“Crystallography and x-ray methods” in the Faculty of Materials Engineering

Prof. Uta Helbig

Most materials or their source materials consist of crystalline substances. The properties of the materials are highly dependent on the type of crystals, size, arrangement, shape, and other characteristics.

Crystallography describes crystal structures and explains basic relationships between structure and properties.

In both our bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes, students are taught the basic crystallographic principles relevant for materials engineering. How are crystal structures described, what are the important structure types? How do crystals form, how do their structure and properties relate to one another?

Crystal structures are also studied using X-ray. The diffraction of X-rays at crystal lattices is used to identify crystalline substances. Analysis is carried out using X-ray powder diffraction on powder samples, ceramics, and thin films. Using characteristic spectra, the crystalline substances contained in these materials can be identified and, for many samples, also quantified.

Microscale and Nanoscale Properties specialization
Many material properties can be influenced simply by dimensions and shape. The specialization in microscale and nanoscale properties focuses on how material properties change in the micro- and nanoscale range.

Examples of the areas covered include quantum confinement phenomena, superparamagnetism, and ballistic conduction.

Students also discuss major materials and their production. The practical part of the Microscale and Nanoscale Properties specialization can range from the production of a thin film to the application of selected analytical methods (e.g. grazing incidence X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy)