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Applied Physics

Get involved in Top Research at the Zernike Institute - Ranked high in the THES World's top 15

Applied physics research at the University of Groningen is embedded in the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials and focuses on materials engineering and device physics. There are six main research groups in these fields.

Materials Science

The principal aim of the research programme of the Materials Science group is to search for the relation between the microstructure of materials and its physical properties. The programme concentrates on experimental and theoretical work of the characterization of line defects (dislocations and disclinations) and homo-/heterophase interfaces so as to draw conclusions about the correlation between atomic structure, electronic charge transfer, and physical properties, both structural and functional.


The mission of this research group is to develop new models and computational tools for the micromechanics of (bio)materials, and to employ these to develop relationships between the internal structure of a material and its mechanical properties. We study (bio)materials and biological processes at a range of length scales, placing special emphasis on multiscale modelling and scale transitions. We cover a wide variety of biological and engineering systems, considering and exploiting the similarities and differences in their behavior.

Nanostructured Materials and Interfaces

The aim of this research group is on investigating the relation between the nanostructure and functional properties of materials. Our research focus is on material structures, surfaces/interfaces, and surface interactions at the nanoscale, including phase change materials, nanoclusters/nanoparticles, nanoresonators, surface forces, friction, and adhesion. Experimental facilities include scanning probe, scanning electron, and transmission electron microscopy. Applications of our research are connected with hydrogen storage, novel NEMS devices and phase change memories.

Photophysics and Opto-electronics

Our group aims to develop novel materials for solar cell and microelectronics applications. The materials we work on have in common that they are solution processable. This property holds the promise of cheap production methods with a low energy demand. Our research focusses on the properties of organic semiconductors and organic/organic interfaces and their application in optoelectronic devices, the physical and optoelectronic properties of carbon nanotubes and hybrid systems, and fabrication of hybrid optoelectronic devices composed by inorganic nanocrystals and organic molecules.

Physics of Nanodevices

We explore new physical phenomena that occur in electronic and opto-electronic device structures with nanoscale dimensions. The dynamics of such devices is often quantum mechanical in nature, but much richer than the dynamics of isolated atoms due to interactions with the solid-state environment. Our research investigates this quantum dynamics, and aims to apply it for new device functionalities.

Device Physics of Complex Materials

Device physics contributes to our present knowledge of emergent behaviour of complex materials and probes its properties by making use of modern experimental tools and techniques based on nanotechnology. Emergent behaviour is prevalent in many complex materials and originates from competing interactions of electronic, magnetic and structural origin.

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