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The proposed research program is devoted to the development and investigation of modern materials that are applicable in nanotechnology. It is based on a bottom-up approach and focuses on the tailoring of materials from their basic building blocks at the atomic level. The technological potentials of nanotechnology originate in the complexity of the materials involved due to the complicated chemical structure, the reduced dimensionality (thin films, nanowires) and a limited number of building atoms (nanoclusters) Hence, a successful transition to the arena of nanotechnology requires strong and mutually interactive efforts in materials science, chemistry and physics.
The activities within the proposed program include experimental and theoretical investigations of the structure, analyses of the chemical composition on the atomic level, measurements and calculations of physical properties as well as the preparation of nanostructured materials. The main focus of the investigations will be the so-called nanostructural elements, namely the structural and chemical elements on the nanolevel that characterize a material - interfaces, planar faults, nanocrystallites, amorphous layers, segregates, etc. The program's aims will be the relations between the nanostructural elements, the material's microstructure and the resulting physical properties. The emphases will be on the following materials: rare-earth-transition-metal intermetallic magnetic materials, natural and synthetic minerals (amorphous and crystalline nanopowders), ceramic sensors, materials for extreme conditions, SiC, Si3N4, varistors, (nano-amorphous layers in polycrystalline ceramics), magnetic thin films, hetero-interfaces for spintronics, ZnO, perovskites and functionally gradient materials. The final aim is to develop the ability to design metallic and ceramic materials with the best properties, either by improving already-investigated or by developing completely new materials.
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