News from the Physics Department
Dr. Rikkert Frederix receives highly-endowed award of the Humboldt Foundation
2015-08-27 – Particle physicist Dr. Rikkert Frederix is to receive the highly-endowed Sofja Kovalevskaja Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. He will establish his own research group in the Physics Department of Technical University of Munich (TUM) with the goal of discovering what holds the world together at its innermost core.
Ultra short laser pulses generate mini X-ray source for 3D imaging of soft tissue
2015-08-26 – Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) have developed a miniature X-ray source with laser light. They used this light-generated radiation in combination with phase-contrast X-ray tomography and captured three-dimensional images of ultrafine details of a fly measuring just a few millimeters. Until now, such radiation could only be produced in expensive ring accelerators measuring several kilometers in diameter. The newly developed instruments only require a university laboratory.
Probing pattern formation and dynamics of nanoscale "swarms"
2015-08-25 – “Flocking” or “swarming” behavior is omnipresent in the living world, observed in birds, fish, and even bacteria. Strikingly similar collective action can also be seen in biomolecules within and between cells. Such self-organization processes are the basis of life – without them no living cell would exist – yet they are not well understood. New insights into how this action is coordinated at the biomolecular level are emerging from studies of a model system based on actin filaments. Experimental evidence proves the inadequacy of widely accepted explanations, according to collaborators at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), and the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (MPI-PKS).
50 years of cutting-edge research at the "Physik-Department"
2015-07-22 – The German news magazine “Der Spiegel” called it the “second Moessbauer effect” when the Technical University of Munich (TUM), succumbing to pressure by its physics professors, restructured the physics institutes to a Department of Physics in the vein of the American model. The new structure, which was revolutionary at the time, remains in place to this day and formed the basis for its success in the German Excellence Initiative and the superb world-wide reputation of physics at the Technical University of Munich.
Zentrum für Protein-Forschung gegründet
2015-06-25 – Die Technische Universität München (TUM) kombiniert ihre vielfachen Kompetenzen in der Proteinforschung und gründet das „TUM Center for Functional Protein Assemblies (CPA)“. Es wird fakultätsübergreifend die Funktionsweisen und Wirkprinzipien von Proteinen erforschen – Schlüssel zum Verständnis von Zellen, Geweben und Organen. Auf dieser Grundlage soll das interdisziplinäre Zentrum biomedizinische Anwendungen entwickeln, etwa zur Heilung von Krankheiten, die durch Störungen im Zusammenspiel der Biomoleküle verursacht sind. Die Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz (GWK) hat heute beschlossen, dass Bund und Land einen Neubau des CPA auf dem Campus Garching mit insgesamt rund 40 Millionen Euro fördern.
Optimized printing process enables custom organic electronics
2015-06-17 – They are thin, light-weight, flexible and can be produced cost- and energy-efficiently: printed microelectronic components made of synthetics. Flexible displays and touch screens, glowing films, RFID tags and solar cells represent a future market. In the context of an international cooperation project, physicists at the physics department of TUM have now observed the creation of razor thin polymer electrodes during the printing process and successfully improved the electrical properties of the printed films.
New textbook: Physics of energy conversion
2015-06-03 – Prof. Katharina Krischer and Konrad Schönleber from Physik-Department have published a new textbook on the “Physics of energy conversion”.
The weakest magnetic field in the solar system
2015-05-12 – Magnetic fields easily penetrate matter. Creating a space practically devoid of magnetic fields thus presents a great challenge. An international team of physicists has now developed a shielding that dampens low frequency external magnetic fields more than a million-fold. Using this mechanism, they have created a space that boasts the weakest magnetic field of our solar system. The physicists now intend to carry out precision experiments there.
First XXL GEM detector for ALICE at CERN
2015-05-07 – The largest detector ever built based on the GEM technology was assembled in the past few weeks by a group of scientists led by Prof. Laura Fabbietti from the Physik-Department of Technische Universität München (TUM). As part of a six-week project at the TUM and at CERN, 40 physicists, engineers and technicians from eleven institutes worldwide built the world’s largest prototype of this detector technology, the first sector of the outer readout chamber (OROC) for the Time Projection Chamber at the ALICE experiment at CERN. The workshop named “School of ROC” was initiated by Dr. Piotr Gasik from the group of Prof. Fabbietti, who is coordinating the assembly of the ROCs. In the coming months, a further 35 detector elements will be mounted and tested at the participating institutes. After the next big upgrade at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, these new ROCs will be implemented at the ALICE experiment, replacing the technology presently used in the Time Projection Chamber.
QS World University Rankings by Subject: Physik-Department among world's leading top 20
2015-04-30 – The current “QS World University Rankings by Subject” places TUM’s Physics Department at position 14 for the subject “Physics/Astronomy”. TUM was already ranked the 54th best university in the world in the QS World University Rankings published in September 2014.
Novel X-ray technology improves contrast in soft tissue
2015-04-30 – Soft tissue disorders like tumors are very difficult to recognize using normal X-ray machines. There is hardly any distinction between healthy tissue and tumors. Researchers at the Physik-Department of TUM have now developed a technology using a compact synchrotron source that measures not only X-ray absorption, but also phase shifts and scattering. Tissue that is hardly recognizable using traditional X-ray machines is now visible.
New office room for parents supervising their children
2015-04-27 – Working parents know this scenario: something unexpected happens and child care has to be reorganised quickly. The Physics Department supports parents with an office room for parents supervising their children. The room is available for all parents who study or work at the Physik-Department.
Willi Auwärter appointed as Heisenberg professor for Molecular Engineering at Functional Interfaces
2015-04-23 – The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Science Foundation) has awarded one of its prestigious Heisenberg professorships to Willi Auwärter at the Physik-Department. The Heisenberg programme aims to both stimulate progress in research and to maintain an outstanding pool of early career researchers for the scientific community.
Arm-waving nanorobot signals new flexibility in DNA origami
2015-03-27 – The latest DNA nanodevices created at the Physics Department of TUM – including a robot with movable arms, a book that opens and closes, a switchable gear, and an actuator – may be intriguing in their own right, but that's not the point. They demonstrate a breakthrough in the science of using DNA as a programmable building material for nanometer-scale structures and machines. Results published in the journal Science reveal a new approach to joining – and reconfiguring – modular 3D building units, by snapping together complementary shapes instead of zipping together strings of base pairs. This not only opens the way for practical nanomachines with moving parts, but also offers a toolkit that makes it easier to program their self-assembly.
Fascinating quantum transport on a surface
2015-03-27 – Topological insulators are an exceptional group of materials. Their interior acts as an insulator, but the surface conducts electricity extremely well. Scientists at Physik-Department have measured this now for the first time directly, with extremely high temporal resolution and at room temperature. In addition, they succeeded to influence the direction of the surface currents with a polarized laser beam.
Matthias Rief wird Mitglied der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
2015-03-21 – Die Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften hat elf Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler aufgrund ihrer wissenschaftlichen Leistungen als neue Mitglieder gewählt – darunter auch Prof. Matthias Rief, Lehrstuhlinhaber für Molekulare Biophysik am Physik-Department.