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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 on the atomic level, for both conventional materials as well as nano materials.

The lab and most of the offices are located in the Oslo Research park, but some of the permanent staff has offices also at Blindern.

The section is part of FERMiO and NorTEM. There are well established collaborations with SINTEF, IFE and many institutions in Norway and abroad.

Research Areas

Nano- and materials science

The Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) is used to study the atomic structure of various materials. TEMs are very versatile instruments and can be used in combination with several techniques to obtain specific kinds of information. For example the arrangement of atoms in a material can be studied either by direct imaging of the atomic columns 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 simulations can be moreover used to predict properties of novel materials. The Structure Physics group collaborates with researchers in Physics Electronics, Solid State Chemistry and Metallurgy and therefore creates connections between structures at the atomic level and macroscopic properties of materials.

Energy-related materials, thin films and nanomaterials

A large part of the materials studied in our group is related to energy. These materials have potential applications in solar cell technology, hydrogen storage, fuel cells and thermoelectrics. They often consist of thin films and nanoparticles. Such nanomaterials can be best studied with transmission electron microscopy and calculations from first principle methods.


The group is involved in teaching of the following courses:


The Structure Physics group works closely with external institutions such as SINTEF and IFE, and international research groups at Brookhaven National Laboratory, California Institute of Technology and University of Surrey.

Published Nov. 11, 2010 5:19 PM - Last modified May 27, 2022 2:26 PM


Group leader Anette Gunnæs

Administrative officer:

Sigrid Staurset
22 84 06 64

Visiting and postal address:
Gaustadallèen 21
NO-0349 Oslo

Telephone: +47 22 84 06 64


No ongoing projects