuang, Tzu-Hung; Kirschner, Jürgen

Material Sciences Particle Physics Plasma Physics Quantum Physics Solid State Research

Magnons are the wave-like motions of the magnetic moments in a magnetically ordered solid. Similar to other waves, magnons may also be used for information processing. The study of wavelength, frequency and lifetime of magnons in magnetic solids is an important area of research. At the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics the properties of magnons excited at ferromagnetic surfaces are investigated using spin-polarized electron spectroscopy.


Thermoelectric properties of porous silicon

2012 De Boor, Johannes; Ao, Xianyu; Kim, Dong-Sik; Schmidt, Volker

Material Sciences

By nanostructuring silicon its thermal conductivity can be significantly reduced. Such a reduction can potentially induce a corresponding increase of the thermoelectric efficiency so that the transformation of heat into electric power could be improved. Therefore porous silicon layers were produced by electrochemical etching and the thermoelectric properties of the nanostructured material investigated. These investigations show that the thermal conductivity is indeed strongly reduced but that due to competing effects only moderate increases of the thermoelectric efficiency can be achieved.

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