The main research field of the independent research group "Nanoanalytics and Interfaces" is the in-depth characterization of novel nanostructured materials and interfaces via electron microscopy techniques. State-of-the-art transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and its analytical methods such as electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) are applied to obtain information on the atomic arrangement and chemical composition. The results are used to determine growth models for nanostructures and structure-properties relationships. In addition, strategies are developed to improve the properties and increase the stability of the materials of interest. The investigated materials systems find applications in photovoltaics, fuel cells and electrochemical cells. In addition, thin films used for metal contacts and as protective layers are studied.
Self reporting materials “communicate” damage of the material via changes of properties that can be measured in service as a consequence of chemical changes on the atomic length scale and/or phase transformations. Harnessing this would provide invaluable functionality for damage assessment and control and would constitute a major leap forward as the “health” of any material component exposed to mechanical loads could be monitored in service.