The ongoing miniaturization in semiconductor technology calls for precise information on the structure and composition of low-dimensional systems and nanoscale devices. Accordingly, the central aim of this Core Research Area is to clarify the fundamental structure-property relation of these systems. Our work program is based on the development and application of sophisticated experimental and modeling tools for materials analysis with highest sensitivity and spatial resolution down to the single-atom level. Special attention is paid to the comprehensive structure determination of epitaxial interfaces, the dynamics of phase formation and phase transitions, and the defect characterization of metastable phases and nanoscale systems down to the ultimately smallest nanostructures. Aside from the analytical aspect, we also use tools to deliberately modify material structures on the length scale from micrometers down to the scale of single atoms. 

The research addresses the following main topics:

  • Interfaces in hetero-structures and nano-systems
  • Order-disorder phenomena and phase transitions
  • Real structure of metastable and nanostructured systems
  • Manipulation and spectroscopy of materials at the single-atom scale