Micro- and nanostructuring are powerful tools to fabricate materials with a large variety of functionalities. The primary scientific goal of the department is to improve the fundamental understanding of such processes and the resulting materials. The research capabilities include methods to fabricate nanowires and nanotubes, micro- and macroporous silicon and nanoporous alumina as well as functional oxides. Molecular beam epitaxy, laser deposition and clean room facilities are available. Advanced high resolution and analytical electron optical techniques are indispensable research tools, complemented by the appropriate simulation techniques. We are renting cleanroom facilities in a nearby Center for Nanostructured Materials, which also houses a focused ion beam machine, a high resolution SEM and a 100 keV electron beam lithography facility. Our materials research addresses a variety of semiconductors, ferroelectrics, thermoelectrics as well as other materials, such as composites or biogenic ceramics. Recent examples include experimental and theoretical work on nanowires of silicon and compound semiconductors, functional oxides as well as germanium inclusions in silicon for potential silicon light emitters.
Our collaborative research efforts include a Max Planck Partner Group working at ITT New Delhi in the area of wafer bonding. Two research teams are active within the BMBF-funded research project "SiLi-nano". This joint activity of the Martin Luther University, the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials, and of the MPI is to accelerate the development of photovoltaics and silicon photonics. Moreover, the department is strongly involved in collaborative research activities in a Network of Excellence "Nanostructured Materials" of the Martin Luther University, financed by the State of Saxony-Anhalt, as well as in the Collaborative Research Center "Functionality of oxide interfaces", funded by the German Research Foundation.
The BMBF-funded junior research group "Functional 3D-Nanostructures by Atomic Layer Deposition" has been focusing on novel strategies for the synthesis of nanostructures controlling the mechanical, optical and catalytic properties. The leader of this group, Dr. Knez, recently moved to a professor position at the CIC nanoGUNE in San Sebastian. In the area of functional oxide nanomaterials, physical processes occuring in ferroelectric and multiferroic nanocapacitors and heterostructures as well as in intrinsically multiferroic single crystals are characterized in detail. The Minerva Research Group "Nanoscale ferroelectric and multiferroic heterostructures" studies structural and physical properties of superlattices based on various functional oxides as well as epitaxial thin films and multiferroic nanostructures. Dr. Vrejoiu recently moved her Minerva group to the MPI for Solid State Research in Stuttgart.