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Research Report 2000
 
Faculty of Physics and Earth Sciences

 

 

 
Dean Professor Dr. Gerd Tetzlaff
Address

Phone
Fax
E-mail
URL

Linnéstraße 5, 04103 Leipzig

(03 41) 97 32 400
(03 41) 97 32 499
dekan@physik.uni-leipzig.de
http://www.uni-leipzig.de/physik


 

Research Activities at the Faculty

 
Research Activities at the Faculty
Topics of Doctorates and Postdoctoral Qualifications / Previous Years

 

Reports of the Institutes and Departments

 

Institute of Theoretical Physics

Institute of Experimental Physics I
Institute of Experimental Physics II
Institute of Meteorology
Institute of Geophysics and Geology
Institute of Geography
Department of Didactics of Physics

 

Research Activities at the Faculty

Collaborative Research Centre

  The long-term Collaborative Research Centre "Molecules in Interaction with Interfaces" (SFB 294, spokesman: Prof. D. Michel) is especially important to the Faculty. It addresses molecules and molecular systems at interfaces and in thin and ultrathin layers of molecular dimensions. The overall aim is to explain the influence interfaces have on important structural and dynamic properties of molecules and molecular systems, as well as the main interaction mechanisms. Investigations are conducted by means of experiments interrelated with theoretical techniques. The objects of the work are to synthesise new, promising materials, to explore totally new phenomena of molecular interaction at boundary layers, and to develop powerful experimental techniques for their observation. The Institutes of Experimental Physics I and II, the Institute of Theoretical Physics, the Institute of Technical Chemistry (Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy) and the Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics (Faculty of Medicine) are all involved in this research.

 

Centre of Excellence

  The long-term Centre of Excellence "Phenomena at Miniaturisation Limits" (INK 24/A1-1, Spokesman: Prof. W. Grill) deals with interdisciplinary research into and the usage of changes to the main characteristics upon the transition to structures at the limit of miniaturisation. Altered properties during nanostructuring as a result of miniaturisation in the fields of mechanics, optics, charge transport, and ferroelectric and magnetic behaviour are studied. Basic research into the effects caused by material structuring down to atomic dimensions is used for practical developments. These include optoelectronic semiconductor structures, micromechanical actuators and sensors, molecular and thin films for special functions, and microscopic techniques in biology and medicine. The Centre of Excellence includes contributions from both Institutes of Experimental Physics, the Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy (Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, Institute of Inorganic Chemistry), the Faculty of Medicine (Paul Flechsig Institute of Brain Research), and the Institute of Surface Modification in Leipzig.

 

Postgraduate Research Units

  The Postgraduate Research Unit "Quantum Field Theory – Mathematical Structure and Applications in Elementary Particle and Solid-state Physics" (GRK 52, Spokesman: Prof. B. Geyer) tackles the mathematical structures of quantum field theory emerging from current developments in elementary particle physics (including its cosmological aspects) and solid-state physics. It also studies the possible applications of these structures within experiment-based problems. Research into the mathematical structure of quantum field theory deals with the strict mathematical underpinning and development of new methods relevant to physics. Quantum field theory of elementary particles explores the quantum field theory of fundamental particles and primary interactions, including gravitation. Quantum field theory of solid-state physics uses methods from quantum field theory and lattice physics (e.g. high-temperature superconductors) to investigate solids and special multiparticle systems.

The two Institutes of Experimental Physics are involved in the Postgraduate Research Unit "Physical Chemistry of Interfaces" (GRK 152, Spokesman: Prof. R. Szargan), which is mainly run by the Faculty of Chemistry and Mineralogy. Like the other courses, the aim of the unit is to accomplish an interdisciplinary training project enabling a large number of candidates to gain their doctorate on the basis of a complex research programme. The main topics studied are the contact surfaces of porous solids and fluids, and semiconductor interfaces.


