We conduct application-inspired basic research on thin films to fundamentally understand the atomistic nature of materials properties and behavior and learn how to make materials perform better through new methods of synthesis, processing, and computation. This leads to the discovery of novel phases and structures, as well as finding new materials phenomena.
The Thin Film Physics Division is internationally recognized as a leader in materials research and the nanoscience of functional ceramics. Our interests range from epitaxial films to superlattices and nanocomposites, oxidation and wear-resistant coatings, electric contacts, and optoelectronics, with applications promoting major energy savings. Focus is placed on driving research towards advanced materials, surface functionalization, and self-organization on the nanoscale generating great benefits to society, by developing enhanced synthesis techniques while vicariously enhancing infrastructure via unprecedented facilities for materials research, in particular electron microscopy, x-ray diffraction, and ab initio calculations.
Emphasis is put on the relationships between growth from the vapor phase, microstructure, and properties of thin solid films. We thus extend the frontiers of materials science and nanotechnology to expand the scientific foundations for the development of materials. Innovations are often patented and results explored in collaboration with industry.