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Materials science

Research activities within the materials science group focus on the structure and dynamics of novel materials.

Illustration of X-ray scattered by diamond Illustration of X-ray scattered by diamond. (Credit: UiS/Qiuyuan Zhang)

The researchers use international large-scale facilities, such as synchrotron and neutrons sources. These probes interact with the atoms and electrons in our samples.

The analysis of such interactions gives us crucial information about the sample’s atomic arrangement, magnetic structure, distribution of magnetic moments and dynamical process.

These parameters determine the physical properties of the materials and their potential applications. We apply theoretical and numerical approaches to understand the physical properties of these materials. Our research activities are described within the following subjects:

Computational Materials Science 

Contact person: Eva Rauls 

One big research area is the field of "molecules on surfaces", in which the adsorption of single molecules, the formation of self-assembled adsorbates, and amongst others their electronic, spectroscopic, and catalytic properties are investigated.  

Currently, most effort is put into macromolecules like (metal-)corroles on silver surfaces. Another field of interest are amorphous structures like metal oxides, their physical properties and potential for technological applications in photovoltaics or energy storage systems.

X-ray methods and crystallography

Contact persons: Gunnar Thorkildsen and Helge Bøvik Larsen

We use synchrotron methods for the determination of atomic arrangements in highly complex systems, such as disordered alloys, nanocomposites and organic materials.

Parallel to this, we develop mathematical tools for the description of non-standard diffraction geometries, and create crystallographic libraries for calculating quantities relevant to diffraction, such as structure factors and absorption coefficients.

We design and simulate diamond based refractive lenses, which can be used to focus the X-ray beam in the next generation synchrotron sources.

Magnetism and neutron scattering methods

Contact person: Diana Lucia Quintero Castro 

New states of matter can be found in the so-called unconventional magnets, from fractional excitations, spinon continua, Bose-Einstein condensation and out of equilibrium phases due to competition between charge, orbital and spin degrees of freedom. 

These states are a fertile ground for testing theories and the understanding of them will potentially develop routes for future information technologies. 

We investigate in particular the spin arrangements in highly frustrated rare earth magnets, the magnetic excitations in dimer and one-dimensional systems –e.g. Haldane chains- and their reaction towards extreme external environments, such as magnetic field. Neutron scattering methods offer the needed tools to investigate the novel magnetic phenomena found in these systems.