Atomic Manipulation and Spectroscopy

Group Leader: Aitor Mugarza

Main Research Lines

  • Graphene nanostructures

  • Rashba alloys and topological insulators

  • Metal-organic hybrid interfaces

The Atomic Manipulation and Spectroscopy Group, led by Dr Aitor Mugarza, seeks to understand and control the quantum properties of electrons in low-dimensional materials.

Reducing the dimensions of a material to the nanoscale leads to the emergence of novel physics, which can be exploited to design devices with enhanced performance or new functionalities that can enable future technologies. At this scale, the properties of materials are often dominated by quantum size effects and interfacial phenomena, which impose strong limitations on the control and reproducibility of device performance, but also open up new avenues for engineering physical properties.

The group addresses this double-edged sword by investigating the interplay between structural, electronic and magnetic properties of materials at the atomic scale. We use the knowledge obtained from such comprehensive studies to develop different methods to selectively manipulate the properties of materials. By combining scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) techniques with synchrotron radiation spectroscopy, the group correlates microscopic phenomena to macroscopic observables that are relevant for the understanding and design of new materials and devices.


Group Leader

Aitor Mugarza

ICREA Research Professor
aitor.mugarza@icn2.cat

Prof. Aitor Mugarza graduated in physics in 1997 and completed his PhD in the same field in 2002, both at the Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (University of the Basque Country). He was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship to work as a postdoctoral scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (USA) and the Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB). He joined the former Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology in 2007 with a Ramón y Cajal Fellowship. In 2013 he became group leader of the Atomic Manipulation and Spectroscopy Group at ICN2. He has been an ICREA Research Professor since 2015.

His research activity revolves around the study of quantum electronic and magnetic phenomena at the nanoscale and the development of strategies for their manipulation with atomic precision. By combining scanning tunnelling microscopy techniques with spectroscopy using synchrotron radiation, he correlates microscopic phenomena to macroscopic observables for the characterisation and design of new materials and devices. He is currently focused on novel nanomaterials including molecular and graphene nanostructures, topological insulators and other 2D materials with strong spin-orbit interactions.

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