 

Institute of Theoretical Physics

 

Institute of Theoretical Physics

The aim of the Institute's work is to explore the theoretical and mathematical fundamentals of physics. The key areas of research are the theory of elementary particles and the theory of condensed matter, which synergistically augment each another. Fundamental problems of the structure of space, time and matter (from the smallest conceivable unit of length up to cosmic dimensions) are examined and practical problems of complex systems with mesoscopic dimensions are tackled.

The non-relativistic Computer-based Quantum Field Theory carries out computer simulations of phase transformation and critical phenomena. Work is performed on the physics of soft matter and the quantum Hall effect. The Molecular Dynamics/Computer Simulation group studies molecules at boundary surfaces by means of computer simulation methods and determines structural data (thermodynamic parameters and transport coefficients). The relativistic Quantum Field Theory addresses primary and effective interactions of particles within the framework of general gauge theories and under external influences. Statistical Physics deals with interacting many-particle systems by means of statistical and quantum-field theoretical methods. Theory of Elementary Particles deals with the quantum field theory of elementary particles, involving supersymmetrical theories and quantum chromodynamics. The Theory of Condensed Matter studies noise-induced phenomena, structural formation in liquid crystals, the non-linear dynamics of biological models and problems of the immune system. In addition, research is carried out into high-temperature superconduction, pair formation and strongly coupled electron–phonon systems.


 

Institute of Experimental Physics I

 

Institute of Experimental Physics I

The Institute's work revolves around research into "soft condensed matter". It covers a wide range of very different materials such as lipid membranes, liquid crystals, artificial polymers and biological macromolecules. Their physical characteristics are studied as individual molecules, together with other molecules of the same kind, and as host/guest systems.

Research into the Physics of Biomembranes focuses on the physical and chemical characterisation of biological membranes. Both basic aspects of molecular biophysics and practical issues (including questions of biotechnology) are studied. Interface Physics investigates the interaction of molecules with the surfaces of solids, especially the inner surface of microporous solids (particularly zeolites). This work is of immediate practical significance in numerous technical processes such as low-energy and environmentally sustainable substance separation and refinement, the development of functional materials, and prospecting for mineral deposits. Work on the Physics of Anisotropic Fluids deals with the structure and dynamics of supramolecular arrangements like those formed by liquid crystals and low-molecular and polymer compounds. These systems possess a high degree of co-operation, which is reflected in the formation of macromolecular superstructures. Polymer Physics studies polymers with liquid-crystal properties as well as block-copolymers with a view to the application of new polymer systems. Special interest is taken in the focused control of structural formation in thin layers of functional polymers.


 

Institute of Experimental Physics II

 

Institute of Experimental Physics II

The Institute's underlying work comprises basic research into solid-state physics, with close links to materials research, chemical physics, biophysics and the geosciences being pursued.

Solid-state Optics explores energy transfer processes in solids, which are then put to practical use in work on optoelectronics. To characterise materials, implants, and biological and medical specimens, new types of scanning microscope techniques such as ultrasound microscopy with phase contrast are developed and used. Semiconductor Physics mainly deals with the optical characteristics of III-V semiconductors (e.g. GaAs), and chiefly studies micro- and nanostructured systems and individual atomic layers. Practical developments are carried out in the area of optoelectronics, including micromechanical actuators and sensors. As far as Nuclear Solid-state Physics is concerned, the high-energy ion nanoprobe now up and running here provides unique conditions in Germany for research into semiconductors and superconductors, as well as the bombardment of living cells with individual ions. Work on the Physics of Dielectric Solids investigates the structure and dynamics of solids. Structural phase transitions, glass-like behaviour and microscopic dynamics in constricted volumes and on boundary surfaces are studied. Investigations are also geared towards material development. In the field of Superconduction and Magnetism, thin layer systems and dimension-limited monocrystals are investigated, with work especially concentrating on fixing magnetic flow tubes and the properties of magnetic domains. A low-temperature laboratory is also available for investigations in the millikelvin range.


