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 more
Department Nanomagnetism, Experimental Department I more
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 more
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 more
A good wire for nanoelectronics

A good wire for nanoelectronics

News April 09, 2013
Silicon nanowires become doped with unexpectedly large amounts of aluminium during growth, so that their conductivity increases more
An electrical switch for magnetic current
A multiferroic tunnel junction provides storage media with increased data density more
Data storage takes an electric turn
The data density in random access memory could be radically increased more
The Max Planck Society mourns the death of Ulrich Gösele
The Director of the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics died suddenly on November 8th at the age of 60 years old. more
Power thrust for spider silk

Power thrust for spider silk

News April 24, 2009
A team of scientists from Halle has succeeded in making spider silk significantly more break-resistant and ductile through the addition of metals more
Giant memory thanks to tiny capacitors
German-Korean research team produces a permanent memory using a new procedure and thereby sets a memory density record more
How to Herd Atoms

How to Herd Atoms

News December 04, 2006
Max Planck researchers in Halle observe self-organization of atoms in circular atomic pens more
Brilliant Growth without Gold

Brilliant Growth without Gold

News November 28, 2006
Max Planck researchers in Halle present new methods for manufacturing nanowires from silicon more
From Nanowires to Nanotubes

From Nanowires to Nanotubes

News September 28, 2006
A new concept for compound nanotube formation based on the Kirkendall effect more
Captive Electrons

Captive Electrons

News April 20, 2006
Max Planck researchers send electrons in a copper-platelet into a bound state above the vacuum level more
Opening of the "International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nanostructures" on October 11, 2005 in Halle/Saale more
Small Defects Have Large Impact

Small Defects Have Large Impact

News January 19, 2004
Max Planck materials scientists discover why ferroelectric materials sometimes lose their useful properties in the nanometer range more
Technological Breakthrough in Silicon Photonics
Max Planck scientist introduces a new method for the manufacture of silicon nanocrystals for optoelectronics and storage technology more

The Spin Doctor

3/2015 Physics & Astronomy
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. more

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. more

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. more

Magnetoelectric coupling at metallic surfaces

2011 Ernst, Arthur; Ostanin, Sergey; Fechner, Michael; Mertig, Ingrid
Material Sciences
Magnetoelectric coupling allows changing the magnetic state of a material by applying an electric field. To date, this phenomenon has mainly been observed in insulating materials. Metallic bulk systems do not exhibit this effect, because applied electric fields are screened by conduction electrons. We have been able to switch the magnetic order in a metallic nanostructure reversibly between two stable magnetic states using magnetoelectric coupling induced by an applied electric field. more

Photoemission by ultrashort laser pulses

2010 Winkelmann, Aimo; Chiang, Cheng-Tien; Lin, Wen-Chin; Kirschner, Jürgen
Quantum Physics Solid State Research
The investigation of possibilities to influence electrons in solids and at surfaces on the femtosecond (10-15 s) time scale is an important area of research. This is also relevant for the steering of magnetic switching processes by ultrashort laser pulses and for the control of the spin of excited electrons. At the MPI of Microstructure Physics, the control of the spin of optically excited photoelectrons is investigated by the absorption of multiple photons at metal surfaces. more

Ferroelectric nanocapacitors

2009 Hesse, Dietrich; Alexe, Marin; Han, Hee; Lee, Woo; Lotnyk, Andriy; Senz, Stephan; Schubert, Markus Andreas; Vrejoiu, Ionela; Gösele, Ulrich
Material Sciences Solid State Research
Non-volatile solid state memories of high memory density are a promising research field, both under technological and fundamental aspects. Since the size of a single memory cell must be clearly below 100 nanometer, and the properties of storage materials can be considerably modified at such low size, the development of suitable preparation methods and the property analysis of the thus prepared memory cells represent considerable challenges. Such investigations are part of the research on nanostructured materials at Max Planck Institute of Microsctructure Physics in Halle. more

Surface Alloys: A Class of Materials with Giant Rashba Spin-Orbit Coupling

2008 Henk, Jürgen
Material Sciences Solid State Research
The surface alloy Bi/Ag( 111) exhibits a giant spin splitting of its surface electronic structure due to Rashba spin-orbit coupling. Electronic structure calculations prove that the effect is brought about by an in-plane structural inversion asymmetry in the surface layer, in interplay with the conventional Rashba effect. These findings pave the way for testing theoretical predictions for spin-orbit split two-dimensional electron gases. more

Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD)

2007 Knez, Mato; Nielsch, Kornelius; Gösele, Ulrich
Material Sciences
Nanostructures are in the focus of research in technology, medicine and biology. The Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle currently develops a major research project which deals with the deposition of thin inorganic films, biological, organic and inorganic nanostructures and the exploitation of such functionalized materials, for applications in medicine, electronics, catalysis, and sensing. more
Using surface sensitive x-ray diffraction the geometric structure of the Fe/MgO/Fe(001) Tunneling-Magneto-Resistance (TMR) device was investigated. Evidence for the formation of an FeO-like interface layer could be provided, which significantly influences the magnitude of the TMR-effect more

First principles study of the magnetism of diluted magnetic semiconductors

2005 Sandratskii, Leonid; Patrick Bruno
Material Sciences Solid State Research
Modern spin-electronics defines high requirements for the design and fabrication of new materials. Dilute magnetic semiconductors take an important position among the materials that can fulfill these requirements. Here we report on the results of some of our first-principles studies on these materials. We show that partially filled electronic bands play an important role in the magnetism of these systems. The long-range exchange interaction appears as a compromise between the delocalization of the hole states from the 3d impurities and the strength of the 3d-hole interaction. The properties of this compromise depend strongly on the system studied and can be determined only within the framework of the realistic first-principles density-functional-theory calculations more

Semiconductor Nanowires

2004 Kolb, Florian M.; Breitenstein, Otwin; Erfurth, Wilfried; Hofmeister, Herbert; Schmidt, Volker; Scholz, Roland; Schubert, Luise; Senz, Stephan; Werner, Peter; Zacharias, Margit; Zakharov, Nikolai; Gösele, Ulrich
Material Sciences
Semiconductor nanowires represent a promising research field where basic research and technology meet. The analysis of their growth mechanism, their properties and their possible applications are part of the research at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle. Several different growth methods have been applied to fabricate semiconductor nanowires, which were characterized using electron microscopy. Further investigations, e.g. of the electrical and optical properties are currently carried out. more
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