The department conducts fundamental and applied research on the scientific understanding of structural, chemical and mechanical properties of low-dimensional semiconductors, heterostructures, metastable materials and ferromagnet-semiconductor hybrid structures. X-ray and electron diffraction, imaging and spectroscopy techniques including scanning tunneling microscopy are applied with high spatial resolution and sensitivity to analyze the material systems on different length scales up to the atomic resolution. Experimental results are compared with computer simulations and encouraged by theoretical modeling.
The major research goal of the department Microstructure is to understand material properties on the basis of detailed knowledge of their microstructure. Here the term microstructure in the broadest sense includes all kinds of defects, i.e. deviations from the regular structure, and their geometry and physical configuration – regardless of length scales. The probe volume detecting these features must therefore range from the macroscopic scale to the single atom level. Consequently, advanced X-ray and electron diffraction techniques, electron microscopy imaging and spectroscopy as well as scanning tunneling microscopy are applied with high spatial resolution and high sensitivity to analyze quantitatively the structural, electronic and chemical properties of the wide range of material systems grown at PDI or by external collaborators.