 

Didactics of Physics

 

Didactics of Physics

This department focuses on aspects of teaching traditional and modern topics of physics at schools. Empirical testing is carried out, while forms of learning in physics classes, open and interdisciplinary teaching, and ways of using modern media are all studied.


 

Institute of Meteorology

 

Institute of Meteorology

The Institute pursues research in areas such as the urban climate, the water balance in catchment areas, and cloud and precipitation models. It studies the natural climatic variability taking into account the role of the oceans. Close co-operation exists with Leipzig Institute of Tropospheric Research and Potsdam Geo-Research Centre.

Work in the field of Mesoscale Meteorology concentrates on evaporation and soil moisture, the effect of surface inhomogeneities on the vertical fluxes, and cloud formation using ground-based and satellite remote sensing techniques. Theoretical Meteorology addresses dynamic mechanisms and interaction on various scales as well as the combined effects of the ocean and the atmosphere. Conceptual and simulation models are used along with statistical techniques, with emphasis being laid on links with hydrological processes. A new field, Remote Sensing of the Condensed Phase in the atmosphere and the upper soil layer, is currently being developed.


 

Institute of Geophysics and Geology

 

Institute of Geophysics and Geology

Work concentrates on the physics of the Earth, engineering and environmental geophysics, theoretical geophysics and the geology of the Quaternary Period. Close co-operation takes place with the UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig–Halle, Potsdam Geo-Research Centre, Freiberg Mining Academy and the Saxon Department of Geology.

Physics of the Solid Earth emphasises global geophysical fields, the structure of the Earth, volcanology, and the structure and processes of the lithosphere. Areas studied include unconsolidated rock, hollow spaces and geological barriers. Among the techniques used are geoelectric tomography, hydrogeophysics, isotopic geochemistry and georadiometry. Engineering and Environmental Geophysics explores the upper Earth's crust by using seismic surveys, georadar, geomagnetics, gravimetry, geothermometry and georadiometry. Contaminated sites, landfills, groundwater currents, disused mines, radiation contamination and pollutant distribution (along with their effects on the urban environment) are all investigated. Theoretical Geophysics explores seismic and electromagnetic wave propagation, the structure of the Earth's crust and the mantle, as well as seismic focuses and risks. This involves work on the potential theory, tomography and inversion of geophysical fields. Geology centres on the Earth's recent history (Cenozoic). Fundamental questions of the geology and palaeontology of the Tertiary and Quaternary Periods are studied, while practical research is performed in environmental geology and hydrogeology. The Geological/Palaeontological Collection forms an important basis for teaching and research, as well as for PR work. Finally the Geophysical Observatory at Collm (near Oschatz) provides unique opportunities for teaching and research in all subdisciplines of the geosciences and related fields.


 

Institute of Geography

 

Institute of Geography

Work concentrates on spatial structures and processes in mankind's habitat. Methods from the social and natural sciences are used to explore, evaluate and forecast the spatial changes caused by natural processes and human activity. Of particular importance are co-operation with the Leipzig Institute of Regional Geography Leipzig and the UFZ Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig–Halle.

Human Geography chiefly deals with questions of urban geography, social geography and economic geography. The main interest is the impact of social, economic and technological change on urban and regional structures. Key topics are analysing transformation processes in towns, cities and regions in eastern Germany and eastern Central Europe, issues of regional identity and regional consciousness, and sustainable urban development. Regional Geography and Regional Development deals with topics of spatial development and regional planning in Saxony and Germany. It is involved in current work on national and regional atlases. Physical Geography and Geoecology addresses problems of the anthropogenic degradation of landscapes and evaluates their changes. Questions of the substance migration of pollutants in hydrological catchment areas, wellhead protection areas and agricultural land are dealt with also. Another field of work is urban ecology. Remote Sensing and Geomatics performs geographical climate studies of the relations between solar activity and main climatic elements by analysis based on GISs (geographic information systems) and trend analysis on regional climatic change. A classification technique for satellite images is currently being developed.

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