The Department of Epitaxy specializes in the growth of crystalline thin films and nanostructures with extremely well-defined properties. Our core competency is in molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and our work focuses on two complementary tasks: fabricating custom-designed nanostructured samples for the institute and our collaborators, and conducting research on growth mechanisms, allowing us to optimize and manipulate their properties for future technologies. Our labs house eleven MBE systems, operated by a team of knowledgeable scientists and technicians who are committed to the advancement of research in materials science.
The organizational structure of the institute consists of four departments, each representing a specific area of expertise. This structure helps allocate resources effectively and ensures that the institute's research covers a range of topics. The research conducted at the institute is not confined to individual departments but instead encourages collaboration among researchers, engineers, and technicians from all departments. This multidisciplinary approach allows for the convergence of diverse perspectives and expertise in Core Research Areas (CReAs).
The Department of Microstructure focuses on the analysis of microstructures and the exploration of their structure-property-relationships. We use techniques such as x-ray and electron diffraction, transmission electron and scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy to analyze the structural, electronic and mechanical properties of a wide range of materials and quantum systems. Our powerful scanning transmission electron microscope is used for electron tomography to visualize and analyze the three-dimensional structure and chemical information of complex materials with sub-nanometer resolution. Our team is responsible for the operational use of the PHARAO beamline at the Berlin synchrotron BESSY II - a third generation synchrotron radiation source, unique in Germany, to observe in-situ growth during molecular beam epitaxy by means of diffraction experiments.
The Department of Semiconductor Spectroscopy is dedicated to the spectroscopic investigation of thin films, nanostructures, heterostructures, and devices. Our core competence is the fundamental study of electronic, magnetic, photonic and phononic (transport) properties of novel materials and nanostructures. Besides individual nanostructures and epitaxial films, we investigate complex device structures such as THz lasers, UV light emitters and polariton cavity structures for quantum technologies. The combination of advanced spectroscopic methods at the extremes of milli-Kelvin temperature, femtosecond timescales, nanometer resolution and high magnetic fields is a hallmark of the department's innovative research.
Research activities at PDI rely on a support infrastructure that ranges from services such as materials processing and knowledge transfer, to facility management, lab safety, and internal administration.
We recently established two new research groups to focus on emerging topics. The groups are independently-led by PDI research fellows and benefit from a wide range of expertise through collaborations with partner institutes.