Research in experimental physics I / surface physics
- Magnetism and superconductivity at surfaces
- Two-dimensional materials
- Quantum physics of surfaces and interfaces
The department addresses modern solid state physics of surfaces and interfaces. Investigations into quantum physical properties of nanometer-scaled structures are key research topics. Scanning tunneling and atomic force microscopes are used that are operated at low temperature and in ultrahigh vacuum. The interplay between magnetism and superconductivity is unraveled by magnetic nanostructures (atoms, molecules, clusters) on superconductor surfaces. Modifications of the Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer energy gap by Andreev reflection or bound states are determined by the spectroscopy of the differential conductance of the tunneling barrier. Two-dimensional materials are used as buffer layers to efficiently decouple adsorbates from the substrate. Genuine adsorbate characteristics become accessible in that way. In particular, inelastic electron tunneling spectroscopy enables the measurement of single-molecule vibrational quanta. Quantum physical phenomena are unveiled by the atom-by-atom manipulation of matter and the construction of artificial structures. Examples are electron waves confined to atom corrals as well as the Ruderman-Kittel-Kasuya-Yosida interaction between magnetic atoms in atomic chains.