The research group studies the fundamental physics of novel materials under dimensional constraints as well as novel low-dimensional materials. This includes investigations of their formation, structural evolution and of the physics of their unique properties. Multiscale phenomena of metals, alloys and polymers with micro/nanocrystalline structures, as well as carbon nanostructures including graphene membranes are in the focus of research. The research group comprehensively tackles structure-property relationships, physical mechanisms of complex defect configurations and their interactions. Systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium including micro/nanocrystalline, disordered and glassy structures are investigated.
State-of-the-art complementary experimental methods such as atomic resolution scanning and transmission electron microscopy, scattering with synchrotron radiation, and contact-free laser speckle correlation are applied. In addition to its experimental know-how, the research group successfully develops physical models to clarify the experimental results. The scientific expertise and the special patented research methods developed by the group are utilized to achieve micro/nanostructured materials with tailored mechanical, magnetic and thermoelectric properties.
Future research will comprise functional nanostructured materials including magnetic materials, ferromagnetic shape memory alloys and materials for energy conversion such as thermoelectrics, nanometal hydrides, quantum dot semiconductors for solar cells, and nanostructured graphene for a next generation of nano-electronic and nano-electromechanical devices. Micro/nanocrystalline soft matter and biomedical materials will be a focus with respect to their basic deformation mechanisms and application lifetime. In-situ straining and hydrostatic pressure diffraction experiments will be applied in the synchrotron to study the dynamics of dislocations and grain boundaries in nanocrystalline materials and geomaterials. Quantitative in-situ experiments in the TEM for atomic level studies of graphene and nanostructured materials using specially designed MEMS devices will be developed. A new aberration-corrected ultra-high vacuum scanning transmission electron microscope with versatile extensions for in-situ experiments is currently under construction.
Faculty of Physics
University of Vienna