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Structure physics

The main focus of the section is on materials and nano science. We use advanced transmission electron microscopy and modelling to unravel the structure of materials and their characteristics.

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The illustration image show an example of atomic resolved STEM image recorded on the NorTEM TITAN instrument operated by P.D. Nguyen.

The section is a member of the Centre for Material science and nanotechnology (SMN) and in charge of running the national transmission electron microscopy facility NorTEM node in Oslo.

Research Areas

We do fundamental research on applied topics by both theoretical and experimental approaches. 

Energy-related materials

The majority of the materials investigated in our section are related to sustainable energy solutions such as solar cell technology, hydrogen storage, batteries, fuel cells, thermoelectrics, cooling/heating upon phase transitions etc.. 

Theoretical approach

We use world-leading and very powerful computer programs to calculate the fundamental properties of materials (Wien2k,VASP, Exciting). We are also involved in developing the software in order to studying new material properties. These computer programs are theoretical tools in our studies. The research is focused on analyzing different types of material structures to obtain both broad and deep theoretical understanding of materials at the atomic level to micrometer scale.

Main experimental approach

The Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) is used to study the materials at the micro to atomic scale. TEMs are very versatile instruments and can combine imaging, diffraction and spectroscopy techniques in one experiment. Further more, the material can be heated/cooled or be studied under gas environment using dedicated specimen holders. Atomic arrangements in a material can be studied either by direct imaging as illustrated in the photo above or with electron diffraction, whereby the reciprocal space is probed.

Chemical analysis can be performed on a nanometer scale with the complementary techniques of Electron Energy-Loss Spectroscopy (EELS) or Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDXS). They are based on the quantum mechanical principle that atom of a specific atomic number Z can only absorb and emit a specific amount (quantum) of energy. By measuring either the energy lost by the electron beam in its interaction with the sample or by detecting the emitted X-rays, it is possible to identify the atomic species in the sample and their spatial distribution. The electronic structure of solids can thus be measured on the nanometer scale and compared with theoretical simulations based on Density Functional Theory. 


The group is involved in teaching of the following courses during 2021/2022:


The Structure Physics section members collaborate closely with internal UiO groups at SMN and ITS, external research institutions such as SINTEF and IFE in addition to various international research groups.


Published Nov. 11, 2010 5:19 PM - Last modified Sep. 6, 2022 11:46 AM


Section leader Anette Gunnæs

Administrative officer:

Sigrid Staurset
22 84 06 64

Visiting and postal address:
Oslo science park-Forskningsparken
Gaustadallèen 21
NO-0349 Oslo

Telephone: +47 22 84 06 64